Singapore is open for business and is reinforcing its position as Asia’s leading destination for meetings and events, after hosting Asia Tech x Singapore (ATxSG) which took place in June. The event welcomed 16,600 hybrid attendees from 93 countries and regions, Singapore’s largest technology event since the reopening of its borders on 1 April to fully-vaccinated visitors, with no quarantine and testing requirements.
The success of the ATxSG event highlights Singapore’s readiness to host business gatherings, and reinforces why it is a world-class hub for meetings, exhibitions and conferences. Its vibrant business culture, advanced infrastructure, stellar track record in delivering high-quality meetings and a strong pipeline of events planned for the remainder of 2022, are just some of the reasons organisers view Singapore as the gateway to doing business in Asia.
This year’s event that took place from 31 May until 2 June at Singapore Expo and The Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore marked the first time ATxSG was held in person, with the previous edition in 2021 hosted virtually. Organised by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Informa Tech, the event featured four key streams : ATxSummit, ATx AI, ATxEnterprise and ATxImpact.
Gathering of global tech, business and government leaders
The one-day, invitation-only ATxSummit took place on 31 May at The Ritz Carlton, Millenia Singapore. Attended by more than 2,000 guests and 80 speakers from 30 countries, it featured an opening address from Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and a series of sessions on sustainability, digital innovation across borders and rethinking healthcare within a digital landscape. Brands such as CNBC, Dell Technologies and Google took part, alongside academic and ministerial representatives.
ATxAI was another stream which also took place at The Ritz Carlton, featuring debates on the future of AI technologies, AI and sustainability, with contributions from Josephine Teo, Minister for Communications and Information and from brands including Meta, Salesforce and Sony AI.
The other two streams were held at Singapore Expo, alongside 600 exhibitors showcasing the latest tech products and services.
ATxImpact focused on start-ups and entrepreneurship, while ATxEnterpise included industry events BroadcastAsia, CommunicAsia, SatelliteAsia and TechXLR8Asia, bringing together telecommunications, broadcast and media, satellite and enterprise solutions.
ATxSG also heralded the launch of the Digital Trust Centre (DTC), which will lead Singapore’s research and development efforts for trust technologies, while also supporting talent development in this space.
For Foo Chia Hsia, Assistant Chief Executive , IMDA, the event was an exciting opportunity to showcase not only why Singapore is a leading destination for trade conferences and events, but the extent to which it is also at the cutting-edge of technology.
“We are excited to finally be able to bring people together in Singapore to talk about the very important and challenging questions of technology, both in terms of its potential for a country like Singapore, and the wider world,” she said. “The important thing is for governments, industry, and technology to be able to sit together to discuss these questions and how to move forward together.”
With thought leaders, innovators and senior executives from all over the world gathering together for high-level discussions on the future impact of technologies, ATxSG was a testament to Singapore’s strength as a leading destination for business opportunities. Its enviable technology track record and its extensive travel connections to other countries reinforces its attractiveness as a meetings hub.
“ATxSG has reaffirmed Singapore’s ability to stage effective in-person events, which strengthens our position as a leading MICE destination in a post-pandemic world,” said Mr. Yap Chin Siang, Deputy Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board. “We look forward to its continued growth in the coming years as Asia’s flagship tech event.”
Calvin Koh, Sales Director at Informa Markets, echoed these sentiments. “Singapore is so well connected by land, sea and air and being a recognised technology hub, our overseas audience wanted to come here,” he said. The buzz from the show floor was palpable over the three days, with Koh adding: “People found it easy to communicate and our exhibitors were really happy to be back face-to-face, shaking hands, rubbing shoulders and having some serious discussions, converting these into business deals back home.”
Leading the way
Singapore’s strong business fundamentals have fostered a vibrant business tourism and MICE landscape and cemented its reputation as a leading and trusted destination for events, demonstrating its resilience throughout the pandemic and into the present recovery trajectory.
The city has a strong base from which to hold large-scale events safely, having developed the Safe Business Events Framework in 2020 and hosted a series of pilot events over the last two years to demonstrate the city’s readiness to operate post-pandemic.
With its ability to deliver impactful events, and with the destination renowned as a place where industry experts gather for thought leadership, to exchange knowledge and to build future business.
Denis Sirov, co-founder and CTO of Veego said his company chose to exhibit at the event because of its scale. “We have been looking for relevant events and this is the first one since the pandemic that has the scale we need,” he said. “Singapore is also the first destination we have visited since the pandemic and coming here was a really smooth experience. The fact that there was no requirement for quarantine or any preliminary tests meant we could do business as soon as we landed. This saved us precious time.”
Sirov added that the event exceeded his expectations and has given him the opportunity to meet new customers. “Exhibiting in Singapore has allowed us to form these personal relationships and discuss business deals with customers – we actually got some very good leads on potential customers from the event and formed new partnerships,” he said.
A number of MOUs were signed at the event, including one between Singapore’s NCS Telco+ and Thailand’s Advanced Info Service, while a partnership between cloud platform OneQode and Philippines-based PLDT Global will help fast-track the deployment of OneQode’s network infrastructure in Manila.
Testament to Singapore’s reputation as a leading international MICE destination, is the strong performance it has already recorded this year, and the pipeline of meetings set to take place across the rest of 2022. By way of comparison, in 2021, Singapore hosted over 200 events attended by an estimated 49,000 delegates; in the first three months of this year alone, from January through to March, the destination hosted more than 150 events attended by over 37,000 delegates.
This number is set to increase further with at least 66 international events secured for the rest of 2022, including landmark business events such as FHA Food & Beverage, from 5-8 September and Food and Hotel Asia – HoReCa, running from 25-28 October. Both are set to welcome more than 30,000 physical attendees.
Singapore is also staging a number of events for the very first time, including Find - Design Fair Asia, Seafood Expo 2022 and transport logistic and air cargo South East Asia 2023, all of which will welcome a high number of international travellers keen to do business. The associations sector is also thriving, with Singapore hosting the AIJA 60th International Young Lawyers Congress (22-27 August) and the World Stroke Congress (26-29 October).
As business travel and MICE continues to ramp up, Singapore is on a strong footing for global recovery. And with a host of initiatives and assistance schemes in place for business event organisers and meeting planners, such as STB’s Business Events in Singapore (BEiS) scheme and its SMAP and INSPIRE 2.0 programmes, Singapore is cementing its reputation as the MICE destination of choice. For more information visit https://www.visitsingapore.com/mice/en/.
This article is brought to you in partnership with Singapore Tourism Board