Digital payment platform PayPal has partnered with government agencies to launch an Innovation Lab in Singapore with the aim of developing the financial technologies sector.

The PayPal Innovation Lab is an initiative which comprises a number of different initiatives. Under this, it will help small – and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) resort to digital and mobile commerce. SMEs, which contribute to half of Singapore’s GDP, will learn to integrate e-commerce and digital payments into their businesses.

PayPal is now working with two solutions providers to equip over 200 food-and-beverage companies with in-store digital payment capabilities by next year.

One year ago, we met with government agencies, industry association, entrepreneurs and SMEs and we said, ‘what can we do to do more?’ We put together our heads and the result of one year of hard work is the result of what you are going to see today.

said Dr Rohan Mahadevan, CEO for PayPal Pte. Ltd. and Senior Vice President for PayPal Asia Pacific. He further said,

It’s (Singapore) a perfect melting-pot for ideas and innovation – given the strong support from the government, its massive talent pool backed by a world-class educational system, vibrant startup ecosystem, and diverse merchant profiles.

The PayPal program also includes a nine-month fintech startup incubation project. It will include mentorship by PayPal’s executives and networking opportunities for startups. Startups incubating there enjoy networking opportunities through the companies own network and venture capital (VC) connections. It currently hosts three fintech startups in PayPal Singapore’s Technology Center namely, OnePay, and InvoiceInterchange.

The importance of the digital economy can be measured not just by its ubiquity but by its profound impact on all sectors of the economy.

said S. Iswaran, minister for trade and industry, at PayPal Innovation Lab’s official launch.

A McKinsey report estimated that the adoption of disruptive technologies including mobile internet and cloud technology in Southeast Asia could have an annual economic impact of $625 billion by 2030.

It will no longer suffice to be at the confluence of trade routes and the accompanying flow of goods and services; Singapore must seek to play an active role in creating solutions for the digital world.

said Iswaran.

PayPal also plans to work with universities over the next few years on fintech research such as data mining, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and provide resources for the next generation of fintech talent. It will rope in with Masters and PHD students from National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University  and Singapore Management University.

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