EDB Investments to manage $30 million M-Commerce fund to promote WAP, e-speak development in Singapore
SINGAPORE, 26 January 2000 - Hewlett-Packard Singapore will invest S$35 million (US$20 million) to set up a Mobile E-Services Bazaar (MEB) for Asia to promote the development of e-speak-enabled and WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) solutions for the global market, and to provide incubation facilities for startup companies with mobile solutions.
Supported by Singapore's Economic Development Board (EDB) and the
Infocomm Development Agency (IDA), the HP MEB will provide local application
developers a window to the global market, attracting and nurturing the
development of mobile solutions specifically targetted to Asian markets,
including content in native languages.
The HP MEB will initially be set up as a 3,000 sq. ft. incubation center within HP where partners can access equipment and facilities to promote and develop Mobile E-services applications. The center will have four full-time staff that will increase to 10 by the year 2003. Additional resources will be tapped as required from other parts of HP. Application developers, technology partners, operators/enterprises and other players in the Mobile E-Services industry can take advantage of the Bazaar to receive technical support, commercial advice, privileged access to HP's global mobile operator and enterprise customer base, an environment to trade, transact and source ideas, services, partnerships as well as financial support for selected application providers.
The Singapore Bazaar is modeled on the first physical Bazaar in Helsinki, Finland, which acts as an incubator for startup companies developing new value-added Mobile E-services and has already attracted over 50 developers since its inception three months ago.
Said Mr Liew Heng San, Managing Director, Economic Development Board of Singapore: "We view this Bazaar as a strategic resource in nurturing mobile e-commerce start-ups in Singapore and in making this country an international mobile e-commerce hub."
M-Commerce Venture Fund
To give the S$35 million Singapore Bazaar and mobile e-commerce ventures an initial boost, EDB's investment arm, EDB Investments (EDBI), HP and other strategic investors will come together to establish a separate S$30 million (US$18 million) M-Commerce Venture Fund. The Fund, to be managed by EDBI, will invest in startups and development stage companies in the mobile applications and related segments.
"HP's Mobile E-Services Bazaar is critical to spurring the wireless Internet in Singapore and Asia, in which mobile communications devices of all kinds will connect to a dynamic marketplace of e-services," said Ann Livermore, President, Enterprise and Commercial Business, Hewlett-Packard Company. "HP and the EDB are bringing about a hub of creative, commercial and social activity, supported by an enabling infrastructure, promoting commercial and technical collaboration among its members."
Combining an online "CyberBazaar" community with a number of regional centers of innovation, the HP MEB provides a trading community and developers' program for wireless operators, service providers, enterprise application providers and technology partners. Service providers and enterprises have the ability to view and test new mobile e-services, join special interest groups, find relevant information and gain access to a constant supply of innovative solutions. Application vendors will benefit from technical, business, marketing and sales support provided by HP and its partners.
Strategic technologies & partners
HP has identified its own e-speak technology platform, the universal translator of e-services on the Web, and WAP as two strategic technologies to drive new business opportunities in the mobile communications market. Leading handphone vendor Nokia, has estimated that there will be 250 million WAP-enabled phones in the world by 2003. HP projects that the global market for servers, software and associated services will be worth more than US$35 billion by 2003. Asia will generate 15-20 percent (almost US$7 billion) of this revenue.
Other than major telecommunication companies as technology partners, initial application partners actively supporting the HP Mobile E-services Bazaar in Singapore include Centre for Wireless Communications, connect@will, Finland's F-Secure Corporation - a market leader in virus scanning which will establish a presence in Singapore through the Bazaar -, Isis International Pte Ltd, Netlife, Philip Tang & Sons Pte Ltd, Portal Software Inc., Singapore Exchange IT Solutions, wapband.com and Yomi Media (refer to partner datasheet). HP targets to attract some 75 application partners, including 25 local companies, within the first year of its operations.
Examples of HP's innovation in Mobile E-services market include:
- The joint development with
Motorola of locator service technologies that drive dynamic brokering of
information and services through cell phones based on users' geographic
- HP's first mobile e-services
solution, a WAP-compliant OpenMail messaging and collaboration solution, enables
users to send and receive e-mail from WAP-enabled cell phones.
- Nokia and HP are jointly
developing and marketing business-critical mobile Internet solutions and
collaborating on WAP-based solutions for HP-UX and Windows NT servers. HP
resells Nokia's WAP server worldwide through direct and indirect channels,
initially in Europe.
- HP's VeriFone division is enhancing its e-payment software to support WAP-based wireless appliances. With WAP implementation, it delivers secure session with wireless appliances for complete mobile e-commerce offerings.
Companies who wish to participate in the MEB can call HP at Tel: (65) 374 0988.