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Singapore aims to lead the way in Industry 4.0 efforts in Asean
[HANNOVER] In order for the Asean region to unlock its full potential through an Industry 4.0 transformation, collaboration among Asean member states will be key, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the Singapore Networking Event at the Hannover Messe trade show, Dr Koh noted that Singapore counts manufacturing as a key pillar of its economy, and has achieved leading positions in fields such as aerospace, semiconductors, chemicals and biomedical sciences. A lack of natural resources has compelled the Republic to continually leverage technology to improve competitiveness and productivity, resulting in expertise and initiatives that Singapore is keen to share with regional partners.
"With the emergence of new technologies, it was important for Singapore to embark on strategic initiatives in advanced manufacturing to not only support the transformation of existing industries and uplift our existing manufacturing base, but also to contribute thought leadership and share best practices with the rest of the region," said Dr Koh.
Asean is expected to become the fourth largest economy in the world by 2030, continuing the steady progress seen over the last five decades. According to a McKinsey study, riding the Fourth Industrial Revolution wave could help Asean capture up to US$600 billion of the US$3.7 trillion in global benefits expected from Industry 4.0 by 2025.
Dr Koh added: "As a new developing economy, Asean is also less burdened by legacy systems, and is hence in a good position to start fresh and leapfrog into a new era of advanced manufacturing."
Singapore's initiatives include the Smart Industry Readiness Index (SIRI) in 2017 to provide a common framework for understanding Industry 4.0 and evaluating companies' readiness levels. A Prioritisation Matrix was also launched on Monday at the Hannover Messe show, to help companies plan and execute their Industry 4.0 transformation plans.
SIRI has received much interest from Asean member states since it was launched, and was presented at the World Economic Forum on Asean in 2018, Dr Koh noted.
Singapore also hosts the annual Industrial Transformation Asia Pacific (ITAP) trade show, which is the Asia-Pacific edition of Hannover Messe. Like the event in Germany, ITAP brings together manufacturers, technology providers and thought leaders to exchange ideas, build networks and co-innovate solutions for the transforming industry.
Together with other Asean member states, Singapore is working on the Asean Digital Integration Framework to assess the region's digital ecosystem and identify ways for stakeholders to benefit from Asean's digital integration efforts.
In addition, Singapore is in the process of ratifying a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU), which Dr Koh said will strengthen the Republic's commitment to multilateral trade and pave the way to a potential Asean-EU FTA in future. (see amendment note)
Amendment note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that the Singapore-EU FTA has been ratified. The Ministry of Trade and Industry has since corrected the statement and said that the process is still ongoing. The article above has been revised to reflect this.