SINGAPORE Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he is happy with the results of the private sector-led, government-backed Guangzhou Knowledge City (GKC), and its successful progress has made "the hurdle to do a government-to-government project higher in the future".
Mr Lee noted that the GKC was a different model of Sino-Singapore collaboration compared to the flagship Suzhou Industrial Park and Tianjin Eco-City joint ventures.
"It's led by the private sector, supported by the government. It's a different model we are trying out and I'm happy with the results," he told reporters on Friday after his first visit to the site, which broke ground in 2010.
"Here, it has to have a balance between the private sector taking the lead and finally the market has to decide that there is a demand for what the companies are providing. And on top of that, the government is supporting the project with training, with advice, with guidance from the Singapore-Guangdong Collaboration Council," he said.
Noting that this new model has worked in Guangzhou, he said: "I would think the hurdle to do a government-to-government project like Suzhou and Tianjin would be higher in the future. I think this is one good model we should explore going forward."
China has proposed a third government-to-government joint venture in its western region, and Singapore officials are currently exploring which city and what form it should take, with the criteria that the third project should be ground-breaking like the first two, commercially viable and supported by local authorities.
Mr Lee's visit came six years after he first discussed the idea of a venture to nurture high-end, knowledge-intensive industries in Guangdong with then-party secretary Wang Yang.
The Singapore prime minister is making his first trip to Guangdong province since 2006 as part of a week-long trip to southern China.
On Thursday, Mr Lee dined with Guangdong Party Secretary Hu Chunhua, widely seen as one of China's next top leaders, and on Friday, he had lunch with Guangzhou Mayor Chen Jianhua.
Mr Lee and his delegation leave Guangzhou for Shenzhen later on Friday.