MOM clarifies stance on free mobile app development amidst criticism

The Ministry of Manpower has issued a statement in response to criticisms over a call for partners, to develop a mobile application targeted at foreign workers in Singapore. The tender was launched January this year but recently came to attention in the advertising and marketing industry.

A post by GOODSTUPH founder Pat Law on social media, sparked criticism on a clause found in the “Funding and pricing” section. Some commented that they would like to see lesser of such incidents. Law’s post garnered 277 shares and 120 reactions on Facebook at the point of writing. Mostly, the respondents took issue with the clause, which said:

All funding necessary for the mobile application will be borne by the partner.

Other requirements for the partnership include giving free access to MOM content to users.  Here’s what the conversation was like on social media:

In a statement to Marketing, a MOM spokesperson explained that the ministry had opted for a collaborative model to achieve “win-win outcomes”. Through the process, the spokesperson added that MOM will provide the app developer with insights from its usability study and design-research findings based on a prototype app.  It would also allow the use of MOM content and provide support to market the app to the FW community to the foreign worker community through its outreach programmes.

“Partners would have full flexibility to continue to provide a suite of other services, including retail services, advertorials and promotions, that can be monetised. In addition, the rights, as well as foreground and background IP of the mobile app, continue to be owned by the partners, not by MOM,” the spokesperson said.

Here is MOM’s statement in full:

Two partners for the application have already signed on

Since its call for partners in January, MOM confirmed to Marketing that it has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with two partners in June 2017 who wish to develop the mobile apps. These partners are Aptiv8 and Genytek, IT solution and technology companies.

“We understand that the mobile apps will be ready by the end of the year. The apps will be named by the two partners who are the owners of the app. These are not exclusive partnership arrangements and we would welcome any other interested parties to contact MOM,” the MOM spokesperson said.

“When MOM called for partners to develop a mobile app for foreign workers, we immediately saw that our “FWmyApp” blueprint strongly synergises with MOM’s objectives. We are glad to partner MOM to develop a mobile app,” Roland Low, chief operating officer, Aptiv8, said.

“We are happy to work with MOM to develop this app. As developers, we are always coming up with new products. It is similar to the provision of webmail services that are available for free. We could do it ourselves, but we see great value in partnering MOM to develop this app for workers. The “MOM brand” lends us the credibility needed to produce a good app that workers will want to use,” David Leong, director, GenyTek, said.


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