Singapore IT Inc. Opens Silicon Valley Office

SINGAPORE (03/13/2000) - The Singapore government has opened an office called Connect@sg to act as a two-way conduit for improving high-tech cooperation between the city-state and Silicon Valley. The announcement was made Thursday by Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan at the TechVenture 2000 conference in San Francisco.

The new office will house branches of Singapore's National Science and Technology Board, the Infocommunications and Development Authority (IDA) and the Singapore America Business Association (SABA), Tan said in a transcript of his speech to the conference.

U.S. companies can use this office as their point of entry into Singapore, and Connect@sg, will be a visible icon for Singapore companies going for global presence, serving as the point providing them business support and facilitation, Tan said.

It will also provide additional office space for Singapore agencies such as research institutes and centers or other government agencies which have the intention to set up offices in the U.S. The first research institute to set up in Connect@sg will be Kent Ridge Digital Labs (KRDL), the largest IT research facility in Southeast Asia, Tan said.

KRDL is a model of how Singapore hopes to transform its economy. A government-run facility, KRDL acts an incubator to high-tech start-ups which are then spun off as private entities once they reach the commercial stage.

Among the early start-ups created in this way are Web tracker Buzzcity Pte.

Ltd., search engine vendor Mustard Technology Pte. Ltd., Internet security company Private Express Pte. Ltd. and multilingual content creator Star+Globe Technologies Pte. Ltd.

The best-known spin-off is ThirdVoice Inc., whose browser plug-in technology enables Web surfers to irreversibly annotate other people's sites, a capability that aroused some controversy when it was introduced.

KRDL aims to take business ideas prevalent in the U.S., substantiate the ideas with the technologies it has developed back in Singapore and incubate the start ups to full effect, Tan said.

Connect@sg is another step in Singapore's hoped-for transformation into a center of creativity and entrepreneurism which will enable it to compete in the digital economy against bigger players in the region and worldwide.

The IDA can be reached on the Web http://www.ida.gov.sg.

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