Singapore’s Ambitious AI Investment Plan

Posted by Written by Muhamad Aziz and Ayman Falak Medina Reading Time: 2 minutes

Singapore aims to strengthen its position as a global business and innovation hub by investing more than S$1 billion or more than US$743 million into artificial intelligence (AI) over the next five years. The move was announced in the country’s 2024 National Budget.

Singapore will focus on securing access to advanced chips that are crucial to AI development in addition to working with leading global companies to establish AI centers of excellence and boost innovation in this field.

The government hopes that the investment will help businesses in the city-state capitalize on the opportunities afforded through AI and other technological advancements. Further, the investments also aim to incentivize businesses to adopt AI solutions, encourage strategic partnerships and knowledge sharing, and prioritize AI skills across their workforce.

Where will the investments go?

Investment in talent

Over the next three years, the government will invest some S$20 million (US$15 million) in scholarships for Singaporean students planning to pursue a career in AI. This opportunity will be open for undergraduate, master’s, and PhD degrees. As such, the city-state plans to triple the AI workforce to over 15,000 over the next five years.

Moreover, part of the budget will be allocated to invite AI visiting professors to drive research and provide training opportunities to local students over the next five years.

Securing access to chips

An estimated S$500 million (US$375 million) will be used to acquire and lease the use of graphics processing units (GPUs) in addition to other computer chips from global suppliers. Recognizing that GPUs are vital, albeit costly, for the development of AI applications, it is crucial that Singapore enterprises can access high-performance computing infrastructure.

SME support

The government will support small and medium-sized enterprises in adopting AI through subsidies, consultations, and other services through the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s SMEs Go Digital program.

Further, the government is diligently outlining the application of AI across various sectors through comprehensive digitalization roadmaps for businesses navigating digital transformation. With plans tailored for 22 sectors, ranging from food services to logistics, the blueprint offers strategic guidance. SMEs can leverage a grant offering access to a curated selection of digital tools, with 20 percent boasting AI capabilities. Notably, over 3,000 SMEs embraced AI-driven tools from this roster in 2023.

Further, digitally adept enterprises seeking AI solutions can tap a novel initiative named the Generative AI X Digital Leaders. This initiative unites professionals from diverse tech companies to collaboratively craft cutting-edge AI tools.

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In conclusion, Singapore’s ambitious investment into artificial intelligence over the next five years, as outlined in its 2024 National Budget, signals a strategic commitment to fortifying its position as a global business and innovation hub. By focusing on key areas such as talent development, securing access to advanced chips, and supporting SMEs in AI adoption, the government aims to catalyze growth and innovation across various sectors.

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