Singapore, South Korea ink IT security partnership

Under agreement, Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation and Korea Knowledge Information Security Industry Association will promote IT security companies in both countries, as well as develop IT security groups in other Asian countries.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

SINGAPORE--The Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation (SITF) and Korea Knowledge Information Security Industry Association (KISIA) have signed an agreement to promote and develop IT security companies in both countries.

Under the memorandum of understanding (MOU), the two industry groups will engage in a variety of collaborative and cooperative activities in the field of IT security, as well as develop other information security associations in Asian countries, Deuk-Choon Lee, chairman of KISIA, said at a media briefing held here Wednesday.

This marks the first time SITF's security chapter has signed an MOU with a foreign entity, said Ngair Teow Hin, chairman of SITF and CEO of SecureAge, who was also at the briefing.

Lee explained that the two groups plan to hold activities include such as IT security seminars and forums in both countries, and help ease the entry of IT security companies into foreign markets. For instance, he noted that Korea-based IT security companies looking to visit Singapore and Malaysia to conduct market research will be able to receive help from SITF.

He revealed that KISIA signed a similar MOU with the Japan Network Security Association (JNSA) two years ago. Noting the different IT environments in both countries, Lee said this agreement yielded a beneficial relationship.

Japan is governed by strong IT laws while Korea is brimming with strong IT products, he said, adding that the two countries have been working together to "narrow the gap".

KISIA hopes to achieve the same with Singapore which also has strong IT laws, he said.

Lee noted that traditionally, the United States often dominated the IT market and that Asia would "do so much better" if IT companies based in this region had the opportunity to expand into more markets.

He maintained that such agreements were not attempts to be "an enemy of the U.S." but to encourage smaller technology organizations to work together.

Sharing of technology
Ngair told ZDNet Asia at the sidelines of the briefing that Korea was chosen because it is the second biggest economy in Asia, behind Japan.

With the signing of the MOU, he hopes to establish lower barriers of entry for local companies trying to target the Korean market as well as start "the ball rolling" for similar memorandums with other countries.

He also noted the unique characteristics of IT security technologies.

"It is a dynamic market where vendors rarely compete against each other, and would instead collaborate [because] there is always something you do not know as cyber threats evolve every day>," Ngair explained.

Asked about the IT security market in Asia-Pacific, he said that while it is not as huge as the United States, it is growing .

He noted that many Asians are innovative, intelligent and creative in terms of technology, but these companies still live in the shadows of multinational companies from the United States. Ngair said he is keen to bring companies "to the next level", and added that Asian security companies have the potential to become "like a Symantec or McAfee".

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