Singapore companies can consider venturing into Chongqing for two main reasons: (i) its attractive central location; and (ii) fast urban growth. Both factors are set to drive more people – and thus, spending – into the municipality.
Chongqing has gained considerably from China's 2000 Go West strategy, which aimed to generate investment in western China. Today, the forecasted growth for West China, including Chongqing, is 10% to 12% annually through to 2020. Chongqing has a long history as a strategically important trading centre – in 1890, it was the first inland Chinese city to be opened up to foreigners19. Today, Chongqing's central location makes it an economic, manufacturing and transport hub; and one of the most important cities in the country. It is one of four directly controlled municipalities in China (apart from Tianjin, Shanghai and Beijing) that reports to the central government in Beijing rather than any regional government. Chongqing was chosen as a directly controlled municipality because of its size and economic importance, and to allow the central government to oversee the strategically vital Three Gorges Dam project.
With its strategic location, Chongqing is a key node of the Belt and Road Initiative. In terms of urban growth, the latest development is the Chongqing airport expansion, which will drive international connectivity, logistics and opportunities for global brands including Singaporean ones to enter. The airport extension aims to reach 50 million passengers annually and 1 million tonnes of cargo by 2020. It will have 52,000 sq m of commercial space with many duty-free opportunities in the areas of retail and F&B for Singapore companies to venture into. In 2016, Singapore and Chongqing signed an MOU to launch more flights between the two cities and Southeast Asia to boost regional connectivity. Since then, flights between Singapore and Chongqing have increased from 5 to 14 a week.
Enterprise Singapore facilitates commercial projects within the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity (CCI).