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28 Sep 2019 Updated 30 Sep 2019

Singapore and China ink 16 deals in eastern Jiangsu province

The Straits Times Tan Dawn Wei, China Bureau Chief in Beijing

SJCC meeting 2019

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Indranee Rajah with Jiangsu Governor Wu Zhenglong at the Singapore-Jiangsu Cooperation Council meeting in Suzhou, China. Photo: Enterprise Singapore

BEIJING - Singapore and Chinese companies have inked 16 deals ranging from the setting up of a pre-school and research in membrane technology to building an industrial park.

The new signings were made during the Singapore-Jiangsu Cooperation Council meeting in the eastern city of Suzhou on Wednesday (Sept 25). Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Indranee Rajah, on her first trip as co-chair of the council, led a 120-member delegation.

This year's meeting - the 13th one - also took a more distinct focus as Singapore honed in on offering a full suite of professional services to Chinese companies looking to take their operations overseas.

In the delegation were more than 30 business representatives specialising in legal, accountancy, intellectual property and financial services - curated to tap opportunities in one of the richest provinces in China.

"The areas they are looking at complement many areas Singapore is looking at. One area is modern services including professional services. That's something that helps when you're internationalising," said Ms Indranee in an interview with Singapore media on Thursday.

Among the delegates were representatives from the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), which recently established an international arm to help companies manage their intellectual property strategy.

The Chinese were also keen to collaborate on town planning and urban solutions, especially as the 25-year-old Suzhou Industrial Park - the first inter-governmental project between the two countries - looks to reinvent itself.

Healthcare was another potential area for collaboration, especially in research and design of urban solutions for an ageing population, a problem the two share.

When asked what Singapore could offer that Hong Kong could not in professional services, Ms Indranee said the two cities serve different geographical regions.

"Singapore companies and professional services are familiar with the Asean countries. Asean is not homogeneous so having in-country knowledge is very important. That's Singapore's strength."

Among the newly inked deals was one between EtonHouse International Education Group and Xiangcheng Weitang District Government to develop a new pre-school in Suzhou.

Singapore property developer Mapletree and Chinese local authorities will jointly build an industrial park in the Xishan district of Wuxi.

Water treatment company Century Water will also be setting up an advanced membrane research and development centre in Nanjing for the transfer and commercialisation of technologies in nano membranes, forward osmosis, and pervaporation membranes.

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.