MoU to reach out to Asean-East Asia




The Institute of Directors (IOD) has further reaffirmed already strong and growing India-Singapore business ties following its three-day convention held in the city state 16-18 Jan 2020.

IOD signed a memorandum of understanding with NUS Business School and honored one of Singapore’s leading government officials, Peter Ong Kwee, with “Distinguished Fellowship” during its Golden Peacock Awards on 16 Jan 2020.

Ong, on receiving the honour, underlined the deepening business relations between the two countries.

Singapore companies are increasingly collaborating with Indian corporations and business counterparts, especially tapping opportunities in health-tech, rural-tech, e-commerce and smart-city development programme, according to Ong, chairman of Enterprise Singapore which promotes Singapore companies globally.

“As India pushes ahead with digitalization efforts, we see increasing opportunities in health-tech, rural-tech, ecommerce and smart city development,” he said.

“We continue to deepen this economic cooperation and partnership (with India),” assured Ong.

“In Singapore, we believe innovation require the exchange of knowledge, ideas and market opportunities,” stressed Ong, pointing out that Enterprise Singapore has 36 offices, three of which are in India, for internationalizing Singapore businesses.

Ong highlighted the advantage of having launched the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) network in Bangalore at ‘YourStory’s TechSparks’, one of India’s largest start-up events held in October last year.

The GIA in Bengalore facilitates and encourages this two-way flow of startups, technologies and ideas between Singapore and major innovation hubs. The GIA has connections to 12 global cities.

“In Bengalore I witnessed vibrancy of the Indian startups and technology ecosystems,” he said, adding that Singapore is now working with partners such as incubators, venture capitalists and mentors to run activities and initiatives that will strengthen such exchanges.

“We share some interesting insights on technology and financing eco system. The landscape I saw (in Bengalore) is truly dynamic and I am not surprised that India is currently the third largest start up eco system in the world,” said Ong who is also senior advisor to Singapore’s Trade and Industry Ministry.

Ong hopes to encourage many more partnerships and innovation between Singapore and Indian companies. “This is a natural area for both sides,” Ong told some 300 delegates at the IOD’s Singapore Global Convention 2020 being held 16-18 Jan 2020.

Elaborating further, he said Singapore companies want to join Indian businesses in technology-driven areas to grow into the South East Asian markets.

More than 8,000 Indian companies are already based in Singapore for regional markets while some 500 Singapore companies are involved in a wide range of businesses in India.

The IOD’s MoU is for collaboration in best corporate governance practices between the two countries as well as Asean and East Asian businesses.

It was signed with the Centre for Governance, Institutions and Organizations at the NUS Business School of National University of Singapore.

“The main objective is for collaboration in the areas of advancing good corporate governance practices and sharing of experiences,” explained the centre’s director Lawrence Loh after signing the MoU here with IOD, a pan-India organization.

“It is for sharing of practices as there are many good practices in the Indian jurisdiction and there are unique practices in Singapore, South East Asia and East Asia,” he elaborated.

Singapore, a multi-national hub with operational centre for regional businesses, is strong in the East Asian practice, coming together will be good synergies for uplifting of corporate standards across India, Singapore, Asean and East Asia, Loh pointed out.

“There are many things we can still learn from the Indian systems,” he said, citing the illustrious corporate sector such as the Tata Group and Reliance Group and inheritance of business practices from the Commonwealth and former colonial regimes.

He also noted the strength of good corporate governance of family-based business in India, calling it the best in the world. “In exchange, we can give them the Asean and East Asian concepts.”

He expects more and more family-run businesses in India to venture into Asean and East Asian markets.

Highlighting India’s high business potential, Loh, nevertheless, pointed out that foreign investors were still focused on East Asian markets namely China.

Calling the MoU a bride linking Indian businesses to Asean-East Asian entities, Loh said his centre has deep understanding of Asean and East Asia businesses.

“Our Centre has done such collaborations with businesses in Asean member countries. We understand the concept through the centre’s Asean Corporate Governance Score Card,” he pointed out.


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