An Island of Innovation

10th March 2022

Modern Singapore dates back to the 19th century, when “The Lion City” was an up-and-coming trading post. Flash forward to today and Singapore is a leading homeport, as well as home to one of the most-awarded airports in the world. Not only are safety and security two of Singapore’s defining features, the island city-state offers associations pretty much everything they can wish for.

With a wealth of world-class venues to choose from – more than 1,700 state-of-the-art spaces accommodate anywhere from two to 46,000 people – Singapore has long been attracting the attention of international associations.  Now, as the country moves toward smart nation status, it’s emerging as a leader in digital smart technologies and ICT initiatives with 80 out of the world’s top 100 tech firms boasting operations in the city.

Trailblazing tech

Singapore consistently ranks top as a business events destination, most recently receiving accolades like Best Business City in the World in the Business Traveller Asia Pacific Awards and 2022 PCMA Chair’s Award Winner for Singapore Tourism Board. In addition to offering sustainable venues and eco-friendly events, Singapore gives associations the opportunity to connect with leaders in innovation. Google, Facebook, and Alibaba are just three of the 80 tech firms operating in the city (Google set up its first data centre in 2011 and has since expanded to three), and companies like Siemens and ABB have based their key innovation centres in Singapore. 

The city is also a hub for more than 30 space companies, including the Singapore Space and Technology Ltd and Inmarsat, as well as start-ups like Addvalue Technologies, ST Geo-Insights and Astroscale. As more global organisations set up shop in the city and work with local partners in manufacturing and finance to test out new technologies, Singapore is becoming a breeding ground for innovation and data-driven platforms. 

Revolutionizing robotics

In an effort to showcase the country’s dedication to innovation, Singapore’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2025 Plan has placed $25 billion toward the development of a knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy and society. This push is designed to make Singapore a key player in sectors like robotics, space and ICT. At the moment, Singapore already boasts 488 industrial robots for every 10,000 workers, and, with the third-highest adoption rates of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the region, the country is well on its way to becoming a leader in the sector. 

From 2016 to 2019, more than $450 million was dedicated to the development of the National Robotics Programme (NRP), and robotics are now used in everything from manufacturing at companies like Panasonic Singapore and the Precision Bearings and Automation (PBA) group, as well as in the hospitality sector, with places like Hotel Jen and M Social Singapore incorporating robot butlers. 

In November 2020, Singapore organized TravelRevive 2020, the first hybrid travel tradeshow in Asia-Pacific during the pandemic, which brought together nearly 1,000 delegates from 14 countries for the two-day event at Sands Expo & Convention Centre. Singapore is continuing to play on the strengths of its rapidly growing tech sector with events like the Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) and the Singapore week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SWITCH), as well as the Global Space and Technology Convention, Asia’s Premier Space & Technology event, which centres on how satellite communication and data can transform urban cities, particularly in areas like security, maritime surveillance and IoT. 

As Melissa Thompson, Area Director, Western Europe at Singapore Tourism Board put it: “As the Global-Asia node for business, Singapore is reimagining the future of business events with rigorous protocols and creative solutions, while supporting our MICE industry as we pivot, adapt and transform.”

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