ASP Center to boost S'pore bid to be Asia's IT hub

The ASP Centre--a joint initiative between the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), Sun Microsystems and the Nanyang Technological University--was officially opened Monday, with the aim to help establish Singapore as a major hub for IT-based commerce and services in the Asia Pacific region.

SINGAPORE--"To better position ourselves for the upturn when it comes, we need to look ahead, reinvent and recreate new competitive edge in our economy, business enterprises and workforce." This was the message from the Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Lim Swee Say at the opening of the ASP Centre Monday.

In line with this proactive stance, the ASP Centre--a joint initiative between the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), Sun Microsystems and the Nanyang Technological University--aims to help establish Singapore as a major hub for IT-based commerce and services in the Asia Pacific region.

It plans to do this by helping the local industry develop new and innovative ASP application services and "incubating and nurturing them through to deployment", said Professor Robert Gay, director and CEO of the ASP Centre.

The three core sponsors have together donated some S$5 million to the ASP Center, while key technology partners such as Cisco, Oracle, Software AG, i-STT, iPlanet, BMC Software and Ecquaria have contributed a further S$3 million.

The ASP Centre is part of the Asian ASP Alliance that has some 500 members in Japan, Korea and Singapore. China is expected to join in August and it is hoped that more Asia Pacific countries will do so as well.

According to Prof Gay, the ASP Centre will be a non-profit organization that will charge for services depending on the level of qualification of staff involved in a project. As he put it, a person with a PhD working on a project will be able to contribute more than a student.

Given its close ties with NTU, the ASP Centre is currently offering five scholorships to engineering students with a further five coming up soon. Prof Er Meng Hwa, Dean of the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NTU said that both NTU and the ASP Centre hope to leverage on the strength of the 3,000 qualified engineering personnel found at NTU and some of the satellite laboratories they have set up.

Currently, a few projects are being evaluated by the ASP Centre, which hopes to set up an advisory body consisting of external industry players.However, there has been no mention of who they will be.

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