The Hon Philip Dalidakis MP - travel report - Singapore 31 May- 4 June 2016

Minister The Hon. Philip Dalidakis MP
Portfolio Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade
Countries visited Singapore
Date of travel 31 May - 4 June 2016
No. of official travel days
(including date of departure and date of return)
5 days
Number of accompanying ministerial staff 1
Accompanied by spouse in an official capacity No
Funding for the overseas trip was paid by
(list department/s or agency)
Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
Air fares $7,723.04*
Accommodation $3,298.54*
Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances) $3,220.25*
Travel cost for minister and staff $14,241.83*

*The above costs are not final and complete

Purpose of travel

I travelled to Singapore from 31 May to 4 June 2016 to support a digital technology trade mission on behalf of the Victorian Government. The key purpose of my travel was to undertake a program of meetings with key technology stakeholders in Singapore and to lead a delegation of Victorian digital technology companies to CommunicAsia, the premier ICT industry trade exhibition in South East Asia. Successive Victorian Governments have supported Victorian delegations to visit CommunicAsia due to its predominance in the field.

The mission was designed to promote awareness of Victoria's capabilities in digital technology and encourage positive industry and government relationships across the region.

The objectives were to:

  • Promote increased awareness of Victoria's capabilities in digital technology;
  • Support Victorian SMEs to make new contacts and establish business relationships;
  • Facilitate increased exports and attract investment; and
  • Support local job growth in Victoria.

Victoria's technology companies are predominantly SMEs and the mission to CommunicAsia was critical in encouraging and supporting international engagement and the development of global competitiveness.

Singapore is a regional technology hub with significant capabilities backed by substantial government funding. Victoria competes with Singapore for foreign direct investment and our technology companies attract business interest, investment and clients for their innovative solutions.

Key elements of my program included:

  • Representing Victoria as the leader of the delegation comprising 83 senior representatives from 41 Victorian digital technology companies;
  • Attending high level government and business meetings to discuss and promote opportunities for research and business collaboration, investment and trade relating to digital technology; and
  • Hosting and participating in a range of business events attended by industry and government representatives from across South East Asia.

Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria

A total of 83 delegates from 41 Victorian digital technology companies participated in the mission. Quantitative outcomes from the mission are still being compiled, however some early outcomes are as follows:

  • flexAnswer has been awarded a three-plus-two year whole of Government contract for the provision of a Virtual Assistant (VA) system to all Singapore Government agencies. Already 18 Singapore Government agencies are implementing the flexAnswer VA service with many more due to come on board. flexAnswer was also awarded a VA system contract with Tenaga Nasional Berhad, the largest Malaysian electricity supplier.
  • Optotech has successfully developed and commissioned three new innovative laser-based systems for hard disk drives for leading computer hardware company Seagate, based in Malaysia. Seagate holds 40 per cent of the world market for hard disk drives and data storage devices.
  • Urbanise announced that it has selected Singapore as its base in the region and is partnering with a number of global companies in the property and facility management sectors to deliver improved building efficiencies and reduce operational costs.
  • Preliminary indications are that the mission was very successful and delegates provided very positive quantitative and qualitative feedback.  It has stimulated positive immediate outcomes including a range of new partnerships and collaborations and new deals in Singapore and across the region. In addition a number of companies reported strong leads and opportunities as a result of their participation in the mission.

Meetings to promote relationship building and business opportunities for Victoria relating to digital technology

To build a closer relationship between the Victorian and Singapore Government I met with:

  • the Minister for Communications and Information, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, and discussed a range of ways the Victorian and Singaporean Governments could work together to enhance the use of digital technology.
  • Mr Gabriel Lim, Chief Executive Officer, Media Development Authority, Singapore, to discuss the opportunities arising from the merger of Infocomm Development Authority and Media Development Authority.
  • Dr Chin Kian Keong, Group Director, Singapore Land Transport Authority's (LTA) to learn about how it is applying technology solutions to transportation problems, specifically relating to the Singapore Autonomous Vehicle Initiative (SAVI). The LTA is interested in research and business collaboration opportunities with Victoria and will bring a large delegation to Melbourne for the ITS World Congress.

To promote foreign direct investment into Victoria:

  • I met with senior executives from an international technology company looking to expand its presence in Victoria.
  • I visited the Singapore office of an international technology company's cyber security facility to discuss potential opportunities for investment in Victoria.
  • I met with senior executives from a Singapore telecommunications company that the Victorian Government is actively engaging to expand their presence in Victoria, and participated in a tour and demonstration of their cyber security facility.

To promote awareness, interest and investment into Victoria's startup ecosystem:

  • I attended a Tech Startup Community Networking lunch and connected with members of the Singaporean startup and technology investment community.
  • I visited and met with senior executives of a startup and co working space. 
  • I visited the government-funded BASH co-working space which presents a good first base option for Victorian companies establishing a presence in Singapore.

To promote relationship building between Victorian and Singapore businesses and facilitate partnerships and exports:

  • I met with the peak body for the ICT industry, the Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF) and toured their facilities to understand SiTF's role in assisting ICT companies in Singapore and to facilitate co-operation between Victorian and Singaporean companies in the ICT sector.
  • I attended and spoke at an Australian networking event hosted by Austrade and discussed what opportunities exist for the Victorian Government to provide support to Victorian businesses based in Singapore.
  • I hosted a Victorian networking event attended by more than 160 delegates and stakeholders from Singapore and across the world. The event connected individuals and promoted business relationships with Victoria in relation to technology.

Other meetings

  • I met with the High Commissioner to Singapore HE Philip Green to understand Australia's national priorities for the region and to promote awareness of Victoria's capabilities.
  • I announced the Victorian Government's intention to open an office in Singapore. At this event, around 30 of Victoria's key stakeholders across the region attended a stand up networking function.
  • I visited the Australian Pavilion at CommunicAsia and met with each of the Victorian companies exhibiting on the Pavilion.

Initiatives to support continued market development

At the Victorian stakeholders networking event in Singapore I confirmed that Victoria would send another digital technology mission to CommunicAsia in 2017 to promote Victoria's digital technology capabilities and build business relationships across South East Asia, supporting our innovative local technology exporters and to attract technology related investment.

I extended invitations to Singapore government and industry representatives to attend a range of technology events in Melbourne including the National iAwards in August 2016,  the ITS World Congress in 2016 and the Connect Conference and Exhibition in April 2017.

Next Steps / follow up

A number of trade and investment opportunities arose as a result of the mission and are being followed up the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.

The Department will continue to liaise with individual companies that participated in the mission to quantify their expected outcomes in terms of leads generated and exports achieved. A debriefing session will be held to gather qualitative feedback from participants. Some qualitative feedback has already been received and is extremely positive.

Feedback will be used to further develop strategies for strengthening international business opportunities for this important high growth sector.

Page last updated: 12 October 2016