Grace Chng, senior correspondent of The Straits Times under SPH Group, joined us in a conversation to discuss the SingTel Group and its global footprint across three continents. Starting from the history of how the SingTel Group transformed from a government agency to a public listed enterprise, Grace offered a primer to understand the vision and mission of SingTel Group, the current and continuous evolving business structure, the executive team behind the company and how they have synergised with their regional subsidiaries and partners. Last but not least, Grace shared how SingTel has contributed significantly with their venture fund, Innov8 to the Singapore startup ecosystem from the Blk 71, which locates most Singapore startups to Blk 71 in San Francisco.
Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with time-stamps included):
- Grace Chng, Senior Correspondent, The Straits Times under SPH Group (@chnggrace, Facebook, LinkedIn, SPH)
- How did you get started? [1:00]
- What are the interesting career lessons you can share from your experience as a journalist, interviewing important business leaders from startups to MNCs? [1:53]
- Tribute to Andy Grove, “Only the Paranoid Survive”. [2:04]
- Currently, as the senior correspondent of Straits Time covering technology & startups, what are your areas of coverage? [3:05]
- The SingTel Group or Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Wikipedia, Bloomberg, SingTel Company Profile) [4:10]
- Introduction: Founded since 1879, IPO in 1992, mobile subscriber base of 600m customers within its own operations and regional associates across three continents: Asia, Africa and Australia, dual listed in SGX and ASX, Rev: S$17.2B and Profit S$3.8B in March 2015, Market Cap: S$60.9B dated 29 March 2016. Subsidiary of Temasek Holdings. [5:00]
- How did the SingTel evolve from a government agency to a multi-national corporation across the globe? [5:53]
- Ownership of NCS, Singapore’s largest system integrator [7:40]
- What are the long term goals of SingTel Group? What is their vision or mission? [8:12]
- Investor to HOOQ, a OTT video company which is a joint venture with Sony and Warner Brothers.
- What are the core revenues driving their businesses with reference to the three business groups: Consumer, Group Enterprise, Group Digital Life and their international expansion team?
- Who are the key executives or board members in SingTel Group? [11:18]
- Chua Sock Koong, Group CEO.
- Kuan Moon Yuen, CEO, Group Consumer.
- Bill Chang, CEO of Group Enterprise.
- Samba Natarajan, CEO of Digital Life.
- Allen Lew, CEO of Optus.
- Unlike some domestic telcos, SingTel has ownership in other telcos within the region, most notably with 100% ownership of Optus in Australia, 32.15% of Bharti Airtel, the largest carrier in India. In addition, they have invested in Telkomsel (largest in Indonesia), Maxis in Malaysia, AIS in Thailand and Globe in Philippines and many others which we may miss here. How do they synergise with these regional players in their respective markets? [16:01]
- Amobee in Digital Advertising [17:20]
- SingTel has been active in the startup ecosystem not just in Singapore but worldwide, through their VC arm, Innov8, what are the type of companies they have invested in? [18:53]
- SingTel has two funds – US$2B fund focused on acquisition of companies fitting their strategic objectives, and the second is a US$250M corporate venture fund, Innov8.
- Successful companies in Innov8 portfolio: Viki (acquired by Rakuten), Arista (IPO in NASDAQ)
- Early contributor to Singapore’s Blk 71 and now worked with NUS Enterprise to form Blk 71 in San Francisco.
- Where do you see the SingTel group evolving towards? [22:38]
Author’s disclosure: SingTel is a major investor to the SingPost Group which BL works in. The information on the podcast are publicly known and the focus of the podcast is to understand the SingTel Group, and all the opinions expressed are mainly of his own and does not represent any organisations he worked or invested in.
The show is hosted by Bernard Leong (@bleongcw) and are sponsored by Ideal Workspace (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) with their new Aspirus Desk on Indiegogo (Twitter, Facebook, Medium). Also check out Ideal Workspace’s new standing desk, Aspirus and sign up for their mailing list.