The ASEAN-China relationship was upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership during the ASEAN-China Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations on November 22.
In a recent interview with GDToday, Lim Chin Loon, Chairman of Guangdong Enterprise Association (Singapore) and Teo Eng Cheong, Chief Executive Officer of China-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city Investment & Development Co., Ltd., shared insights into their businesses in China, especially in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA).
Singaporean companies in the GBA can benefit from ‘three plans’
Lim Chin Loon, Chairman of Guangdong Enterprise Association (Singapore)
The Singaporean companies in Guangdong cover a wide range of business sectors. They face new opportunities and challenges in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area after the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Lim Chin Loon.
“The Covid-19 pandemic hit the tourism industry hard and affected Singaporean companies involved in related businesses such as airlines and hotels. On the same time, the price of shipping and raw materials also increased, which brought pressure to the SMEs involving in manufacturing and trading, especially those focus on the export business,” said Lim.
As for the latest trends, Lim Chin Loon said the e-commerce industry saw rapid growth in recent years and has changed people’s consumption habits especially under the pandemic. “As far as I know, Shopee, a Singapore-based company, provides Chinese companies with cross-border e-commerce services and helps their products go global. It has nearly 2000 staff in Shenzhen and is ready to expand to 5000 or 6000 staff in the next step.”
According to the latest statistics, the total amount of imports and exports between Singapore and Guangdong from January to September grew by 95.85 bn RMB at the rate of 4.8% in spite of the pandemic. And up to August, the investment from Singapore to Guangdong rose 40.95%, while Guangdong’s investment to Singapore increased by 251.57%, indicating large potential for bilateral trade and investment collaboration.
Lim said Singaporean companies are positive about the development of GBA in the long run. “The domestic market demand grows steadily in China, especially in the consumer good sector, which gives Singaporean companies lots of confidence.”
Lim Chin Loon considers the recent plans to develop Zhuhai’s Hengqin, Shenzhen’s Qianhai and Hong Kong’s ‘Northern Metropolis’ plan targets the major challenges and are expected to make the Greater Bay Area even more economically active in the upcoming decade. Companies in this area are able to benefit in the long term.
“There are more than 10 thousand Singaporeans living and working in Hong Kong. Many Singaporean businessmen invest in Chinese mainland through Hong Kong,” said Lin Zhenlun, “Based on the recent trend, Singaporean companies investing in GBA should have a more integrated mindset. To achieve stable growth, companies have to gain more insight into China’s development and market demand while making good use of their own strength and local resources.”
Cooperative urban projects highlighted in China-Singapore ties
Teo Eng Cheong, Chief Executive Officer of China-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city Investment & Development Co., Ltd.
China and Singapore have gained profound achievements through cooperation on urban development, and settled seven large-scale cooperative projects in cities including Suzhou, Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Jilin and Nanjing. The Chongqing Connectivity Initiative, Suzhou Industrial Park, China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City and Tianjin Eco-city are the four inter-governmental flagship projects between two countries.
Teo Eng Cheong, Chief Executive Officer of China-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city Investment & Development Co., Ltd., said each China-Singapore cooperative urban project is planned for different purposes based on the characteristics of the city and challenge it faces. He took the China-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city as an example, saying that, “project aims to transform a land of saline-alkali soil 40 kilometers away from the city center of Tianjin into a liveable area with a nice business environment.”
“The eco-city project gathers experts of both countries to jointly evaluate the local ecology and discuss urban planning. The project also adopted the green development experience from Singapore. For example, we enable residents to reach a park within a 5-minute walk,” said Teo Eng Cheong.
By October 2021, it is reported that the green area in China Singapore Tianjin Eco-City has reached 10.65 million square meters, nearly double compared with 5.5 million square meters in 2016.
He highlighted that some ASEAN countries hope to gain more insight into China’s methods to achieve high-quality development in a short time, especially in the field of science and high technology. They would like to learn from China.
“Industrial parks play an important role in the development of China and have been proved as an effective model,” said Teo Eng Cheong, “the model enables China to pilot new strategies and ideas for development. If the strategies are successful in the parks, they will be duplicated to other region. If not, they will be adjusted so that other regions will not be affected. This model works well considering the vast territory and huge population of China.”
Teo Eng Cheong believes the China-Singapore cooperation will be more diverse in the future. “Singapore and China have maintained close cooperation for many years because of our cultural links and friendly relations, which are unique. We hope that our successful cases could inspire other countries.”
Author: Hannah, Hefei
Graphic design: Mia
Editor: Keane, Jasmine, Jerry