The 12th Singapore-Guangdong Collaboration Council (SGCC) was held on October 20, during which Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui and Singapore Health Minister Ong Ye Kung outlined major domains for closer economic ties between Guangdong and Singapore in the future.
2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of dialogue relations between China and ASEAN. Ma Xingrui stressed the importance of Guangdong-Singapore economic ties and said this was the fifth year for him to jointly hold the SGCC with Minister Ong Ye Kung. “It’s meaningful to witness the 65 cooperative agreements and MoUs that have been signed over the past five years.”
According to Governor Ma, the bilateral trade volume between Guangdong and Singapore was robust and increased 4.8 percent to RMB 95.85 bn from January to September this year in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic. The bilateral investment between two places has been surging as well. Investment from Singapore to Guangdong grew 40.95 percent while investment from Guangdong to Singapore rose 251.57 percent from January to August.
Ma Xingrui highlighted four major areas for future cooperation between Guangdong and Singapore. “As China launched plans to develop earlier in September, we highly recommended our Singaporean counterparts to seize the opportunities available in these two cooperation zones, especially to boost cooperation in the scopes of finance, bio-medicine, new material and talent training in Zhuhai’s Hengqin and in the fields of knowledge transfer, AI, smart city and social governance in Shenzhen’s Qianhai.
In addition, Ma Xinrui suggested that Singaporean companies could also take advantage of the two cooperative platforms, namely the China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City (CSGKC) and the Singapore-China (Shenzhen) Smart City Initiative, as well as the latest plan to develop the eastern, western and northern regions of the province. Guangdong will also promote bilateral trade and investment, especially in the field of digital economy.
Ong Ye Kung said Guangdong has been Singapore’s top provincial trading partner in China for 32 consecutive years and he highlighted eight key areas to deepen cooperation with Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
“We have been focusing on and gained great progress in cooperation of talent exchange, innovation, intellectual property and finance. For example, we have projects in the research and education sector, such as the China-Singapore International Joint Research Institute and the SingChin Academy in Guangzhou,” said Ong Ye Kung, “In the future, we could explore collaboration in smart manufacturing, health care, the environment, and green cards.”
In addition, Ong Ye Kung drew attention to Guangdong’s coordinated regional development strategy and suggested Singaporean enterprises could pay attention to developments outside the Pearl River Delta, particularly along the east and west wing of Guangdong coastal economic belt which includes the cities of Shantou and Jieyang in the east and Zhanjiang and Yangjiang in the west.
Being an annual meeting to push forward Singapore-Guangdong cooperation, SGCC focused on the GBA development, and invited representatives of both sides to share insights into the opportunities they found in the GBA, coordinated regional development and green development after the pandemic.
Ng San Tiong, President of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCCI) said Guangdong has been the first stop for most Singapore traders to invest in China. “I set up my own construction company in Guangdong long time ago in 2004 and witnessed the development of GBA. I feel honored that my company participated in the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and involved in projects of seven cities throughout Guangdong, including the ongoing Shenzhen-Zhongshan Express. We are also planning to settle our South China maintenance center in Guangdong.”
Ng San Tiong added that the SCCCI has a membership network comprising some 5,000 corporate members and has more than 160 trade association members, representing over 40,000 companies. “We keep encouraging member companies to seize the opportunities in Guangdong amidst the rapid development of GBA,” he said.
According to the SGCC, Singaporean and Guangdong companies inked 16 projects in such fields of trade, infrastructure, talent strategy and smart city over the passing year despite the pandemic.