Singapore news digest (September, 13-17)

Photo by S. Pronin

Singaporean universities looking to resume overseas exchange programmes from Jan 2022

The National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU) are looking to resume overseas student exchange programmes from January 2022.
Responding to queries, an NUS spokesperson said the university has been in discussion with its partner universities in 40 countries to resume its student exchange programme in January.
About 1,600 students have signed up for the programme, and the university has also started accepting applications from international students from partner universities, the spokesperson said.
Students travelling for overseas programmes must be fully vaccinated.


Job vacancies in Singapore hit ‘record high’ in June amid border restrictions, labour crunch

Singapore’s resident unemployment continued to ease in the first half of the year, with the number of job vacancies rising to a “record high” in June amid COVID-19 border restrictions and manpower shortages, official data showed.
Resident employment increased across growth sectors such as information and communications, health and social services, professional services, public administration and education and financial and insurance services.

However, employment declined in sectors “adversely affected” by Phase 2 restrictions in the second quarter of the year. These include food and beverage services and retail trade, as well as tourism-related arts, entertainment and recreation and accommodation.


Singapore to trial import of renewable hydropower from Laos in cross-border power trade deal

Singapore will begin trialling the import of renewable hydropower from Laos via Thailand and Malaysia, following an agreement between Keppel Electric and Electricite Du Laos (EDL).
The exclusive framework agreement between the two is part of the Lao PDR-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project (LTMS-PIP).

The trial electricity supply is expected to commence once all technical, commercial, legal and regulatory arrangements are finalised with the governments of the four Asean member countries and following the execution of a binding power purchase agreement between Keppel Electric and EDL.


Singapore's PayNow to link with India's Unified Payments Interface in 2022

Singapore's PayNow and India's Unified Payments Interface (UPI) will be linked by July 2022, allowing users to make "instant, low cost" fund transfers directly between bank accounts in the two countries.
The planned linkage of the real-time payment systems was announced by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday (Sep 14).

With the linkage, fund transfers can be made from India to Singapore using mobile phone numbers, said MAS. From Singapore to India, the transfers can be made using UPI virtual payment addresses.


China is willing to work with Singapore on medicine research

China was willing to join hands with Singapore to work on medicine research and development and virus research. The pledge was made during a meeting between visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.

Wang Yi said, virus does not respect borders, nor does it distinguish between races. Solidarity of all mankind is the only way leading to victory over the pandemic.


Top 10 Fintech and Insurtech Innovation Labs in Singapore to Check Out in 2021

Singapore, which has set out to become one of the leading fintech hubs in the world, has witnessed the establishment of dozens of innovations labs in recent years.
Innovation labs create new revenue streams or bolster existing ones engaging diverse participants, on a long-term basis, in open collaboration for the purpose of creating, elaborating, and prototyping radical solutions to pre-identified systemic challenges.
In a report titled ‘Innovation Labs: Driving the Future of Industry Evolution’, 87% of financial services firms either have an innovation lab or have at least carved out some real estate for innovations. This is a 27% increase in the number of innovation centres over 2017 – 2018.

Here is the list of top 10 Fintech and Insurtech Innovation Labs in Singapore to Check Out in 2021: PayPal Innovation Lab, Visa Singapore Innovation Centre, DBS Asia X, BNY Mellon Singapore Innovation Centre, ING Labs, Firemark Labs, KPMG Digital Village, The FinLab, BIS Innovation Hub.