Shanghai keen on closer cooperation with Singapore

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong with Shanghai party secretary Li Qiang yesterday. Both agreed their cities could boost cooperation in four areas, including using Singapore as a global platform for Shanghai businesses.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong with Shanghai party secretary Li Qiang yesterday. Both agreed their cities could boost cooperation in four areas, including using Singapore as a global platform for Shanghai businesses.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

It has been learning from S'pore and opening up to attract talent, projects, says party boss

Shanghai, the economic heart of China, wants to learn from Singapore as it continues to reform itself and open up, the city's new party secretary Li Qiang told Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.

Mr Li outlined four areas in which he hoped to see greater cooperation between the two cities as he briefed PM Lee on developments in Shanghai.

These were people-to-people exchanges; education, science and technology, and medical research; urban management; and using Singapore as an international platform for Shanghai businesses.

Both leaders agreed that the two cities could strengthen cooperation in those areas, given their similarities in outlook and openness, said a statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

Mr Li said in his opening remarks at the meeting that his city has been learning from Singapore and opening itself up to attract talent and business projects from around the world.

"The defining feature of Shanghai is its openness, just like Singapore, which has always been regarded by us as our role model. We want to open our doors to the rest of the world," he said, adding that Shanghai would remain open to the outside world as China marks the 40th anniversary of its reform and opening up.

ROLE MODEL

The defining feature of Shanghai is its openness, just like Singapore, which has always been regarded by us as our role model. We want to open our doors to the rest of the world.

MR LI QIANG, Shanghai's party secretary, on the city learning from Singapore.

Mr Li also suggested that Shanghai companies could use Singapore as a platform to support their outward expansion along the Belt and Road, said the PMO.

"We are extremely pleased to welcome you to Shanghai this time, and we hope that your visit will be the strong push to the exchanges and cooperation between Shanghai and Singapore in all areas," Mr Li told PM Lee at the Xijiao State Guesthouse. Singapore was the largest foreign investor in Shanghai, he noted.

Mr Li also updated PM Lee on Shanghai's role in the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) and the development of the YRD Economic Belt, the PMO statement said, adding that Mr Li also affirmed Shanghai's commitment to globalisation and regional cooperation.

Shanghai is the last leg of a five-day working visit for PM Lee, whose last trip here was in 2010.

"I am very happy to be back and see Shanghai has developed, progressed further and with many ambitious opportunities not only to push ahead on its own, but also together with the rest of the Yangtze River Delta and the rest of China and as part of the Belt and Road," he told his host.

He invited Mr Li to visit Singapore again. Mr Li accepted, and said he would do so at a mutually convenient time, according to the PMO.

A native of the eastern Zhejiang province, Mr Li was the secretary-general of the provincial party committee when President Xi Jinping was Zhejiang party secretary from 2002 to 2007.

The 58-year-old, who was appointed Shanghai party boss following the 19th Party Congress in October last year, is tipped to be in the running for a top national leadership post.

Almost all Shanghai party bosses since the early 1990s have gone on to become a member of the powerful decision-making Politburo Standing Committee.

PM Lee yesterday visited the headquarters of smart energy management company Envision, where he was briefed on its operations.

The Chinese firm has a number of collaborations with Singapore companies, including Keppel Urban Solutions and solar energy firm Sunseap, which are exploring ways to manage their assets using Envision's energy management Internet of Things platform.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2018, with the headline 'Shanghai keen on closer cooperation with Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe