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The Singapore government and business community have started taking active interest in nanotechnology. We were invited to speak at the regular breakfast seminar by American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore and at the inaugural Singapore Nanotech Round Table 2009 by the International Enterprise (IE) Singapore to provide overview of nanotechnology commercialization state of development and regional activities. We found that the American business community are interested in nanotech business opportunities in Singapore and Asia, while the Singapore government has provided attractive incentives to fund Singapore based companies for international business development and expansion.

December 24th, 2009

Promoting Nanotechnology Awareness in Singapore's Business Community and Funding Agencies

In effort of raising public awareness and continual learning on Nanotechnology, the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore organized nanotechnology-related events separately on the same day, 24th November 2009. Speaking on both events was Dr Lerwen Liu, the Managing Director of NanoGlobe Pte Ltd, a consulting company specializing on nanotechnology.

A breakfast talk to start the day was organized by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Singapore, featuring Dr Lerwen Liu who provided an overview of nanotechnology applications to improve human's quality of life as well as an overview of nanotechnology activities in Asia Pacific. A surprising turn out of about 30 people early morning at 8am, mostly were the AmCham members, filled up the seminar room rather quickly. The topics that caught much of attention from the audience were nanotechnology in health and environment. Curiosity and interest were expressed for nanobubbles technology for water treatment especially on its potential opportunity as membrane replacement and the cleaning capability (i.e. amount of water it can treat within certain period).

Curiosity and concerns were also expressed for safety aspect of nanoparticles. Mr Lloyd Soong in the audience, the CEO of Pasture Pharma, addressed this concern by citing his company's product, nanoparticles-based FDA approved mask recommended for H1N1. This mask incorporates many nanoelements including silver to effectively neutralize micro-organisms on both outside and inside of the mask surface. The qualification test of the mask showed that no allergy, drug resistance and microbes' resistance were evident. It is known that currently there are not yet established universal standards and regulations on nanotoxicity, however Dr Liu highlighted that Asia-Nano Forum (ANF), a network organization promoting excellence in research, development and the economic uptake of nanotechnology within the Asian region, is in the process of coordinating the EHS (Environment, Health, and Safety) database and regional cooperation.

Moving on to the second part of the day, IE Singapore organized the very first Singapore Nanotechnology Round Table 2009 to gather local nanotech companies in discussing how IE Singapore can support the growth and international business development of the companies. Dr Liu delivered an overview of nanotechnology applications however with more emphasis on commercialization efforts of companies worldwide. A few of cited companies applying nanotechnology in their manufacturing processes and products were Samsung, CIMA Nanotech, Zyvex Performance Materials, Tera Barrier Films, and NanoMaterials Technology. In addition, IE Singapore provided some details funding schemes that support Singapore based companies, especially in terms of tax incentives and global expansion activities, for example up to 70% funding support for staff training in offshore office.

We learned from these two events that the American business and industry community in Singapore are interested in finding out nanotechnology business opportunities for them. They are also apparently concerned about safety and standards. At the same time, the Singapore government has identified nanotechnology as one of their priorities and provided attractive funding schemes for international business development and expansion of the Singapore based companies.

Fig. 1. Dr Liu speaking about nanotechnology development and activities at the breakfast talk in American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore

Fig. 2. Dr Liu introduced worldwide industry development of nanotechnology at IE Singapore Nanotech Round Table 2009

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