Integration and Innovation the Fuel for Global Growth: Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing at IBM Think Singapore Conference
Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing has called on countries and companies to embrace strategies of innovation and integration to defy the odds in the face of increasing fragmentation and Balkanisation in the international environment.
Speaking at the opening address of the IBM Think Singapore 2019 Conference on 14 Aug 2019, the Trade and Industry Minister stressed the important role of integration and resource sharing among companies and countries to stay competitive. According to a study by market research firm Oxford Economics and telecommunications company Huawei, the size of the global digital economy is estimated to amount to about US$11.5 trillion (S$15.9 trillion), or more than 15% of global gross domestic product (“GDP”).
The Importance of Integration and Innovation in the Digital Age
However, the global economy is at the risk of fragmentation and Balkanisation if like-minded countries and companies do not work together, integrate and optimise their production systems and supply chains, and encourage cross-border idea-sharing. Although IBM has been around for more than 100 years, the technology giant can only thrive in an international environment that is not fragmented and retains its openness. IBM, Google, PayPal, and any company (that depends on digital services and on having data flow across borders in the production of services and products) are vulnerable if they do not integrate their process and be innovative. On top of the need to integrate process and systems, being innovative, in fact, is the factor that put IBM in good stead and positioned the tech giant be the global top player that held the highest number of patents globally.
In the digital age, new competitors are rising rapidly to disrupt the markets, and existing companies need to redefine how they compete. Making the comparison to Singapore, the Trade and Industry Minister said Singapore understood that the achievements of the past do not warrant the success of the future, and Singapore would be vulnerable in the face of the fast-changing digital economy if the country did not keep up, to integrate and be innovative.
While innovation and integration are the keywords for companies and countries to stay competitive in the digital age, the global economy can only thrive in an environment of transparency and a rule-based system when doing business with others, no matter which products and services organisations and governments were innovating.