Singapore’s AI ambitions get a boost with $740 million investment plan



Tech executives believe that Singapore’s commitment to invest over $743 million in artificial intelligence over the next five years will enhance its status as a global business and innovation hub.

Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, in his Budget speech on Friday, announced Singapore’s plan to allocate more than 1 billion Singapore dollars over the next five years to further advance the country’s AI capabilities.

Nithin Chandra, managing partner of Southeast Asia at Kearney, a global management consulting firm, highlighted the global unpreparedness of nearly three-quarters of business leaders for AI transformation, citing limitations in time, people, and money. Chandra expressed that this initiative would assist businesses in capitalizing on technological advancements and seizing new opportunities.

As part of the investment, Singapore aims to secure access to advanced chips crucial for AI development and deployment, according to Wong. Additionally, the country plans to collaborate with leading companies globally to establish AI centers of excellence, fostering innovation.

Jonathon Dixon, vice president and managing director, emphasized that this move would incentivize companies to adopt AI solutions, prioritize AI skills in their workforce, and promote strategic partnerships and knowledge sharing, thereby driving overall innovation.

LinkedIn’s Future of Work report in August identified Singapore workers as the world’s fastest in adopting AI skills. Mao Gen Foo, head of Southeast Asia at Qualtrics, an American experience management company, commended the increased focus and investment in AI capabilities, talent, and industry development, considering it crucial for Singapore’s positioning as a business and innovation hub.

Goldman Sachs predicts that AI could contribute to a 1.5% increase in growth over the next 10 years. Singapore, having published an AI plan in 2019, launched the National AI Strategy 2.0 in December, outlining initiatives to prepare the economy for harnessing AI to empower workers and businesses.

Pannie Sia, general manager of ASEAN at Workday, an American finance and human resources software vendor, stressed the importance of sustaining focus on AI and machine learning to ensure Singapore’s prominence in technological advancements, strengthening its position as an attractive hub for businesses and talent in a digitized global landscape.

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