Pacts inked to boost eco-city infrastructure, services

Mr Wong (far left) meeting Tianjin Mayor Wang Dongfeng yesterday in Beijing. They witnessed the signing ceremony for four MOUs and a strategic framework agreement to jointly improve Tianjin Eco-City.
Mr Wong (left) meeting Tianjin Mayor Wang Dongfeng yesterday in Beijing. They witnessed the signing ceremony for four MOUs and a strategic framework agreement to jointly improve Tianjin Eco-City.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

BEIJING • Singapore and China yesterday signed five pacts to cooperate on improving the infrastructure and services in Tianjin Eco-City.

These agreements cover areas such as water resources management, digital media, healthcare, research and development as well as the implementation of a "smart city" masterplan.

The government-led eco-city project - referring to a 30 sq km green township in the north-eastern port city - broke ground in 2008. Before it was developed, the site was a mix of saltpans, barren land and a large wastewater pond.

The two governments are collaborating to develop it into an environmentally friendly and resource-efficient city that can be used as a model for sustainable development in other Chinese cities.

  • CHONGQING CONNECTIVITY INITIATIVE

    • Launched in November 2015, it is Singapore's third and latest joint project with China, after the Suzhou Industrial Park and Tianjin Eco-city.

    • Located in the south-western municipality of Chongqing, it aims to help drive growth in China's less-developed western region by improving the city's transport and services links to the region and beyond.

    • There are four areas of focus: financial services, aviation, transport and logistics, and information and communications technology.

    • Last year, more than US$6 billion (S$8.4 billion) worth of cross-border financing deals were agreed and completed.


    TIANJIN ECO-CITY

    • Singapore's second joint project with China was started in 2008.

    • Located in the north-eastern port city, it is a 30 sq km green township that could be used as a model for sustainable development in other cities in China.

    • It now has more than 70,000 residents and 4,500 registered companies with a total registered capital of 200 billion yuan (S$40.9 billion). The city was planned for 350,000 residents.

Tianjin Eco-City now has more than 70,000 residents and 4,500 registered companies with a total registered capital of 200 billion yuan (S$40.9 billion).

Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong and Tianjin Mayor Wang Dongfeng witnessed the signing ceremony for four memoranda of understanding (MOUs) and a strategic framework agreement at a hotel in Beijing yesterday evening.

"Under these new MOUs, Singapore agencies such as PUB, SingHealth and the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise can share their expertise with Chinese officials to improve the eco-city's infrastructure and services," said Mr Wong.

Singapore agencies can explore industry development opportunities in water management and smart-city planning in China through this cooperation, he said.

Research organisations from Singapore universities can also gain access to research and development as well as commercialisation opportunities in the country via the eco-city, he added.

Associate Professor Chua Yeow Leng from SingHealth told The Straits Times that its MOU with the eco-city will help improve the training and development of healthcare professionals.

SingHealth will work closely with Tianjin Eco-City to provide a range of training programmes, symposiums and seminars, which will be held in Tianjin as well as Singapore in the next three to five years, said Prof Chua, who is the group director of the International Collaboration Office.

"The professional exchange will enable healthcare professionals from Tianjin and Singapore to learn from one another and share best practices aimed at improving patient care and the healthcare delivery systems," he added.

"More importantly, it will enhance both countries' capabilities to train strong pipelines of healthcare professionals to meet current and future needs."

Chong Koh Ping

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2017, with the headline 'Pacts inked to boost eco-city infrastructure, services'. Print Edition | Subscribe