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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   4 December 2010

Singapore eyes Chinese cities

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China's urbanisation will open up new opportunities for Singapore companies in the next 20 to 30 years, according to Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.

Mr. Goh spoke at the 40th anniversary dinner of the Singapore-China Business Association.

He said that China's infrastructural development and increasing appetite for healthcare and education services are potential growth areas for Singapore companies.

He also said companies may also tap on the growth potential of China's emerging second and third tier cities in the central and western regions.

"Singapore companies are well-positioned to ride on China's growth. We have built a strong supportive economic framework with China. Our companies are familiar with the operating environment. Our bilingual ability in English and Mandarin is certainly an advantage," he said.

Mr. Goh added that smaller enterprises should leverage on the network offered by trade associations to enter the Chinese market.

The Singapore China Business Association has been promoting bilateral links for 40 years and two years ago, it set up a youth wing targeted mainly at fresh graduates and young entrepreneurs.

The association's president, Professor Phua Kok Khoo, said half of the 50 youth members are China nationals.

"It's a good mix between Singaporeans and new immigrants. Then they can have the opportunity to discuss and to develop their entrepreneurial activities in China."

The youth wing is an example of how associations are facilitating market access for smaller companies.

Mr. Goh also encouraged enterprises to make use of bilateral free trade agreements to lower operating costs.

Trade and investment form the cornerstone of Singapore and China's diplomatic relationship that spans 20 years. China is now Singapore's third largest trading partner and Singapore is increasingly seen as a gateway to the region with over 3,000 Chinese firms choosing to set up shop here.

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