Part 2

Singapore’s Business Ventures in China

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Part 2

Singapore's Business Ventures in China

Introduction

By Yap Pheng Hui

Singapore has played an important role in the course of China’s reform and opening up. International trade and foreign investment have been the twin growth drivers in the country’s economic development, and investment by Singapore companies has been growing rapidly since the 1990s. In fact, Singapore became China’s biggest source of foreign direct investment from 2013 to 2017.

This year marks a key milestone for Singapore and China as both countries commemorate the 30th anniversary of Diplomatic Relations. Over the years, I have led delegations of business leaders, including those within Business China’s network, on various visits to China. I have witnessed first-hand China’s rapid growth in the areas of ecological protection, domestic consumption, digitalisation, technological innovation and connectivity developments. I have also witnessed how both countries have been working closely together in various government-to-government projects in Suzhou, Tianjin, Chongqing and other key projects such as those in Guangzhou, Nanjing, Shenzhen that have helped further strengthen our bilateral economic cooperation.
These efforts have paid off. Today, Singapore is China’s largest foreign investor while China is Singapore’s largest trading partner for the 7th consecutive year. Bilateral trade also increased by 1.7% year-on-year to reach SGD 137 billion in 2019.
Building on these successes, I am confident that both Singapore and China will further deepen our close relationship in the years ahead.
Dr Koh Poh Koon

Senior Minister of State,
Ministry of Health

The immense potential of China’s market is a big draw for Singaporean investors, who have brought not just capital and management know-how, but also a wealth of international networks that has been a key factor in China’s economic ascent.

Singapore companies that have ventured into China include government-linked entities and listed companies with solid backing, as well as the more nimble small and medium-sized companies predominantly run by Singaporean Chinese entrepreneurs. These companies capitalise on their respective advantages to make headways in different fields ranging from real estate, tech, shipping, to food and beverage and others – partaking in China’s economic take-off and at the same time bringing the two countries closer together.

As exciting and varied as their experiences in China are, it is not difficult to spot the overarching theme. The massive and complex China market holds the most attractive opportunities, and also numerous unique challenges. Whether they are business owners or executives based in China, Singaporeans who have ventured to China all stress that embracing the local cultures and environments, humility, and the willingness to learn are essential factors in achieving success in China

China’s rapid economic growth continues to bring new opportunities and challenges to Singapore enterprises. Since the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed, cooperation between the enterprises of both countries has risen to another level. Beyond China’s sizeable market, Singapore companies now have the opportunity to partner Chinese counterparts in third-market ventures.

Building on the longstanding bilateral ties between Singapore and China, characterised by mutual respect and the willingness to learn from each other, cooperation between the enterprises of both countries will continue to progress from strength to strength.

An early explorer of China from Singapore

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How COVID-19 accelerated CapitaLand’s digitalisation drive

Interview with Lucas Loh, President and CEO of China, CapitaLand Group

Keppel Group in China: Still soaring after 30 years

Interview with Ben Lee, President of Keppel Land China

CDL cultivating and deepening its presence in China

Interview with Sherman Kwek, CDL’s Group Chief Executive Officer

China lessons guide ADERA’s expansion into South-east Asia

Interview with Dr. Marvin Tan, Co-Founder and Group Executive Director of ADERA Global

A case study of three Singapore companies in China