With the growth of China's economy and its growing influence globally, one Chinese clan association in Singapore has helped foster ties between the Little Red Dot and the Middle Kingdom.
Highlighting the efforts of the Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday that these have "improved the friendship and cooperation between the people of the two countries".
Speaking in Mandarin at the association's 88th anniversary gala dinner, Mr Heng said the Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan has encouraged more innovative activities, expanded cultural exchanges and business networks, and improved ties between Teochew people from regional communities, such as those in Shenzhen and Hong Kong.
Mr Heng added that the association has helped to promote entrepreneurship and business development in Singapore.
He noted that last year, the association organised an inaugural award for young, successful Teochew entrepreneurs.
This, he said, not only recognised the efforts and hard work of these entrepreneurs, but also encouraged other Singaporeans with an interest in business to learn from these success stories.
But as the world moves towards digital technology, the Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan will also need to change with the times to interest young people to participate in its activities, added the minister.
One example is an international conference the association organised that involved young Teochews from different parts of the world.
Mr Heng said the event, which was held here, allowed young Singaporeans to better understand the association's purpose and work.