Singapore can play a key role in helping Chinese enterprises grow their businesses globally. Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew made this point on Monday during a trade conference.
A delegation from the Chinese province of Guangdong is in Singapore, seeking to deepen trade ties.
China became Singapore’s top trading partner last year, with bilateral trade exceeding US$91 billion. Almost a quarter of that came from trade between Singapore and Guangdong.
That same year, Singapore became China’s largest foreign investor, committing over US$7 billion in some 700 projects.
Guangdong is China’s richest province in terms of gross domestic product, and the first to hold a trade conference in Singapore since Chinese President Xi Jinping called for increased maritime and economic cooperation between China and ASEAN.
President Xi raised the idea of a 21st century Silk Road between the two sides last October, during his maiden trip to Southeast Asia.
Guangdong’s Party Secretary Hu Chunhua said: “The important task of leading this delegation to Singapore is a step taken towards realising the shared vision of Chinese and Singaporean leaders, to press on with the building of the 21st century maritime Silk Road. This can be achieved through boosting cooperation between Guangdong and Singapore, furthering win-win collaborations that will benefit the citizens of the two countries.”
Mr Hu met Singapore’s Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew earlier on Monday. Mr Lui is also the co-chairman of the Singapore-Guangdong Collaboration Council.
There are business councils between Singapore and six other Chinese provinces.
Guangdong is Singapore’s top trading partner, with bilateral trade at US$17.9 billion in 2013.
Speaking at the conference on Monday, Mr Lui said Singapore can also help Guangdong build world-class, liveable cities.
He elaborated: “The challenge here goes beyond just physical infrastructure. We need to build communities with social cohesion. Singapore has been through the same process, and indeed we are still going through that same process as we rejuvenate ageing urban districts, resettle residents, and balance economic growth while addressing social needs and environmental issues.”
At the conference, more than 10 industry partnerships were inked between Singapore and Chinese companies.
Some companies involved include Guangdong Zhenrong Energy Company, ceramic membranes maker Ceraflo, business park developer Ascendas, and CapitaLand.
CapitaLand is participating in the Datansha Island Urban Redevelopment project. Datansha is a 3.55 square kilometre island located in the western part of downtown Guangzhou.
There are also non-industry related collaborations, such as a joint research institute between the South China University of Technology, Nanyang Technological University, the Technological University of Munich, and the Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City Investment and Development Company.
The Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City Investment and Development Company, Knowledge City Administrative Committee, and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore also signed an agreement to jointly develop an intellectual property hub in the Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City.
Mr Lui said Singapore will be glad to partner Guangdong as it spearheads “China’s renewed efforts to engage the world through the 21st century maritime Silk Road”.
The idea of a maritime Silk Road evokes some of the routes taken by Chinese admiral Cheng Ho on his voyages in the 15th century.
Now, observers said because Cheng Ho was largely seen as a trade emissary, China wants to latch on to that idea and rebrand itself amid military and territorial tensions in the regional seas.
Source : Channel News Asia | April 21, 2014