Following last year’s successful premiere, Europe’s number one innovation conference DLD (Digital, Life, Design) returns to Singapore on October 22nd.
Diversity is the strength of the ASEAN states (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). The region has been recording high growth rates for years. The increasing economic importance of Southeast Asia and the ASEAN states' new focus on digitization are also of great interest to Burda. That's why DLD welcomed to the first DLD Singapore conference!
Newbies and positive chaos
A spontaneous questioning of DLD founder Steffi Czerny during her welcoming speech showed that more than half of the participants had never been to a DLD conference before. "Prepare yourselves for the fact that we are bringing positive chaos with us – which takes a little getting used to for Singapore and is actually very untypical for Germans", Czerny warned the participants with a wink. She is looking forward to bringing the unique spirit of DLD to the many new faces in Singapore because DLD is not a tech conference – the focus here is on interdisciplinary exchange. "Questions are always welcome," says Czerny.
Tech-focused and innovative
"Southeast Asia is a huge market because one third of the world's population lives in this region. The population here is above average young, which is why this part of the world is so interesting for many global players," Hildegard Wortmann, Head of Asia Pacfic at BMW, agreed the conference participants in the first keynote speech of the day. "In the past, we at BMW have looked after this region from Munich. Last year, we decided to open a new headquarters here to delve deeper into the culture and better understand society. So far this has paid off".
In Germany still a future trend, in Asia already an integral part of everyday life: Payment by smartphone. "Payment methods are an incredibly important criterion for being successful in this region," explained Matt Cooper from the e-learning platform Skillshare, in which Burda recently invested. "So far you need a credit card to be able to book our courses. This payment method simply doesn't work in this region and we are in the process of upgrading as quickly as possible," says Cooper to Burda CEO Martin Weiss, who moderated the panel.
When it comes to the future of our cities, the so-called "smart cities", technology plays a decisive role in shortening daily commute times, enabling a healthier lifestyle or promoting exchange with communities and neighborhoods through better connectivity. Despite all the discussions about technology, the focus here is always on people – that's what makes the topic so exciting all speakers of the "Smart Cities" panel agreed on. "When we talk about smart cities, it's not just about infrastructure, but also about applications," explained Marc Wagener of Lab Campus, the planned innovation campus at Munich Airport. "Politicians need to understand much better when laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation inhibit innovation. I hope that there will be much more in-depth discussions on this issue".
It’s all about fashion
Anyone strolling through the streets of Singapore knows that not only many banks and investment companies are based here, but also large international fashion labels and successful local brands. The last panel of the day therefore focused on why fashion is booming in Southeast Asia and why the region is becoming increasingly attractive for investors in the fashion sector. "Consumers in Southeast Asia are increasingly demanding alternatives to large, international labels such as Topshop, which is why the number of successful local brands has grown enormously in recent years," explained Rachel Lim of Love, Bonito – Asia's leading fashion label. This is a development that is particularly noticeable in the Southeast Asian region, Lim continued.
Networking, networking, networking
In typical DLD manner the most beautiful hotspots of the city were used for networking before and after the conference. Over cocktails and finger food in the unique setting of the private home of the investor couple Chris Wilson and Than Su Shan, the guests toasted the successful DLD conference day at the invitation of Burda's investment unit BurdaPrincipal Investments.