Singapore aims to create 10,000 tech jobs in three years

FILE PHOTO: Office workers cross a street in Singapore's central business district April 27, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore on Wednesday said it has plans to create up to 10,000 jobs in the technology sector over three years in an initiative to establish the city-state as a global hub for the industry.

The plan will be spearheaded by a new government office called Digital Industry Singapore (DISG), which consolidates efforts by various existing public bodies to encourage investment from foreign tech firms, support local business, and work with the industry to shape future policy.

Armed with lucrative grants and incentives, the island nation has in recent years been focusing on tech firms, investors and top talent - a sector that could help combat some of the slowest growth rates the city-state has seen in a decade.

“DISG will seek to achieve our mission to establish Singapore as a global-Asia technology hub,” said Kiren Kumar, chief digital industry officer, DISG.

The new government office expects to create up to 10,000 jobs within the technology sector over the next three years including roles in engineering, software development and finance.

DISG also said it will assist companies in areas such as ride-hailing, e-commerce, fintech, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

While Singapore’s low taxes, political stability and robust legal system and infrastructure have attracted foreign firms for decades, a recently passed fake news law has put it at odds with the likes of Facebook and Alphabet’s Google who fear it could hinder free speech and innovation.

Despite large investments, Singapore only has one local “unicorn” - a start-up worth over $1 billion - in ride-hailing firm Grab, according to research firm CBInsights, while neighboring Indonesia has four.

Reporting by John Geddie, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips