Published 14 February 2019

Singapore’s data bar

The Singapore economic success story is well known: a resource-poor, tiny city state transitions to a first-world economy in the space of a generation. It continues to be a model and source of inspiration for ambitious nation builders worldwide, from Abu Dhabi to Rwanda. Key to Singapore’s success has been a knack for being ahead of the curve: it pre-empted the liberalisation of the global financial system to become a vital cog in the world economy. Now, it is seeking to do the same in the digital economy. While other countries in the ASEAN region worry multinationals by flirting with data localisation rules, Singapore has thrown open the doors, taking a typically focused approach to developing its digital economy: it has introduced measures to encourage companies to establish their data centres in the country and launched Smart Nation, an initiative that looks to digitalise the way the city state is run.

There is a growing list of legal advisers to counsel companies wanting to take advantage of this openness. Local heavyweights Drew & Napier, Allen & Gledhill, WongPartnership and Rajah & Tann are go-to names, but there are also a handful of international and local firm tie-ups of note, including Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow, Pinsent Masons MPillay and OC Queen Street.


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WongPartnership’s data practice, helmed by Chung Nian Lam, is part of the firm’s TMT group.

Rajah & Tann

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Rajesh Sreenivasan and Steve Tan are respectively the head and deputy head of Singapore-headquartered Rajah & Tann’s TMT department.

OC Queen Street

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OC Queen Street is the Singaporean branch of Osborne Clarke.

Drew & Napier

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Chong Kin Lim leads a data protection practice with two other partners in Drew & Napier’s TMT department.

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow

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Ken Chia and Anne Petterd are Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow’s data practice heads in Singapore, leading a team of five other principals and two associates.

Allen & Gledhill

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Nine partners focus on data-related matters at Allen & Gledhill.

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