Singapore boosts presence at CIIE

Business federation is leading a delegation of over 300 business representatives from 84 Singapore enterprises to the second China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

The Singapore Business Federation is leading a delegation of more than 300 senior business representatives from 84 enterprises for the second China International Import Expo.

In a 1,600-square-meter exhibition area, an increase of 12 percent from the inaugural event in 2018, Singaporean companies will have a prominent presence at the trade in services, food and agricultural and sci-tech life halls, according to Teo Siong Seng, the federation’s chairman.

Spanning the logistics and transportation, finance and banking, education, health care, food and beverage and high technology sectors, the delegation will showcase a wider range of innovative products and services to cater to the rising demand of the Chinese market. A third of this year’s CIIE participants are exhibitors at the first import expo.

Exhibitors include DBS Bank, GeTs Global, United Overseas Bank (UOB), Pacific International Lines (PIL), PSA International, Singapore Airlines, OSIM, Tai Hua Food Industries, City Satay and YCH Group.

China has been Singapore’s largest trading partner since 2013, while Singapore has been China’s largest foreign investor, according to a report by the Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In 2018, bilateral trade relations between Singapore and China deepened with the upgrade of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement which was concluded in November 2018, opening up new possibilities for cooperation in finance, e-commerce, technology, culture, legal and environment, enhancing bilateral trade and investment while jointly building up the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

Meanwhile, bilateral trade in goods reached S$135 billion (US$97.8 billion) last year. Singapore has also become China's second-largest foreign investment destination as the country’s non-financial direct investment in Singapore grew by 11 percent in 2018, totaling up to US$3.55 billion, according to data from China's State Council Information Office.

"The first CIIE saw successful outcomes for many of our companies with the signing of 15 MOUs, valued at more than S$152 million," Teo said. "This year, I’m heartened to see even more Singaporean companies showcase their innovative products and services and deepen their network and collaboration with China and the world."

Singaporean health-care company OSIM hopes to expand its footprint in China. "OSIM first set foot in China in 1993, opening its first store in Beijing. OSIM is looking forward to participating in CIIE 2019 as a part of its plan to expand its brand presence beyond China’s first-tier and second-tier cities," said Mindy Wang, first deputy CEO of OSIM.

First-time exhibitor Sunny Koh, managing director of Chinatown Food Corporation Pte Ltd, said: "China s a big market for global food products and I hope our participation in CIIE 2019 will strengthen our brand and distribution networks. We also hope to secure new distributors or wholesalers in provinces where we currently do not have presence."

United Overseas Bank, which participated last year, is looking forward to another successful event. "This is the second year that UOB has participated in the CIIE which is an important forum for making business connections and deepening relationships," said Peter Foo, president and chief executive officer of UOB (China). "Last year, UOB launched our China headquarters building while this year, we will showcase our connectivity, cross-border banking services and solutions and fintech ecosystem partnerships for companies, institutions and high net-worth individuals."

Teo said: ”With their commitment to high-quality standards, Singaporean companies with their strong branding are well positioned to introduce differentiated products and services to China's huge and growing domestic market. 

"CIIE is a showcase of Singapore not just to China, but the world. We also welcome Chinese companies to tap Singapore’s connections and familiarity with Southeast Asia to expand their operations in the region.”

The Singapore federation will continue to collaborate with the Bank of China’s Singapore branch to organize an exclusive business-matching event as a platform for Singaporean and Chinese enterprises to foster dialogue and partnerships throughout the event. 

On November 6, the federation will host a dialogue session with Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, along with business pitching and networking sessions.

“As the sole financial service partner of SBF, Bank of China Singapore branch looks forward to actively engaging Singapore companies in the business-matching sessions with Chinese enterprises. With our comprehensive financial service solution, we hope to bring together companies from both sides to engage in multiple one-to-one negotiations and explore business opportunities," said Hu Xinquan, deputy general manager of the Singapore branch.

The federation will also launch a mini program on WeChat to give Chinese companies an easier way to interact and network with the Singapore delegation.

High-level Singaporean government officials will also attend CIIE, highlighting the country’s commitment to building bilateral relations, boosting collaboration in the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as the critical importance of CIIE.

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