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Speech by SMS Chee at EY Wavespace Launch

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Mr Max Loh, Managing Partner for EY ASEAN and Singapore;

Esteemed guests, ladies and gentlemen

Good afternoon

1.         I am very happy to be here today, as we unveil yet another milestone in EY’s long running presence in Singapore.

2.         Over more than a century, the company has built up its capabilities in Singapore to perform the key role of supporting companies across their various business needs, including audit, tax, advisory, and legal services.

3.         More recently, EY has built up its capabilities in Singapore to help clients leverage technology to address their business challenges.

a.         In 2015, EY established Centres of Excellence (CoEs) in analytics, cybersecurity, and digital transformation. For example, through its analytics CoE, EY has advised clients in the logistics sector on ways to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their goods distribution networks. 

The new EY Wavespace will bolster Singapore’s innovation ecosystem

4.         Today, Singapore joins the network of EY Wavespace cities around the world, and is EY’s first in Southeast Asia, to help organisations with their business and digital transformation.

5.         Wavespace Singapore will focus on fields such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and blockchain technology, among other emerging technologies, which are critical enablers for business innovation and transformation. The facility also promotes collaboration between business strategists, technologists and designers, which will help companies accelerate the adoption and commercialisation of new technological advancements, including within the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) market.

Innovation is key to business growth and transformation

6.         In today’s business environment, fast-paced technological advancements and digitalisation are disrupting traditional business models and value chains across industries. While these disruptions could increase uncertainty, they also create new opportunities for those who are ready to embrace change.

a.         One local example is the robotics and automation company PBA systems, which adopted a new business model to provide robotic solutions to manufacturing companies after realising that its existing business model ‘may not work in the decades to come’.

b.         With digital twinning technology, manufacturers are now able to create a digital profile of a prototype solution for testing and fine-tuning, without having to physically build it upfront. Moreover, the digital profile may yield more insights that may not have been uncovered with a physical prototype due to real world constraints such as limited hours for product testing. These factors allow companies utilising digital twinning technology to create better products with faster innovation cycles and lower production costs.

7.         Beyond innovation at the enterprise level, collaborations across industries will also help to capture synergies and spark new innovations.

a.         EY in Singapore has worked closely with a global agri-business client to develop a new business process to manage bank account information by utilising blockchain technology. In a short span of seven days, EY put together a convincing Proof-of-Concept and demonstrated to the company how the new business process would be more resilient to cyber-attacks. This is another positive example of the type of innovative solutions that vanguards such as EY could help promote in various industries when we come together, even for a traditional company in the agri-business.
Singapore is a strategic base from which to develop innovative solutions for the region and we will continue to strengthen our innovation ecosystem

8.         EY Wavespace Singapore follows a number of innovation-related investments in Singapore, including Paypal Innovation Lab, Thomson Reuters Labs and Mastercard Labs. These investments are a testament to Singapore’s strategic location for companies to tap on the significant growth opportunities in SEA.

9.         Indeed,

a.         SEA’s digital economy is expected to be worth US$200 billion by 2025 (excluding healthcare, education, entertainment, and financial services)[1];

b.         With over 330 million internet users, SEA has the 3rd largest number of internet users in the world – bigger than the whole population of the United States. On average, SEA consumers also spend 80% more time on the mobile internet than US consumers (i.e. 3.6hrs/day compared to the US consumers’ average of 2hrs/day)[2]; and

c.          SEA is also one of the fastest-growing emerging smartphone markets, poised to reach 480 million internet users by 2020, according to TechCrunch[3]. Smartphones also make up the lion’s share of SEA’s internet population with ~90% of SEA’s internet users accessing the internet with their smartphones[4].

10.      Against this backdrop, IMDA published the Digital Economy Framework for Action earlier this year, and it reflects our focus on four key enablers that make Singapore an ideal platform for companies to tap on the growth opportunities in SEA, namely: (i) manpower development for a digitally literate workforce; (ii) research & innovation to develop new capabilities and keep abreast of latest trends in technology; (iii) continued investment in physical and digital infrastructure to enhance digital connectivity, and (iv) robust privacy laws, cybersecurity and data protection, as well as a close partnership with the industry in calibrating the governance of new activities such as AI.


11.      In closing, I encourage EY and other firms in Singapore to continue to invest in technologies and develop greater innovation capabilities to address the growing demands of the region.

12.      I look forward to expanding and deepening our partnerships in the future as EY’s operations in Singapore continue to grow from strength to strength. Thank you.


[1] Southeast Asia’s Online Economy Report 2017 by Google and Temasek Holdings.

[2] Southeast Asia’s Online Economy Report 2017 by Google and Temasek Holdings.

[3] TechCrunch is an American online publisher that covers on the business of technology, technology news, analysis of emerging trends in technology and profiling of new technology business and products.

[4] Southeast Asia’s Online Economy Report 2017 by Google and Temasek Holdings.

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LAST UPDATED 10 Oct 2018
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