INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Will the Jurong Innovation District make a difference?

It’s interesting, but don’t pop the champagne yet.

Singapore took another step in its dream of becoming Asia’s Silicon Valley with its plan to establish the new Jurong Innovation District (JID). The new hub is envisioned to be an industrial park of the future, and will bring together startups, entrepreneurs, researchers and students to develop products and services of the future.

Experts at the Singapore Business Review Budget Breakfast Briefing were optimistic on JID’s effect on the manufacturing sector, but at the same time cautioned that it is too early to tell whether the hub can revitalise the flagging industry.

“It’s important to have an environment where entrepreneurs, students, researchers can come together and hatch their ideas, and create a hotbed effect in order to move forward with technology,” said Lee Tiong Heng, Tax Partner, Deloitte Singapore.

Ajay Kumar Sanganeria, Tax Partner, KPMG, added that the establishment of JID will capitalise on the increasing interconnectedness between innovation and manufacturing.

“Jurong has already been a manufacturing hub, and putting the Jurong Innovation District next to it, we’ll be able to add more value to the manufacturing,” he said.

Although the hub is an interesting development, others cautioned that it is still too early to tell how effective JID will be.

“I think it is still too early to tell whether it’s going to work or not, if it’s a wonderful idea or not. Of course, the sentiment is great, they have their heart in the right place. But whether having the Innovation Centre is 5 kilometres or 20 kilometres away from the manufacturing centre, does make a big impact,” said Shanker Iyer, Chairman, Iyer Practice advisers.

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