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CNBC Transcript: Vivian Balakrishnan, Foreign Minister of Affairs, Singapore

Following is the transcript of a CNBC interview with Vivian Balakrishnan, Foreign Minister of Affairs of Singapore. The interview was broadcast on CNBC on 27 April 2017 at 11:42AM SG/HK Time, during CNBC's "Hong Kong versus Singapore" theme week.

All references must be sourced to a "CNBC Interview".

Interviewed by Akiko Fujita, Correspondent, CNBC.

Vivian Balakrishnan: We are a city…a city state and for the first time in human history more than half of all human beings live in the city. So therefore, solutions that we generate or formulate…urban solutions may have relevance elsewhere. Second, we are a single layer of government. So we may not have invented the autonomous car, but in terms of speed to change rules and regulations, we can do so far more quickly than in many other places. Third, we have a government which is...half the cabinet here are engineers and people like me are surgeons, we are...we understand science. We get it. We understand technology, we're not afraid of it. We're prepared to improve, improvise, make mistakes, learn, change and to move on with it. So this is a place where if you've got an idea, you can deploy it here, test it. If it fails fail quickly start again. Try it. If it works and it works in Singapore a place where people are very demanding and have got very high expectations of services, chances are this will be a product or service which may have relevance elsewhere.

Akiko Fujita: Are there any other countries that you look to as an example of where you think Singapore should be?

Vivian: Globally, Silicon Valley is a unique and incredible place. There's no question that's the epicenter of the digital revolution. But having said that, I said that we are looking at a whole network of global nodes where such creativity, such invention, such improvisation and opportunities abound. So we look at that, you have to include places like Tokyo, London, New York. And Singapore seems to be just one of those nodes in a global network of creative cities.

Akiko: Do you see those players as competitors, especially in this region?

Vivian: I think in this new world you both compete and collaborate. Ideas are not valuable just because they are scarce. Ideas are valuable when they're shared, when you have new insights, when you create new products and services based on that open data, open source paradigm. Now in such a concept, the more you connect the more you share. The more you are able to look for novel insights and at the same time be practical and be focused on what makes a difference to people's daily lives. I think that's where the real gold mine is. This is different from the previous revolutions where value is derive from scarcity, where people are trying to create monopolies and walled gardens. I believe or I hope that this is the new age of sharing, of building bridges rather than walls, of equipping people, of giving people skills and tools and then encouraging people to start up new companies or to have a portfolio of jobs in a lifetime. I mean in the future I think most people are going to have two or three different jobs in the course of a lifetime. And we need to make sure that both our education system and our economy have that level of flexibility. That level of empowerment. And there's another dimension to this and that's about trust within societies. In Singapore, the three things we are looking for. Jobs, second, to improve the responsiveness and the level of services the government provides to citizens. And third the hardest thing is to build social capital and trust in the new digital age. We can do all these things then I think we've made...we would have made a contribution for the welfare of our people as well as hopefully something of value to the rest of the world. Our usual tagline is that we hope someone will come to Singapore look around critically and then go home and say I have seen the future and it works.