Australia, Singapore sign $US29.2 million IT deal

Australia and Singapore will jointly work on 10 IT initiatives valued at $US29.2 million following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) yesterday.

The initiatives include upgrading physical communications links, encouraging trade and investment in information and communications, coordinating electronic commerce policies, promoting joint research and development, and exchanging information on the year 2000 issue.

The Australia-Singapore Information Technology Council has been formed to oversee the cooperation under the MOU and identify new areas where the countries can work together. It will be co-chaired by the chief executive of the National Computer Board (NCB) in Singapore and the Secretary of the Australian Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts.

Information on the Y2K issue will be exchanged between Australia's Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and Singapore's NCB.

As for e-commerce, one initiative will see a tie-up between companies SilkRoute Ventures of Singapore and Sydney, Australia-based Tradehub.

SilkRoute Ventures founding chairman Wong Toon King said SilkRoute was looking to expand to Australia the e-commerce network of its Asia Manufacturing Online (AMO) subsidiary which offers business-to-business e-commerce services.

In turn, SilkRoute would help Tradehub expand to Asia through AMO's e-commerce network, which currently spans Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Wong said. SilkRoute would supply technology on online payment and procurement systems to Tradehub, he said.

Australia and Singapore will also collaborate in developing and offering interactive marketing services through TV, radio and the Internet in the region, with Singapore as the headquarters.

Australian software company Adacel Technologies and Kent Ridge Digital Labs of Singapore have agreed to form a Singapore-based joint venture that will provide Asian multilingual translation services.

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