Thought leaders, industry experts, and changemakers from Singapore and beyond come together in this edition of Portfolio Forecast to answer the burning question: As we navigate economic uncertainty, inflation, supply chain disruptions, and geopolitical issues, what, then, is the silver lining for 2023?
ADRIAN CHNG, Founder and CEO, Fintonia Group
Licensed Digital Assets Fund Manager
"Trust was shaken with the Luna/Terra crash, Celsius and 3AC implosion, and most recently the FTX debacle. This revealed bad practices, such as comingling of client’s funds and poor risk management. Greater investor education is important and working with licensed regulated entities is one area we believe can improve industry outcomes.
Digital Assets and crypto is considered a fairly new asset class by traditional standards and has largely been unregulated. We see regulators getting more active in this asset class and this will bring great transparency and order to the industry. With that, we will see a lot more institutions investing in the space which is a good thing for the ecosystem. With the innovation of the crypto products (web3, metaverse) coupled with the scale of institution investment, there is huge potential for all stakeholders and investors alike."
PAUL BROADBENT, CEO, Proof & Company
"As a distributor of premium craft spirits from all over the world, the disruption to global shipping has wreaked havoc to our business. It forced us to look at efficiencies in all areas of our procurement function and as a result, we have seen operational and business transformation.
The liquor industry continues to prove resilient in the face of global economic events. But more so are the incredible people that work in this industry. Perhaps it’s the hospitality mentality of late nights and hard work to deliver quality experiences, that many ex-hospitality turned corporate leaders are driving forward, bringing a ‘powering through adversity’ (not just late nights) ethos. We’ve seen organizations across the globe provide flexible working conditions that, prior to the pandemic, would have been unthinkable for many. Trust has grown in companies with great leadership and strong cultures of clear purpose. This means great things for the people who day in day out bring the magic to our industry!"
JASON PARKE, General Manager, Deliveroo Singapore
Technology / F&B
"With rising costs taking headlines, we are grateful to be able to work with our partners to provide consumers with attractive food options and deals. Additionally, we continue to invest in various initiatives supporting our stakeholders and philanthropies such as Food From the Heart. Food delivery has become an integral part of many people's lives with more than 60% of those recently surveyed citing the use of food delivery more regularly now compared to pre-pandemic. We look forward to continuing to support consumers, restaurants, and riders while being a driving force for good across Singapore.
The amazing thing about Deliveroo is the ability to impact so many people’s lives, whether it’s keeping customers fed, creating accretive revenue streams for our restaurant and grocery partners, or providing riders with access to earning opportunities, flexible work which fits around their schedules. One of the heartening things I have seen over the last couple of years is how our team at Deliveroo Singapore has come together in challenging and constantly changing conditions to continue to deliver on these promises across all three sides of our marketplace. The resilience the team showed through snap lockdowns, remote work, easing of restrictions and now, the pressures of inflation, has been nothing short of extraordinary."
VICKY HWANG, Founder and CEO, Chyau Fwu Wine & Spirits
Hospitality / F&B
"The greatest hurdle for us in 2022 has been a massive labor shortage in the hospitality industry, which has been a global phenomenon acutely present in Singapore as well. To respond, we’ve recalibrated our benefits package to focus on retaining our existing team and encourage longevity with new hires, with offerings such as work anniversary education funds and bonuses.
The silver lining for 2023 would have to be the rebound of travel and the global tourism industry. 2023 will return to a time where people can finally travel freely once again, and they will do so with gusto. Domestically, this means our industry will be able to welcome tourists back through our doors with open arms and Singapore can once again resume its position as one of the greatest places in the world to visit for eating and drinking.
On the flip side, it also means that those in our industry will be able to travel out into the world once again to connect with great venues and be inspired by new experiences and perspectives from abroad. There will be more opportunities to share, collaborate, learn, and bring exciting new ideas and initiatives overseas and back home."
JANICE WONG, Chef-Owner and Founder, 2am:dessertbar and Janice Wong Singapore
"The disruption to operations and logistics brought on by China’s continuing state of lockdown was our largest challenge. The overall costs went up as a result, and our items were delivered considerably later than planned.
The bright side of this circumstance is that it inspired us to look for alternate sources, which resulted in longer-term cost savings. As a confectionery company with several products and distribution channels, we never stop thinking about cutting-edge ideas and being inspired. The team’s unrelenting will to create is comparable to our approach to problem-solving. “Your world is your imagination, no one can take that imagination away from you and it is your best asset” is a quote I live by. It has inspired my team to never stop learning every day."
COLLIN CHEONG, Corporate Development Director, Coinhako
"Paradigm shifts in the macro environment have posed a challenge for crypto firms given growth and adoption had primarily been driven by the retail sector pre-2022. In anticipation of the next phase of growth, Coinhako has since diversified its service offerings to also address the needs of institutional and private clients.
The blockchain and crypto community have demonstrated time and again that it is a resilient community. Typically, an asset class with a large drawdown will scare investors and participants away. However, notwithstanding global headwinds on the horizon, Coinhako has observed that the pace at which family offices and other large reputable institutions are looking to get involved in this space has been gaining considerable momentum.
Given these encouraging trends, we should not be quick to downgrade the transformative economic potential of crypto-related innovations with the recent developments of the space nor its price action. As this nascent industry matures and global regulations continue to be polished, I am optimistic that we will shortly see an environment where the innovation and use-cases of an efficient digital asset ecosystem can be harnessed to optimize the current financial markets whilst eliminating much of the concerns faced by market participants today."
SOJUNG LEE, President APAC, TeamViewer
"The rapid digitalization brought about by the pandemic resulted in the shortage of skills and knowledge gap in conjunction with emerging trends. We responded by ensuring that we provide customers with ample support, so that they are able to quickly adapt and maximize remote connectivity solutions needed in the current business environment.
Due to the limitations brought about by the pandemic, having seamless business operations has become a challenge to some companies that had to adapt to movement restrictions while being expected to deliver the same amount and quality of work for their customers. Onboarding new employees also became a challenge.
While this caused some operational disruptions, we found out that more and more companies from various industrial verticals are seeing augmented reality and the industrial metaverse as an enabler for increased productivity among their frontline workers and a significant contributor in the increase of their overall operational efficiency. As we continue to recover from the effects of the pandemic, I’m optimistic that more organizations will see the importance that the industrial metaverse plays in improving their productivity."
JASON YAP, Vice President, Singapore and Southeast Asia, Flokk
"The rapid and substantial increase of raw material prices resulted in pressures on our profitability. To counter, we are both engaged with suppliers to control impact and actively manage our pricing in the market to protect margins.
For the furniture industry, we know that demand does not disappear, it is rather delayed both for new investments and refurbishing projects. Serious players, both with regard to product quality and corporate financial solidity, will get through the challenges ahead and take part in the rebound when the downturn ends."
ALEX CHAN, Head of Marketing, Geneco
"The continuation of the volatile energy market has dampened the climate change narrative, which is already a challenging topic to pique the interest of everyday Singaporeans. Yet, Geneco has successfully pressed on to spotlight its green narrative by creating conversations that resonate, amplifying the impact of our initiatives, and engaging with our audience in meaningful ways.
Building a green nation is a collective effort and it is reassuring that 80 per cent of Singaporeans care about the environment. This is the first crucial step that will translate a level of green consciousness into purposeful actions. Together with the multi-agency Singapore Green Plan 2030, this nationwide focus with tangible goals will further guide and accelerate the country’s journey toward a sustainable future across the different sectors, including energy. As Singapore’s No.1 residential electricity retailer with a brand purpose to ‘Power The Change’, we are motivated more than ever to align ourselves towards this vision and beyond."
BENJAMIN HARRIS, Founder and CEO, watchTowr
"In 2022, with an increasingly complex geopolitical environment combined with an ever-digitized world, we've seen a huge increase in ransomware attacks – with banking alone seeing attacks increase by over 250 per cent. The cyber-security industry has rapidly supported enterprises to build cyber resilience to this wave of well-resourced, financially motivated cyber-crime.
As we enter 2023, we are well aware in the cyber-security industry that these aggressive, persistent attacks are unlikely to be subdued in the short term – especially as we head into uncertainty around the economy, a point that historically correlated to an uptick in cybercrime. But we enter 2023 with real change – governments around the world are taking increasingly strong stances on cyber-security; coordinating to defend private industries from the impact of cyber-attack; imposing well-needed controls designed to protect critical infrastructure; and announcing significant efforts to tackle sophisticated cyber-crime, data-theft and ransomware gangs with measures unseen before. While ransomware and cyber-crime will continue to be a major challenge globally well into 2023 and likely beyond, it is fantastic to see a concerted, coordinated effort from governments to support private industries and more importantly – to defend the general public who are the ultimate victims of the prolific data-theft taking place."