Week in Review: Singapore gets it about digital disruption

  • NRF gives US$30m to four brick-and-mortar corporates to engage startups
  • Accenture joins What’s Next as Knowledge Partner, UEM Group MD as Provocateur

Week in Review: Singapore gets it about digital disruptionIF you ever doubted the impact of digital on large corporates then the Singapore Government’s move to give S$40 million (US$30 million) to four large brick-and-mortar companies is testament to the clear and present danger digital disruption could have on them.
 
There is no other reason for the Singapore Government to take the courageous decision to allocate taxpayer money to four private sector companies for them to take bets on startups.
 
The fear is that the large companies with their billion-dollar revenues will not take the wave of digital disruption seriously. The risk of this is that their business could be hit by the changes that digital brings, and any reactive response from them could be too little, too slow, and too late.
 
The funding comes from the National Research Foundation (NRF) through its Early Stage Venture Fund Scheme (ESVF). The four corporates getting the funding are CapitaLand Ltd, DeClout Ltd, Wilmar International Ltd, and YCH Group Pte Ltd.
 
In essence, this move by the Singapore Government is to encourage its large corporates to ride the wave, not be hit by it.
 
Which is why a CapitaLand executive tells DNA, “The idea is not just to invest in a startup but to work with them to validate their idea and if needs be, we can be both a customer and shareholder.”
 
All large corporates in the region should take note of this.
 
For Senheng, the largest electrical goods retailer in Malaysia, the option was to hide or get in the game, as its cofounder, Lim Kim Heng shared with me.
 
Since hiding was not an option, the billion-ringgit company has spent over two years and invested US$12.2 million (RM50 million) planning for its entry into e-commerce, with the channel going live in July.
 
Singapore and Senheng’s move also validates DNA’s own decision to focus our anchor conference on brick-and-mortar companies and how they can deal with the disruption being caused by digital.
 
With more and more aspects of life going digital, this is a mega trend that is already upon us. Which explains why this week, DNA welcomed Accenture as a Knowledge Partner to What’s Next.
 
As its country managing director Janet Yap said, “Organisations need to aggressively shift the focus of their digital talent and technology from enhancing efficiency to creating entirely new business models.
 
“This requires not just more digital investments, but broader organisational and cultural transformation in order to yield greater returns.”
 
It’s also great that we welcome Izzaddin Idris, group managing director of UEM Group Bhd, to What’s Next. It will be interesting to hear his views on this digital disruption and how the diversified UEM Group is integrating this into its strategy.
 
If you haven’t got your tickets yet, you can get more information about the conference here.
  
Have a restful weekend and productive week ahead.
 
Editor’s Picks:
 
What’s Next welcomes Accenture as Knowledge Partner
 
DNA on BFM: Senheng to take on e-commerce merchants
 
Don’t need to explain what encryption is, just use it!
 
Singapore’s NRF awards US$30mil to four local enterprises
 
Six Indonesian startups in Batch 2 of Google’s Launchpad
 
What 4G revenue, Indonesia’s telcos ask
 
Shopping and ‘fashion discovery’ startup Goxip raises US$1.62mil
 
 
Previous Instalments:
 
Week in Review: SMEs are digital laggards, but with good reason
 
Week in Review: Singapore welcomes a new telco
 
Week in Review: With new CEO, will MaGIC morph?
 
Week in Review: SEA ecosystem shrugs off MOL’s delisting
 
Week in Review: The Chinese are coming
 

 
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