Disruption in Singapore: Is your industry next?

What industry are you in and what disruptors are you wary of? What steps have you taken to ensure you continue to innovate and stay competitive?

Disruption was a strong focus of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech for 2016, his first since SG50.

Sorry to disappoint, but PM Lee had not been talking about the SMRT disruptions. But rather, the disruptive innovators upsetting the traditional Singapore markets with a new service or product.

key players in taxi industry
key players in taxi industry

PM Lee believes in embracing change:

“New models are coming thick and fast, and we are having to adjust and to keep up because of technology and globalisation.”

Despite the dismay of existing taxi drivers, one must admit that the entrance of disruptors such as Uber and Grab has resulted in better, faster and more customer-orientated taxi services.

Also Read: Level playing field, consumer protection to be the center of upcoming fintech industry guideline: Indonesia’s OJK

Is technological disruption exclusive to the public transportation industry? We outline the other industries that are being disrupted:


ShopBack Team
ShopBack Team

Once the go-to for all your shopping needs, malls have experienced a decrease in sales of late, with the new customer mindset of “look, see, go home to buy”.

In February, the retail industry shrank by 3.2 per cent; while e-commerce continues to grow and is expected to be worth US$5.4 billion by 2025 in a joint report by Temasek and Google on eCommerce.

Also Read: Why brick and mortar shops are here to stay

Consumer prices in Singapore has fallen for 21 consecutive months up to July this year, with a drop of 0.7 per cent.

Key Singaporean disruptors include RedMart, Carousell and ShopBack.

Food & Beverage (F & B)


VendCafe at Sengkang
VendCafe at Sengkang

Of late, neighbourhood coffee shops in Sengkang have been dismayed by the entrance of “Chef-in-Box”. Brought in by JR Food Group, VendCafe is a first-ever vending machine cafe service serving hot meals and drinks in Sengkang.

Online food delivery services such as Foodpanda, Deliveroo and UberEats have also delivered food right at your doorstep.


One of the hotter buzzwords of 2015, Fintech has been making waves among venture capital funds and angels. Investment in Fintech companies has reached an all-time high with US$8.2 billion invested in the second quarter of 2016, double that invested in Q1 2016.

FinTech Roadshow
FinTech Roadshow

Hailed as the solution to the cracks of the traditional banking system, Fintech has been well developed in the verticals of Payments, Blockchain and Personal Wealth Management.

73 per cent of traditional financial service organisations believe that part of their business is at risk of being lost to standalone Fintech companies.

Also Read: There is a lot of hype around fintech, but also a lot of bullshit: Life.SREDA’s Vladislav Solodkiy

Singapore banks have also worked with accelerator operators such as Nest.vc to provide mentorship and support through the DBS HotSpot and OCBC Open Vault accelerator programmes.

Key Singaporean disruptors include InfoTrie, CoAssets, FastaCash, TradeHero, CoinPip and InvoiceInterchange.


The value of legal services has grown between 2008 and 2013 by 71.5 per cent with a compounded growth rate of seven percent over the past six years.

A June 2016 Deloitte paper found that consumers are demanding greater transparency and fixed or capped fees for legal services, as well as better, more relevant technologies to be used. More than half surveyed are willing to purchase legal services from a non-traditional law firm.

Dragon Law

Dragon Law unique legal document builder
Dragon Law unique legal document builder

Global research study showed that 52 per cent believe that technology will be used for in-house legal tasks in the next five years – and online legal self-service tool Dragon Law is doing just that.

The startup offers document builder technology which allows business owners to draft and share day-to-day legal contracts and agreement quickly and efficiently over the cloud. In other words: paperless.

Dragon Law aims to bypass the hassle and bureaucracy of creating legal documents.

What industry are you in and what disruptors are you wary of? What steps have you taken to ensure you continue to innovate and stay competitive? Let us know in the comments section below!

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