The first Singapore-China (Shenzhen) Smart City Initiative (SCI) Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) meeting was held on 17 June, helmed by the Ministry of Communications and Information’s Permanent Secretary, Yong Ying-I, and Shenzhen Mayor, Chen Rugui.
Eight Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) were also inked at the meeting which will enable both enterprises and individuals to have greater ease of access to market opportunities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and Southeast Asia (SEA).
The SCI signifies the commitment by both sides towards digital connectivity which has become even more pertinent amid COVID-19. The SCI is centred around three pillars – (i) Digital connectivity (ii) Innovation and entrepreneurship, and (iii) Tech talent exchange and development – to better support businesses and individuals as technological advancements in today’s digital economy have transformed the way businesses operate and how individuals consume services.
To help businesses innovate and tap on growth opportunities, a new Asian SME Hub will be set up to facilitate access to a larger ecosystem of buyers, sellers, logistics service providers, financing, and digital solution providers.
Operational by July 2020, it will facilitate trusted cross-border partnerships as businesses scale up and expand into new markets. For a start, 50 SMEs that are already selling industrial hardware, chemicals, safety, medical and office supplies on Eezee.sg, a B2B digital platform supported by IMDA and ESG under the Grow Digital initiative, will have access to a buyer base of 4 million SMEs in YiQiYe’s SME Ecosystem in China.
As more SME ecosystems are being developed in ASEAN, they will also be able to form partnerships for innovation and leverage business opportunities with SMEs in China through the new Asian SME Hub.
Through digital trade connectivity, businesses will enjoy greater efficiency with faster, digitalised insurance and financing processes with banks which are facilitated by expeditious validation of data. Businesses can also benefit from seamless trade transactions with the streamlining of electronic documentations as both parties work towards the mutual recognition of these documents.
Additionally, with increased international trade and business activities, businesses from both cities will soon be able to rely on an efficient and effective “mediation-arbitration” dispute resolution model offered by the Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC) in collaboration with the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration to resolve cross-border disputes.
This will help boost business confidence, allowing them to maintain relationships as there is assurance that settlement agreements resulting from mediation at SIMC can be enforced in China.
In addition, both cities agreed to explore cooperation in talent exchange and work towards mutual recognition and interoperability of both parties’ digital identity platforms.
Permanent Secretary of MCI, Yong Ying-I said, “The Singapore-China (Shenzhen) Initiative has produced substantial positive outcomes just months after its launch last year, in spite of the COVID-19 situation. Indeed, COVID-19 has accelerated the pace of digitalisation in our economies.
“Singapore will continue to work with like-minded partners like Shenzhen, to drive innovation and entrepreneurship in digital economies, and to enhance trade and connectivity to create exciting opportunities for businesses, communities and individuals,” she continued.
Mr Chen Rugui, Mayor of Shenzhen Municipality said: “This meeting has helped to elevate the Singapore-China (Shenzhen) Smart City Initiative to a new level. Shenzhen will follow the principles of “cooperation for mutual benefits, government-guided, enterprise-led and a market-based approach”, to comprehensively deepen the SCI cooperation between Singapore and Shenzhen, accelerate the implementation of cooperation projects in areas such as digital trade, digital payment, cross-border data management, and mutual recognition of digital identities.
“We will actively promote exchanges between enterprises, research institutions and institutes of higher learning from both sides, with an aim to jointly create a new benchmark for global smart city cooperation,” he concluded.