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How businesses in Singapore thrive in the digital era

Director of Singapore Kath Lau discusses key trends shaping the future of business in Singapore and the role of digital transformation in driving growth.

With 27% of global businesses gravitating to Southeast Asia — according to the 2023 Asian Investment Survey — Singapore Director Kath Lau explained the pivotal role of digital transformation in enabling businesses to adapt, innovate, and remain competitive in an ever-evolving market in the region.

Interviewed by the Singapore Business Review, Lau first expressed no surprise over the investment statistics, saying: “Investors keenly investing in Southeast Asia aligns with our consistent observations whilst working closely with private equity investors, investment banks, and corporate stakeholders.

She cited how Singapore, which is known for its robust business ecosystem and commitment to technological advancement, continues to pave the way for businesses to thrive in the digital era.

As the Director of Singapore, she is no stranger to the need for companies to leverage technology to streamline operations, enhance customer experiences, and capitalise on emerging opportunities.

“The digital era presents immense potential for businesses to revolutionise their operations and unlock new avenues for growth. Embracing digital transformation is no longer an option; it is a necessity for survival and success,” Lau said.

With the increasing availability of data, businesses have the opportunity to gain valuable insights into consumer behavior, market trends, and operational efficiencies and all these amplify the importance of data-driven decision-making.

Lau advised companies to invest in robust data analytics capabilities to extract actionable intelligence and drive informed decision-making.

“Data is the new currency in today’s business landscape. Organisations that can effectively harness data and transform it into actionable insights will have a significant competitive advantage,” she said.

During the interview, Lau also touched on collaboration and partnerships in driving innovation and growth, particularly to Singapore which has built the reputation as a global business hub.

“Collaboration is key to unlocking innovation and driving growth. By forming strategic partnerships, businesses can tap into new markets, access diverse talent pools, and accelerate the pace of innovation,” she said.

Singapore’s commitment to fostering a supportive environment for startups and SMEs was another crucial aspect highlighted by Lau. She underscored the government’s initiatives, such as grants, tax incentives, and incubation programs, aimed at nurturing entrepreneurship and fostering innovation.

“Startups and SMEs play a vital role in driving economic growth and job creation. Singapore provides a conducive ecosystem that encourages entrepreneurship and supports the growth of these enterprises,” she explained.

Additionally, Lau acknowledged the increasing focus on sustainability and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) practices in the business landscape.

At present, more businesses are integrating sustainability into their strategies to address societal and environmental challenges whilst creating long-term value for stakeholders.
 
“Sustainability is no longer an option but a business imperative. Companies that prioritise sustainability and adopt responsible business practices will not only contribute to a better world but also gain a competitive edge,” said Lau.
 

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