Helping startups take flight: From weekend hikes to adventures worldwide

A new incubator here wants to groom polytechnic entrepreneurs and help their ideas take flight. Pollinate, a joint initiative across three polytechnics - Ngee Ann, Singapore and Temasek - is the...

Futuristic manufacturing system helps firms ride automation wave

BEHIND the drawn metal doors of a nondescript factory at the northern tip of Singapore, A4-sized smart carts moved autonomously on small monorail...

Minimarts face big challenges as sales take a hit this year

Times are not good for minimarts and convenience stores this year, even though the economy looks to be improving.


E-payment firms in race to roll out unifying platform

Analysts believe that Nets has an advantage over contenders like Grab or Razer to be the ubiquitous, unifying e-payment network in Singapore, but...

StanChart eases customer access to cash with tie-up

Standard Chartered customers will soon be able to withdraw cash from more than 400 places nationwide, thanks to a tie-up the bank has made with start-up soCash.

Payment by phone soon as Nets card goes digital

The way people shop and pay in Singapore could change decisively from next month, when the first set of Nets users will be able to store their contactless ATM bankcards virtually on their phones...

IE SINGAPORE Tariff Finder

Value Through Partnership MAPLETREE

Are you looking for advice on taxes or loans? Wondering how to make use of data analytics? Curious about how other SMEs motivate employees? Tap the wisdom of our panel of experts and the savvy of fellow entrepreneurs now - just ask.

Submit a Question

Editor's Pick

Asean Economic Community - what opportunities/risks are there for local SMEs?

I have not seen any direct impact on my business so far. Are there opportunities that I'm missing? Or risks (competition) that I'm not seeing?...

Expert’s Take

Ivan Tan
Group Director, Southeast Asia & Oceania, International Enterprise (IE) Singapore

The AEC is meant to drive deeper regional integration and stronger growth, by lowering barriers to boost the flow of trade, services and investments within the region. Yes, it definitely brings benefits and opportunities, but note that the AEC is a long-term commitment among ASEAN members. It takes time and there will be risks.

We can look at the benefits in 3 areas:

First, in goods. Currently, the barriers for trade in goods within ASEAN are quite low so exporters and manufacturers across different sectors can already benefit. For example, the ASEAN – 6 (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand) have eliminated import tariffs on more than 99% of goods from other ASEAN countries, while the remaining countries are expected to follow suit in the next 3 years. With this, costs of regionally-sourced raw materials or inputs become lower for SMEs. This reduces your manufacturing and production costs, and raises competitiveness for Singapore-produced goods. However, Non-Tariff Barriers still need to be reduced and customs procedures need to be streamlined.

Second, in services. We see good progress in the liberalisation of the services sector. Sectors such as professional services, construction and healthcare have opened up, creating opportunities for our SMEs to enter the space.

Third, in investment. Singapore-based investments into another ASEAN country is better protected by a robust Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, which gives investors additional recourse to seek redress or compensation if they are treated unfairly by the host government.

Overall, the AEC has created favourable conditions for Singapore companies to expand their markets and lower their costs. But we are aware that you may face challenges in finding suitable local partners and navigating the local business landscape, which differ greatly from Singapore. With strong connections on the ground, IE Singapore can help by sharing market insights, advising on setup and regulations, as well as connecting you to potential local partners and relevant government agencies. We also work with industry associations and chambers of commerce to help companies gain exposure to the region through workshops and seminars. In fact, we recently organised a webinar where we discussed some of the key opportunities and challenges faced by Singapore firms interested in venturing to the region, and we encourage you to learn more here:


Futuristic manufacturing system helps firms ride automation wave

BEHIND the drawn metal doors of a nondescript factory at the northern tip of Singapore, A4-sized smart carts moved autonomously on small monorail...

He got inspiration for startup from being girlfriend's courier

IT started with him being a courier for his girlfriend's goods. As Cai Li travelled frequently, his friends began to request him to help them...

The Duck that lays the Golden egg

SALTED egg, a craze that has survived decades - from salted egg seafood dishes to salted egg yolk tarts, the rich flavour has seen it all. For The...

Going Global

Building ties in pharma industry 'just like courtship'

Small and medium-sized enterprises are planting the Singapore flag in distant markets around the world. In the last instalment of a four-part...

Yang Kee Logistics: homegrown logistics firm goes global with M&A

Homegrown logistics firm Yang Kee Logistics' acquisition of Australian supply chain company Axima is set to fulfil Yang Kee's vision of developing...

Tech Disruptors

Makers of X-mini speakers still pushing to the max

Technological advances have changed the game for many businesses, forcing some to close and others to relook their plans. In the fourth and last part of a weekly series, The Straits Times looks at...


Sea looks to turn the tide with NYSE float

SEA - the Singapore-based Internet company formerly known as Garena - is joining the big boys on the New York Stock Exchange.

Start@SG: Start-up MyDoc raises $7m | East Ventures launches $40m seed capital fund

Tech veterans set up fund to list US firms in Asia-Pac | Start-up MyDoc raises $7m in Series A funding | East Ventures launches $40m seed capital...

Five questions with SmartClean

Keeping public toilets spotless can be a huge challenge, especially given the shortage of cleaners and the high turnover rate in the cleaning...


How Pacific International Lines is sailing through the storm

The shipping industry is undergoing a sea change, as it struggles with record-low growth globally and many once-powerful firms struggle to survive. But homegrown shipping company PIL said it...

Monetising Myanmar's potential

The recent opening up of the country presents an opportunity for technology leap-frogging, even as the burgeoning IT sector is increasingly looking for investments and expertise from foreign...

Exploring new frontiers: risks and opportunities in Asean

Asean offers enormous commercial opportunities but also poses a range of political risks for business and investors.

Small Caps: Catalist

Spackman unit wins deal to supply production gear for Netflix's first original Korean drama

SPACKMAN Entertainment Group on Monday said that its wholly owned subsidiary, Frame Pictures, has been awarded the contract to supply camera systems and equipment for Netflix's first Korean...

Trendlines collaborates with China's Haier to develop medtech, agritech startups

THE Trendlines Group - an Israel-based, Singapore-listed incubator of medical and agricultural technology startups - has extended its partnership network with global companies.

Mary Chia set for makeover after buyout

It looks like the end of an era for Singapore's best-known beauty outlets for women, the Mary Chia chain of stores. It also marks an eye-catching diversification for Japanese restaurant group Suki...


MoneyMax, Japan firm to set up live e-auction site

PAWNBROKER, retailer and trader in pre-owned jewellery, watches and branded goods MoneyMax Financial Services is jointly developing Singapore's first...

Darco-InfraCo Asia tie-up clinches S$50m of projects in Vietnam

MAINBOARD-LISTED water treatment company Darco Water Technologies said on Thursday that it will partner InfraCo Asia Development on a design, build, own, operate (DBOO) model for four municipal water...

More agile entity for local businesses with merger of IE Singapore, Spring

SPRING Singapore and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore have both done good work, but homegrown enterprises will be better supported in this dynamic economic environment through the merger of...


Economists maintain Singapore's 2017 GDP forecast at 2.5% but lopsided growth seen worsening

SINGAPORE - Private sector economists polled by Singapore's central bank maintained their 2017 growth forecast for the Singapore economy at 2.5 per cent but this headline number masks a deepening...


28 Sep 2017   to 29 Sep 2017  
29 Sep 2017   to 1 Oct 2017