1. A very good morning to all our distinguished guests who have joined us both virtually and in-person at the soft launch of gamescom asia.
Rapid growth of gaming and e-sports in Southeast Asia
2. The exponential growth of the global gaming and e-sports industry over the past five years has been remarkable. Southeast Asia, in particular, is one of the world’s fastest growing gaming and e-sports markets. The industry presents many opportunities and a huge potential for growth. In 2020 alone, our local games market grew by 15% from 2019.
3. We are proud that Singapore is now home to around 220 game developing and publishing companies, including AAA studios like Ubisoft, Riot, Bandai Namco, Mighty Bear, Battle Brew, and The Gentlebros. As Singapore continues to build on our position as one of Asia’s leading media and entertainment hubs, I am confident that our gaming industry will continue to thrive.
4. I would like to commend our local gaming and e-sports companies who have made their mark internationally and done us proud. For example, homegrown gaming studio Mighty Bear was one of four Singaporean studios to be inducted into the pioneer batch of Apple Arcade with their game Butter Royale. Game developers The Gentlebros has also seen their action game series Cat Quest make more than S$5.2 million in profits from over 1.3 million paid downloads since 2017. E-sports developer and publisher Garena also held the Free Fire World Series in Singapore earlier this May, which broke global viewership record for an e-sports match outside of Chinese platforms with more than 5.4 million peak concurrent viewers.
5. These companies add to a rich and diverse digital media sector and provide good jobs, allowing many Singaporeans to pursue their passion for gaming by making a global impact with fun, creative and original IP conceptualised and developed in Singapore. Singapore is committed to growing the sector by encouraging our homegrown companies to push the boundaries by experimenting with new and immersive content formats and business models, as well as supporting our local talent to become creators of world class gaming content.
Singapore is a choice destination to host e-sports events
6. In recent years, e-sports has also been gaining momentum and interest globally. Despite the challenging circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore successfully hosted several major e-sports events in 2021, including the Mobile Legends Bang Bang M2 World Championship and ONE E-sports DOTA 2 Singapore Major.
7. These events are testament to Singapore’s ability to host events safely as we continue to reopen our borders. We look forward to connecting with more e-sports fans around the world when Singapore hosts the first global tournament of Wild Rift in November, as well as the inaugural Global E-Sports Games in December.
Singapore is keen to leverage e-sports to help boost physical activity level
8. Singapore is also keen to leverage on e-sports as a platform to promote physical activity across all ages. For example, the Singapore Cycling Federation (SCF) has partnered with the Singapore Cybersports & Online Gaming Association (SCOGA) to promote the development of cycling e-sports in Singapore in the hope of attracting more promising youth cyclists to participate in the sport. Overseas case studies also show how active virtual sports or gaming could be customised for People With Disabilities (PWD) to increase physical activity and social interaction. I look forward to seeing more of these synergies as e-sports continues to gain momentum in Singapore.
Singapore is a safe and trusted Global Asia node for MICE and business
9. Today’s gamescom asia conference also marks a milestone for Singapore’s Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry, which has changed fundamentally due to COVID-19. Event organisers have had to pivot and innovate as Singapore learns to live with COVID-19 and journeys towards becoming a COVID-resilient nation. Pre-COVID, the MICE sector supported more than 34,000 jobs with a value-add of S$3.8 billion, or 0.8% of Singapore’s GDP . While it will take us some time to return to these numbers, the gradual resumption of MICE events is a strategic and no-regrets move for Singapore.
10. Singapore is well-placed to safely and gradually resume larger MICE events in 2022 and beyond. Our high population vaccination rate of over 83% has laid a strong foundation for us to resume large-scale MICE activities with international participants in a risk-calibrated and phased manner. For example, to ensure the health and safety of all delegates at gamescom asia, all attendees are fully vaccinated. In addition, everyone would have taken either an antigen rapid test (ART) or the Lucira self-test kit prior to attending this conference.
11. The Lucira self-test kit, recently approved by the Singapore Health Sciences Authority, is being piloted at gamescom asia – the first time that they are being used at an event in Singapore. The wonderful news is they use a different testing technology than the ARTs, giving better performance while retaining the same ease of use. The self-test kits are being piloted for use at land borders and for pre-event testing.
12. We have also explored ways that fuse both virtual and in-person platforms to maximise the best of both worlds for organisers, speakers, and participants. gamescom asia has exemplified this perfectly, where all related events are held in hybrid formats so that participants across the world can continue to share ideas and network with one another.
13. For the rest of this year, we will continue to hold MICE events that allow us to fine-tune our Safe Management Measures (SMMs), including vaccination protocols, pre-event testing (PET) for attendees, and new innovations such as hybrid event formats and digital enablers. Some of these events include the Bloomberg New Economy Forum, Industrial Transformation Asia Pacific (ITAP), Web in Travel (WiT) Experience Singapore, Milken Institute Asia Summit, and Singapore International Agri-Food Week (SIAW). These events will pave the way for the safe and calibrated resumption of MICE events in 2022, putting us on strong footing for recovery.
14. Singapore is an important gateway for event organisers and businesses to access the region, and we continue to be a safe, neutral and conducive venue for the world to meet. As such, Singapore’s borders will continue to reopen in tandem with our MICE activities. In September, we launched the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) for Germany and Brunei, allowing for quarantine-free travel for vaccinated persons. Recently, we extended the VTL to nine more countries - Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America - for entry into Singapore starting from 19 October 2021 and the Republic of Korea for entry into Singapore starting from 15 November 2021. We are working to include more countries under the VTL and to expand other travel lanes in the months ahead, and look forward to hosting more of you in Singapore soon.
15. Let me conclude by reiterating that Singapore remains committed to upholding the fundamentals of our economy: our vibrant business culture, excellent infrastructure, stable governance, and stellar track record in delivering high-quality events as a global business hub and key node within Asia. As the gaming and e-sports industry continues to grow and thrive, we hope that you will continue to choose Singapore as your preferred destination to grow your businesses and host your events.
16. E-gaming and e-sports is something I personally engage in from time to time. It presents multiple opportunities. It is not just about putting together a MICE event or creating content, but also about imbuing some values about teamwork and creativity. I’ve had to also share, convince, and socialise these ideas with many of our counterparts within government – our teams are very active in promoting, and making sure that people understand the value of the e-sports and e-gaming industry in Singapore. We want to assure you that this can be a home for all of you, and we stand ready to support your industry. Thank you.