Technology giant IBM has announced plans to open a blockchain innovation centre in Singapore, in collaboration with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

The first projects will focus on blockchain-based solutions to improve efficiency of multi-party trade finance processes and transactions, and the research centre will also work with various stakeholders to develop products based on enterprise blockchain, cyber-security and cognitive computing technologies.

Other initiatives involve engaging with small and medium-sized enterprises to create new applications and grow new markets in finance and trade, as well as collaborating with PSA Singapore Terminal, the world’s largest container transhipment port, to connect emerging financial technologies with the physical world of global trade, finance and logistics.

“These are fields that we can add value to with our expertise as a hub port operator in Singapore and around the world. We believe new technologies such as blockchain have the potential to reinvent multi-party business transactions and that Singapore is the right innovation hub to carry out field trials of such technologies across a variety of uses,” says Tan Chong Meng, group CEO at PSA International.

The collaboration is expected to develop new business models and attract more global trade and finance to Singapore. It reinforces the city state’s reputation as a global innovation hub, particularly in the field for blockchain for trade finance, as the first bank-developed blockchain platform for trade finance was the product of a partnership between DBS, Standard Chartered and MAS.

“The financial sector is well placed to play a leading role in Singapore’s vision of being a smart nation. Given that technology is a key enabler of financial services, MAS is pleased to continue to work with companies like IBM to promote technology innovation in finance, and encourage the adoption of safe and efficient technology with the financial industry,” says Sopnendu Mohanty, MAS’ chief fintech officer.