IE Singapore-UOB join hands to help local firms in trade and internationalisation

Entrance of UOB Bank at Raffles Place.
Entrance of UOB Bank at Raffles Place. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and United Overseas Bank (UOB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Thursday to combine forces to help more Singapore companies in cross-border trade and internationalisation.

The aim will be to provide Singapore companies with customised trade and financing solutions, deeper access to connections, partners and professional service providers across Asia, and will also include business tie-ups with UOB's global clients, according to a joint press release issued on Thursday (Nov 24).

It taps on the rising potential of Asean, where intra-regional trade almost doubled to US$600 billion (S$854.1 billion) in 2015. It is expected to hit US$1 trillion in 2020. The region's growing middle-income class, increasing connectivity and expansion of e-commerce will create greater demand for goods and services, which will in turn drive the increase in cross-border and B2B transactions, the release added.

The collaboration "helps IE Singapore and UOB to reach out to more Singapore companies, offering them better market insights, business intelligence and a more comprehensive choice of financial solutions", said Mr Chua Taik Him, deputy chief executive officer, IE Singapore. "Through strengthening such cross-border business infrastructure, we hope to drive the growth of wholesale trade and overseas expansion of Singapore companies."

Mr Frederick Chin, UOB's managing director and head of group wholesale banking, agreed. "Through our collaboration with IE Singapore, we will be able to deepen further our support of Singapore companies as they spread their wings overseas," he said.

Mr Chua and Mr Chin signed the MOU in the presence of Ms Sim Ann, senior minister of state, Ministry of Trade and Industry & the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

As per the MOU, UOB will help IE Singapore's strategy to build and strengthen wholesale trade in Singapore by providing advice and solutions on trade financing for local firms expanding overseas. They will also develop innovative initiatives and financial tools to ease the internationalisation process like piloting new FinTech solutions to raise cross-border trade efficiency.

In addition, UOB will offer a wide range of customised financial solutions, such as supply chain financing, cross-border financing, venture debt, cash management and settlement, as well as professional services including public listings, bond issuances and corporate finance advisory. These will help Singapore companies to overcome financing challenges that they may face when they internationalise.

IE Singapore and UOB aim to assist 200 Singapore companies in their overseas expansion over the next three years, especially to South-east Asia, China, Japan and Europe. Consumer-related sectors, business services, digital solutions, infrastructure, real estate, tourism, hospitality, logistics and trade will benefit from the collaboration.