02 Oct 2017

MR No.: 042/17

Singapore, Monday, 2 October 2017

  1. International Enterprise (IE) Singapore signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with Chinese tech partners last week to help more Singapore companies gain access to the market and its innovation ecosystem. The partnerships with AIRMaker (accelerator), NTUitive (enterprise arm of NTU) and 36Kr (top Chinese media platform) aim to provide support through accelerator programmes customised to help tech companies understand the market, test-bed their products as well as partner with Chinese companies to implement solutions. This will help build a stronger community of Singapore tech companies and a vibrant local tech sector.

  2. China, especially Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Suzhou and Wuhan, is emerging as a conducive ground for tech companies to grow as the Chinese government pushes for greater innovation and entrepreneurship. Beijing and Shanghai were recently ranked 4th and 8th respectively as the best start-up ecosystems in the world1.

  3. Beijing, with over 7,000 start-ups, is the third largest ecosystem in the world and largest in Asia2. It is home to the country’s top universities and research institutes, and at the forefront of China’s tech advancement in artificial intelligence (AI) and deep tech. Shanghai, a cosmopolitan city, offers an environment that is easy for international investors to navigate, as well as incentives and resources3  for innovators to grow their ideas in biomedical tech and fintech. Shenzhen is known for its hardware innovation strength, Suzhou for its deep research in nanotech and biomedical sector, while Wuhan for its talent in innovation.

  4. Said Mr Yew Sung Pei, Assistant CEO, IE Singapore, “China has always been a market of interest to our Singapore companies, not only because of its sheer size, but because of the innovativeness and entrepreneurial spirit of the domestic market. Through our partnerships with AIRmaker, NTUitive and 36Kr, we hope to ease market access for our tech companies, connect them to the right networks and partners to learn from bigger players. This will eventually grow a stronger pool of Singapore tech companies and build our local tech sector.”

  5. With the MOUs in place, Singapore tech start-ups will have access to tailor-made programmes to make headway into China’s diverse market landscape. AIRmaker4, an accelerator focused on Internet-of-Things (IoT), healthcare and AI, will coordinate and conduct market access programmes to connect Singapore deeptech and medtech companies to the ecosystem in China. They will provide resources such as co-working spaces, market network, support and training to facilitate growth and expansion in Beijing and other parts of China. The first run of the programme will benefit 8-10 companies working on AI solutions. To widen its reach, IE Singapore and AIRmaker will work with NTUitive, the innovation and enterprise arm of Nanyang Technology University (NTU), to bring its research innovations on board.

  6. 36Kr is China’s top tech blog that spun off into a media, co-working space and a venture fundraising and financial services company5. It will work with IE Singapore to provide Singapore tech start-ups with curated accelerator programmes, networks and opportunities to connect to in-market mentors, investors and partners to facilitate growth, or as a source for new technology partnerships in China. This partnership will benefit a wide array of start-ups ranging from consumer to medtech.

  7. “China is a market that holds significant potential for companies of all sizes. We believe that start-ups are able to succeed in this market through differentiation and connections to the right partners and resources. AIRmaker will use its Shenzhen and, now, Beijing launch pads for start-ups to navigate the Chinese market,” says Mr Lee Kwai Seng, General Manager of AIRmaker.

  8. “NTUitive’s partnership with IE Singapore and AIRmaker establishes a launchpad to the Chinese market for Singapore start-ups. Our own experience has shown us that the presence of strong local partners in foreign markets is very often the critical determinant of success for small start-ups venturing overseas. These partners provide local knowledge and connections that can significantly shorten time to market for new products and services. We are thrilled to have both IE Singapore and AIRmaker as our partners,” said Dr Lim Jui, CEO of NTUitive.

  9. “In recent years, China's technology and business model innovation are making an ever more important contribution in the global economy as many unicorns spring up. As China's largest tech innovation service platform, 36Kr hopes to build a bridge between Singapore and China with the aim to drive global innovation. Singapore tech start-ups looking to make their mark in China can take advantage of 36Kr’s connections with in-market mentors, investors, working space and other related services,” said Mr Feng Dagang, President of 36Kr.

  10. The MOU signings in Beijing are part of IE Singapore’s continued efforts to help Singapore companies access key tech markets and source for innovative tech. Just last month, IE Singapore inked two MOUs with C asean and HUBBA – key innovation and tech eco-systems builders in Thailand – to provide Singapore tech companies with access to an in-market immersion programme and co-working spaces in Bangkok. These collaborations contribute to the objectives of the Global Innovation Alliance by deepening companies’ connections with innovation hubs in the region and facilitating the growth of start-ups through leveraging complementary strengths.


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About International Enterprise Singapore

IE Singapore is the government agency that promotes international trade and partners Singapore companies to go global.

We attract and anchor global trading companies in Singapore by promoting our unique advantages as a global trading hub. Today, Singapore is home to a complete ecosystem for the energy, agri-commodities and metals & minerals trading clusters.

Through our network of over 35 overseas centres and comprehensive assistance programmes, we partner Singapore companies to strengthen their global competitiveness.

IE Singapore will merge with SPRING Singapore to form Enterprise Singapore in Q2 2018. The new government agency will leverage our core strengths in internationalisation and SPRING’s expertise in helping SMEs, providing Singapore companies with a holistic and integrated network to build capabilities and access overseas markets.

Visit www.iesingapore.gov.sg for more information.

About AIRMaker

AIRmaker aims to drive the growth of startups through their various stages of development. It focuses on startups in the IoT (Internet-of-Things) sector - Digital Health, Smart Cities and Artificial Intelligence (AI). In addition to its structured programs, AIRmaker leverages the network and ecosystem of its founding partners to help the start-ups propel their business growth.

About NTUitive

NTUitive is the innovation and enterprise company of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). NTUitive’s principal mandates are to commercialize research and to develop an ecosystem that facilitates entrepreneurship for the broader NTU community, namely, its faculty, students, staff, and alumni. In addition to its educational platforms, NTUitive advises entrepreneurs on potential sources of funding, matches them with suitable mentors, and also actively facilitates fundraising with its network of local and overseas partner-investors. NTUitive has successfully helped many startups to expand their market reach in China. NTUitive’s network in China includes NTU’s alumni, many of whom are seasoned entrepreneurs operating in various Chinese cities. Singapore tech startups can accelerate their market entry by accessing the strong network that NTUitive has built up in China.

About 36Kr

36 Kr, focusing on entrepreneurial services, was officially founded in July 2011. It is the most popular, authoritative and influential technology and new business media in China. After 6 years of development, its parent company (Beijing Xieli Zhucheng Financial Information Services Co., Ltd.) has become an inclusive service group for technological innovation businesses with its own media, co-working spaces, and a financial data platform for primary market. It also provides the greatest service platform ecosystem for technological innovation and entrepreneurship in China, which covers the most complete industrial chain with the best comprehensive competence.

[1] 2017 Startup Genome Report

[2] By number of start-ups

[3] Incentives and resources include rent allowance and low interest rate loan.

[4] Co-owned by Ascendas-Singbridge, SG Innovate, Shenzhen POE Runyang Group and Beijing SOE CMEC.

[5] 36Kr has aggregated over 82,000 start-ups on its platform, helped over 2,000 start-ups raise venture funding and has a network of over 30 co-working spaces across China.