Racheal Lee
Jun 22, 2011

Mixed response to Singapore's US$12.1m app development fund

SINGAPORE – The government has announced that it has set aside US$12.1 million (S$15 million) to fund the development of mobile apps for the retail, food and beverage (F&B) and tourism industries.

Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA)
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA)

The possibilities include a wireless payment system for restaurants or a mobile food and drinks menu, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore said. At least successful 30 applicants will be co-funded by the S$15 million, which has been put aside by the IDA, NTUC’s Employment and Employability, Spring Singapore and the Singapore Tourism Board.

Reaction to the announcement has been generally positive, with comments on Twitter praising the Singapore government for being forward thinking.

Shauna Li Roolvink, director of mobile apps developer Appio Labs, commented, "This is definitely good for the development of the retail and F&B sector particularly in relation to location based type services. As an example, Appio Labs has been appointed recently to develop a mobile app for Muslim diners to find Halal food in Singapore.”

Li Roolvink is also the principal consultant of BrandHub, a joint venture company in Appio Labs.

Wong Hong Ping, director and co-founder at 2359 Media, said the move would boost the whole ecosystem, as it will encourage more mobile usage, especially in the tourism and F&B industries.

Nevertheless, one major app developer said while everyone’s excited about the announcement, based on previous experience applying for such funds can be a bureaucratic nightmare.

“The paperwork is bound to be a massive headache,” he said, adding there are also concerns there might be some ‘fast-tracking’ of funds.

Tweeters in Malaysia have alluded to recent revelations that Tourism Malaysia spent RM1.8 million on Facebook, with some saying that money would have been better spent on app development, and others saying they hope the Singapore government doesn’t waste its money like they feel its Malaysia counterpart has done.
 

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