BEIJING - Singapore businesses have inked several deals in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing to nurture start-ups, as well as develop water technology and Internet security capabilities.
The six agreements were signed on Thursday (May 9) by representatives of Singapore companies that are part of a visiting delegation led by Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon.
Dr Koh was in the capital city of Jiangsu province for the annual Singapore-Nanjing Cooperation Panel meeting, now in its seventh year. It is a city-level platform under the Singapore-Jiangsu Cooperation Council set up to boost bilateral collaboration in special projects in Nanjing.
There are eight business councils between Singapore and various Chinese provinces and municipalities.
Among the deals signed between Singapore companies and Chinese government entities and businesses was a collaboration to run a centre that provides co-working spaces and business support services such as market advisory services, mentorship programmes and networking opportunities to Singapore and foreign start-ups looking to expand into Nanjing. The centre will open on Friday (May 10).
Start-ups can also tap each other's resources and connections; Nanjing companies with plans to expand into South-east Asia can look to the Singapore firms for help, for instance.
The centre will be based at the Sino-Singapore Nanjing Eco Hi-tech Island, a 10-year-old township development project supported by the two governments and co-developed by Singapore's Yanlord Land and Sembcorp Development, and two of China's state-owned enterprises.
Spanning 15.21 sq km, the island is yet another joint project that focuses on innovative, high-tech and sustainable development, like the government-led Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city.
"The economic relations between Singapore and Nanjing have expanded beyond infrastructure development to include other aspects such as services and knowledge exchange. Building on the strong foundation developed, we see great potential for our companies to foster deeper collaborations in innovation, urban development solutions, and talent exchanges," said Dr Koh, who co-chairs the Singapore-Nanjing Cooperation Panel with Nanjing mayor Lan Shaomin.
Singapore has invested US$1.89 billion (S$2.58 billion) in the island as of last year and wants to move from infrastructure building to more advanced development, such as creating an innovation ecosystem based on artificial intelligence, water technology research and application and sustainable urban management.
Besides the centre that supports start-ups, Singapore and Nanjing have also agreed to jointly develop a testing platform for Internet and software security, set up a specialised clinic providing allergy, arthritis and rheumatism services in Nanjing, and partner to build an industrial and logistics park.
Singapore is the fourth-largest foreign investor in Nanjing, primarily in manufacturing, finance, education, healthcare and real estate. Its cumulative actual investments in the city was US$3.4 billion with 410 projects as of the end of last year.