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Speech by Minister Chan Chun Sing at the launch of Dell's Global Innovation Hub

Speech by Minister Chan Chun Sing at the launch of Dell's Global Innovation Hub

Introduction

1. President of Dell Asia-Pacific & Japan, Mr Amit Midha,

2. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

3. Good morning.

4. Let me begin by congratulating Dell on the launch of its Global Innovation Hub. We are delighted that Dell has made Singapore home for this significant investment. 

5. This is a continuation of the strong partnership between Singapore and Dell. Over the past 25 years, Dell has played a vital role in partnering us in developing Singapore’s ICT sector. We know Dell very well in the past for its desktops and laptops through its offering of hardware support to local businesses and communities. As Dell’s global procurement hub and supply chain control tower, Dell Singapore hires close to 2,000 employees across business and technology roles.

6. But we have also witnessed up close Dell’s continuous evolution here as well. The company’s continued investments into R&D in the last decade has helped it successfully transform itself beyond a hardware company. Today, the company provides end-to-end technology solutions for enterprises and consumers, with a portfolio spanning hardware products, software and infrastructure systems.

7. The establishment of Dell’s Global Innovation Hub in Singapore is the next step in the company’s journey to expand its horizons. Dell realised early on that it needed to evolve as technology changed, and that it was necessary to adapt its business to the changing world around it. 

8. As its main focus has grown beyond being just a PC-maker, it was critical for Dell to push the envelope and develop new innovations that would allow it to drive digital transformation in the decades to come. In particular, the establishment of its Global Innovation Hub here will enable Dell to drive continuous research and innovation across key and emerging technology areas such as cloud, edge, cybersecurity, smart cities and digital analytics.

9. Dell’s choice of locating its Innovation Hub in Singapore is beneficial for us as it will grow Singapore as a global technology and innovation hub. In particular, it will help catalyse and drive new innovations, as well as to deepen collaboration between Dell and local players to uplift our local tech ecosystem. 

10. In the longer term, these technological innovations can augment Singapore’s technological capabilities and even be marketed overseas. For instance, these innovations can be exported through our existing wide network of FTAs, as well as the newer Digital Economy Agreements we have pioneered with like-minded trading partners to forge new trade rules for digital trade flows going forward. 

Pivotal role of digital innovation

11. The launch of Dell’s Global Innovation Hub today is particularly timely as it complements two main thrusts of Singapore’s efforts to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic.

a. Leveraging digital capabilities to enhance our supply chain resilience.

b. Innovating to support industry and workplace transformation.

12. First, leveraging digital capabilities to enhance our supply chain resilience

13. Over the past year, we have witnessed how COVID-19 disrupted global supply chains. This has prompted countries to re-examine and reconfigure supply chains to ensure long-term resilience.

14. As Singapore adjusted to the new normal, we focused on fostering greater regional integration and interdependence. Internationally, we worked with like-minded countries and companies to establish agreements that preserved supply chain connectivity.  Domestically, we rolled out programmes such as the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) plan to deepen companies’ R&D capabilities in Industry 4.0 supply chains. 

15. However, the Government cannot do this alone. We need to partner like-minded companies too to drive the necessary change and remain competitive.

16. Dell is one company that successfully leveraged technology to ensure the resilience of our supply chains. While most of its counterparts dialled down on inventory during the pandemic, Dell’s AI and analytics team modelled historical demand data from past pandemic events and ramped up consumer hardware supply. This planning capability, supported by a responsive logistics network and robust business continuity plan, allowed Dell to move stock quickly to fulfil orders for consumer hardware.

17. Second, innovating to support industry and workplace transformation.

18. COVID-19 forced companies to rethink traditional ideas of work that many had become accustomed to. Instead of looking for a fixed office space, many companies shifted towards a hybrid working environment. As a result, companies across all sectors had to accelerate digital transformation efforts to reach a larger customer base and to allow workers to have more flexible working options. New innovations were needed to address this changing nature of work.

19. Dell leveraged the change in working trends to provide greater value for its stakeholders in the new environment.

20. Through its Global Innovation Hub, Dell has committed US$50 million to support:

a. remote servicing for IT staff and end-users;

b. collaboration across devices and workplaces in an increasingly hybrid environment; and

c. user well-being, by monitoring posture and mental wellness during work.

21. The Global Innovation Hub will also focus on advancing growth areas for digital transformation including Augmented/ Mixed Reality, data analytics, digital cities, cloud-native, cybersecurity and edge computing.

22. The Government will continue to support and invest in such capabilities, to ensure that Singapore is able to distinguish ourselves on the global stage even amidst the pandemic.

Investing in digital-ready talent

23. I am very heartened to know that Dell is continuously helping us to develop our digital-ready talent. Beyond hardware and software capabilities, digital innovation needs to be complemented by skilled talent so that changes are implemented effectively.

24. I am encouraged that Dell has committed to hiring over 160 R&D talent for its Global Innovation Hub in Singapore by the end of this year.

25. Dell and its partners have also committed to training over 1,000 fresh graduates and mid-career individuals in Cloud Native Skills under its corporate Dell Academy, supported by the SGUnited Programmes. Through courses such as Getting Future Ready, individuals will undergo a structured training course and receive industry-recognised cloud credentials upon completion.

26. The Government will continue to support ICT firms in training and reskilling locals. For instance, ICT companies can tap on a series of programmes under TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA), to support ICT and non-ICT professionals upgrade and acquire new skills that are in demand. To support mid-career PMETs, companies can also consider Workforce Singapore’s Professional Conversion Programme. This will in turn enable companies to attract, recruit and retain good workers, and ensure that our labour market becomes more competitive.

Conclusion

27. A big part of Singapore’s success thus far has been based on our ability to adapt to the changing circumstances and seize new opportunities.

28. This COVID pandemic is no different. While it will not define us, our response to the pandemic will define us. Despite the uncertainties brought about by the pandemic last year, Singapore continues to remain an attractive investment location for a diverse range of sectors.

29. Singapore’s commitment to keep our borders open, maintain external connectivity and ensure business continuity provides companies confidence to choose Singapore to locate their long-term investments.

30. Our regulatory system will continue to focus on the long-term, with clear rules for intellectual property (IP) protection to give assurance to companies thinking about investing and planting their IP in Singapore. This is an area that we will increasingly focus on.

31. The competition going forward will not just be based on labour or land costs. Increasingly, it will be based on our ability to mobilise capital through trusted systems, aggregate diverse talent from across the globe and to protect IP. These are the areas that we will be focused on to help our companies to use Singapore as a platform to strengthen their competitive advantages across the globe. 

32. Last but not least, we are happy to partner Dell in the training of our people across different domains. This talent is the key to our competitive advantage. Whether it be in domains such as programming, strategy or marketing, we need new and more talent.Thank you to Dell for helping us to develop such talent as part of the entire Singapore technology and ICT ecosystem.

33. The fact that companies like Dell have chosen Singapore is testament to the importance that companies place on competent and trusted governance when deciding where to locate their investments, especially amidst the challenging global situation. It will be critical for Singapore to maintain these hard-fought advantages especially given the uncertainties with global economic recovery.

34. Congratulations once again to Dell on the launch of its Global Innovation Hub. We never believed that this pandemic would knock us down. We believe that if we respond positively, constructively and get our fundamentals right, this pandemic will allow us to further distinguish ourselves as a choice location for partners like Dell to plant their long-term investments here, build up the local ecosystem and develop local talent. This will allow us to widen our competitive advantage.

35. Thank you very much.

 
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