Delegation from IE Singapore, Singapore Business Federation head to Turkey

SINGAPORE - The International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and Singapore Business Federation (SBF), together with 20 companies, set off for Turkey on Monday to explore business opportunities there.

About half of the delegation had arrived earlier in Georgia on Oct 8 for a first-hand understanding of market dynamics and business prospects in the country.

The mission to the two countries was held in conjunction with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's official visit to Turkey.

In a media release, IE said that both Georgia and Turkey hold "long-term growth prospects" for Singapore companies, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs). IE is the Government agency responsible for driving Singapore's external economy.

It also noted that amid global volatilities, Turkey's economy grew steadily at 4 per cent last year, faster than the global growth rate of 3 per cent.

"With an established manufacturing base, vast infrastructure needs, strategic location as well as a young and rapidly-growing population, Turkey offers vast investment opportunities for Singapore companies," said IE, pointing to consumer electronics, medtech and infrastructure as key sectors Singapore players can participate in.

The consumer electronics market in Turkey, for instance, increased 10 per cent to reach US$12.4 billion last year, with total spending forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.7 per cent from this year to 2018.

Singapore SMEs such as Bluetree, Trek 2000 and XMI have already tapped on the sectoral growth and "made headway in the market", said IE, adding that they have partnered Turkish distributors to sell their products in key retail outlets or shopping malls.

SBF chairman Teo Siong Seng noted that more Singapore businesses from diverse sectors have been exploring opportunities in new emerging markets" - Turkey being one of them.

"Turkey's development needs are areas that our companies, including SMEs, have the expertise to contribute to," added Mr Satvinder Singh, IE's assistant chief executive.

"Turkey can also serve as a gateway for Singapore companies keen to venture into regional European or Central Asian economies given its strategic location."

To further drive further business collaboration with Turkey, IE has appointed Mr I.brahim Süha Güçsav, chief executive of conglomerate Akfen Holding, as Honorary Business Representative for Turkey with effect from this month. Mr Süha Güçsav will act as "an advisor to help bridge the gap between companies of both countries", said IE.

The 20 Singapore companies in the delegation span a wide range of sectors, including consumer, chemicals and infrastructure. They will be in Turkey until Wednesday.

At the end of 2012, Singapore had $289 million worth of direct investments in Turkey. Bilateral trade between the two countries stood at $1.4 billion last year.