CXO Breakfast Talk with Mr Kiren Kumar – Assistant Managing Director, Digital Industry Singapore - EDB

SGTech is pleased to have Mr Kiren Kumar, EDB's Assistant Managing Director for Digital Industry Singapore (DISG) at our CXO Breakfast Talk. More than a hundred members and guests were present on the 15th of March to engage with Mr Kiren.

Mr Kiren opened the talk with a "Singapore: The Impossible Story" video, and also by outlining Singapore's economy and industrial development since independence. From the start, Singapore grew economically through labour-intensive economic activities to create jobs for citizens, and moved quickly into new capital-intensive industries such as petrochemicals and semiconductors. As Singapore is entering into the digital economy, he outlined vital drivers and considerations for Singapore to remain relevant and competitive globally. 

[Mr Kiren Kumar, Assistant Managing Director, Digital Industry Singapore – EDB, shared with us the possibilities of Singapore becoming Asia’s tech hub]

Mr Kiren envisioned Singapore's position as the digital technology hub in Asia where foreign companies not only have headquarters to manage the region, but also a location where new products, new services, new business models, and new partnerships are created. The uniqueness of Singapore is that it can be a location where technology can be scaled up for value, and a place located at the confluence of supply and demand. Singapore is a great landing pad to build technology, capabilities, products and services and scale to South-East Asia, where there is a rising middle class that requires new services.

The quality of Singapore's talent and its ability to attract global talent is what draws many regional unicorns to set up operations in Singapore. As such, the government has identified areas to invest in, such as our Institutes of Higher Learning for tech education, where future workforce would emerge to take up these roles. Mr Kiren also noted that Singapore is looking into re-skilling our existing workforce in the tech sector and across the economy so that the current workforce can drive value immediately.

Mr Kiren spoke about the formation of the Digital Industry Singapore (DISG) office, which is a joint office comprising officers from EDB, ESG and IMDA. DISG aims to drive job creation, capability building, enterprise development and internationalisation across key local and international digital enterprises, with its role would be to oversee Singapore's efforts in industrialising digital, by building up supply-side companies in the digital industry vertical.

[More than 100 Startups founders, SME owners, MNC senior staff, as well as government officials were the attendees at the CXO Breakfast Talk on 15th March 2019]

Lastly, Mr Kiren also gave his thoughts on the five areas where he notes would be challenges for Singapore & our companies to overcome:
1. Technology
- As countries are embarking on a technological arms race, would Singapore be forced to choose sides?

2. Taxation
- Economies around the world are looking at ways of taxing new digital business models. How does this affect Singapore, and how will it change our current position?

3. Trade
- Singapore has cemented itself into the global supply chain, but in the new digital age, what does the movement of goods and Free Trade mean? How can the industry adapt to new business models brought about by trade in the digital world?

4. Talent
- Singapore is one of the three global theatres of operations for many large US technology companies to build their diversified talent strategy and hub. How can Singapore compliment the needs of these companies? 

5. Data
- Data flows are going to be a massive enabler and disruptor for the digital economy to take off, but they post challenges for Singapore to overcome. How do we treat cross border flows of data, how do we deal with data privacy? How do we continue to remain relevant and a primary data hub contain many of the Region's mission-critical data?
Mr Kiren coins this the “4 Ts & 1 D”, and invites the companies to share their insights with DISG, as they’re also preparing on the ways Singapore navigate to ensure that we remain relevant and competitive in the future. 

[[From Left to Right]: Mr Wong Wai Meng, 1st Vice Chair of SGTech joined Mr Kiren Kumar in the dialogue with the guests]



Joined by Mr Wong Wai Meng, Mr Kiren ended the Breakfast Talk by engaging with the guests. 

For more information regarding upcoming CXO Breakfast Talks, please contact us at [email protected], or visit our website at

Published Apr 2019