Heng Swee Keat visits Singapore-Nanjing joint project

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat (second from right) planting a young beech tree at the Singapore-Nanjing Eco Hi-Tech Island (SNEHTI) yesterday along with (from left) Mr Zhong Shengjian, chairman of SNEHTI Development; Singapore's Consul-General in Sh
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat (second from right) planting a young beech tree at the Singapore-Nanjing Eco Hi-Tech Island (SNEHTI) yesterday along with (from left) Mr Zhong Shengjian, chairman of SNEHTI Development; Singapore's Consul-General in Shanghai Loh Tuck Wai; Mr Kelvin Teo, chief executive of Sembcorp Development; and Mr Tan Cheng Guan, Sembcorp Industries' head of renewables and environment business.ST PHOTO: DANSON CHEONG

Construction ongoing to develop clean tech, AI hub on S'pore-Nanjing Eco Hi-Tech Island

The Singapore-Nanjing Eco Hi-Tech Island (SNEHTI) lies just a short drive over a bridge spanning the Yangtze River, but Singaporeans making the journey might do a double take.

Greeting visitors arriving by car from the main Nanjing city are three replicas of the supertrees at Singapore's Gardens by the Bay, the first sign of the Republic's deep involvement in the 15.21 sq km island.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, who is on a working visit to China, yesterday visited the special development zone, a collaborative project between Singapore property group Yanlord Land, Sembcorp Development and the Nanjing government.

He was briefed on developments, before going on a tour of the island.

The SNEHTI project, which began in 2009, is a provincial-level development zone supported by the Singapore-Jiangsu Cooperation Council, a bilateral platform between the two countries that Mr Heng co-chairs.

Nanjing is the capital of Jiangsu province.

  • SINGAPORE-NANJING ECO HI-TECH ISLAND

  • 2020

    Expected completion date

    $2.1b

    The amount in investments SNEHTI is expected to draw.

    100,000

    Number of new jobs to be created.

Construction is underway at SNEHTI to develop a smart, green and ecologically friendly city, with plans to make it a hub for clean technologies and artificial intelligence (AI).

On Friday, SNEHTI hosted the first Sino-Singapore AI Forum, which Mr Heng also attended.

SNEHTI's developers say they want to tap Singapore's development experience, and this is obvious on the island.

Tree-lined roads criss-cross it, and there are plans for about 70 per cent of the island to be covered by greenery when fully developed.

High-rise apartment blocks with Singapore-style neighbourhood centres and facilities are also being built. Upon completion in 2020, SNEHTI is expected to draw $2.1 billion in investments, and create 100,000 new jobs.

Mr Heng yesterday also took part in a tree-planting ceremony with top executives from Yanlord and Sembcorp, helping to shovel soil onto a young beech tree at the island's YOG Forest Park.

Staff later asked Mr Heng to sign his name on a plaque on the tree.

"This is the Heng tree," said the Minister after he signed, leading to hearty laughter and cries of "Heng ah", a popular Hokkien expression meaning one is fortunate or lucky, among those present.

Mr Heng arrived in China last Thursday for a nine-day working visit.

He travels to Shanghai tomorrow, before going to Beijing, where he is expected to meet Chinese leaders.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 03, 2018, with the headline 'Heng Swee Keat visits Singapore-Nanjing joint project'. Print Edition | Subscribe