Singapore delegation to visit Chongqing

A delegation of executives from 29 companies jets off today to explore business opportunities in the Chinese city of Chongqing in conjunction with an official visit by Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office.

It is the largest Singapore business delegation to visit the municipality since the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative (CCI) was launched last November, said the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and IE Singapore, the bodies organising the trip.

The CCI is the third Singapore-China government-led project, and is focused on western China.

Among other objectives, the initiative is aimed at enhancing "connectivity in the areas of finance, aviation, transport and logistics, and infocommunication technology", according to Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan earlier this year.

The delegation comprises almost 50 senior representatives of companies from these industries, along with industry advisers to the CCI. They will meet local government officials and enterprises during the three-day visit.

"Over the last five years, West China accounted for over 20 per cent of Singapore's annual investment in China... At 11 per cent GDP growth, Chongqing is one of China's fastest-growing cities," said IE Singapore chief executive Lee Ark Boon.

Mr Lee said that the CCI would further strengthen business ties between Singapore and Chongqing.

He added that the launch of daily flights will see more travel between Singapore and Chongqing, while newly introduced cross-border yuan initiatives will generate more transactions.

Mr Teo Siong Seng, SBF chairman and CCI industry adviser, noted: "Chongqing plays a vital role in China's regional strategies, such as 'One Belt, One Road'... connecting China with South-east Asia, South Asia, Africa and Europe."

Official data points to strong economic cooperation and investment interest from Singapore companies in western China in recent years.

There were 245 projects worth a total investment value of US$5.68 billion (S$7.7 billion) in Chongqing at the end of last year. Singapore also became Chongqing's largest source of foreign direct investment.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore delegation to visit Chongqing'. Print Edition | Subscribe