The Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region accounts for 3.7% of China’s land area with a population of 235 million and a GDP of RMB 20.5 trillion (accounting for 20.2% of China’s GDP). To better promote regional cooperation and integration, the Yangtze River Delta Regional Cooperation Office was launched in January 2018. The three provinces and Shanghai will ramp up coordination in terms of industrial planning and leverage each area’s strengths to work towards the creation of a unified market. Plans are underway to enhance infrastructural connectivity within the region to facilitate intermodal transport and trade.
Shanghai is one of the four municipalities under the direct administration of the Chinese central government, and is widely regarded as China’s economic centre. Shanghai is also home to the largest number of MNC regional headquarters in China, and a population that has the strongest spending power among all the Chinese cities. Notably, Shanghai hosts the China International Import Expo (CIIE), which includes exhibition areas for various sectors such as food and agricultural products, automobile, medical equipment and healthcare products, intelligent industry and information technology, trade in services, among others. Besides Fortune 500 companies and industry leaders, the expo also features country pavilions that showcase their unique cultures.
Growing demand for mid to high-end goods and services makes Shanghai a very attractive investment destination for Singapore firms, many of which focus on real estate, financial and insurance services, manufacturing, lifestyle and consumer, innovation and wholesale trade.
Established in September 2013, the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone (SPFTZ) in the Pudong New Area is at the forefront of opening up, with the mandate to experiment with reforms such as capital account liberalisation, use of negative lists to manage FDI, streamlined company registration procedure and reform of the FDI regime, some of which have been replicated nationwide. The SPFTZ was also expanded to include Lujiazui Financial District, Zhangjiang Science City, Jinqiao Development Zone and more recently, the Lingang New Area.
Located at the crossroads of Shanghai-Nanjing and Shanghai-Hangzhou development axes, the Hongqiao Central Business District (CBD) serves as the gateway for the YRD region to connect to the international market.
Singapore companies present in Shanghai include: BreadTalk, CapitaLand, Charles & Keith, DBS, Imperial Treasure, Jumbo, Keppel, OCBC, Paradise Group, Raffles Medical Group, Rajah & Tann, Sembcorp, Surbana Jurong, and UOB.
Jiangsu is one of Singapore’s top investment destinations in China, with over 4,600 Singapore projects invested across Jiangsu. The province has traditionally been an export-oriented economy with strong manufacturing capabilities; electronics, telecommunications, textiles, petrochemicals, metallurgy and machinery have been important pillars of its economy. However, in recent years, Jiangsu has been diversifying into the services sector in areas such as communications, e-commerce, logistics, financial leasing and smart manufacturing, and is also accelerating its plans to focus on technology and innovation to drive its economy.
Anchored by the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park, the first Singapore-China Government-to-Government project, and the Sino-Singapore Nanjing Eco Hi-tech Island, Singapore shares close economic ties with Jiangsu.
The Jiangsu Free Trade Zone (FTZ) was announced in Aug 2019, in line with China’s efforts to press ahead with reform and opening up. With a total area of approximately 120 square kilometres, the Jiangsu FTZ is divided into three sub-zones in Nanjing, Suzhou and Lianyungang. Each city will play to its strengths and facilitate coordinated development to boost the integration of the Yangtze River Delta.
Singapore companies present in Jiangsu include: AEM Holdings, Akribis, ComfortDelGro, Durapower, EtonHouse, Mapletree, PSA, Sembcorp, SSinolog, and Yanlord.
Located on China’s eastern seaboard, Zhejiang is one of China’s most affluent provinces and is widely known as the cradle of China's e-commerce revolution. Home to global e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, Zhejiang houses the China (Hangzhou) Cross-Border E-Commerce Pilot Zone, the nation's first comprehensive pilot zone for cross-border e-commerce. Improvements to the efficiency of e-commerce transactions, customs clearances and tax refund processes are amongst solutions piloted.
Beyond e-commerce, Zhejiang also presents numerous opportunities in other areas. With a robust ecosystem of technology, capital, talent and end-users, Zhejiang’s capital of Hangzhou is an attractive destination for Singapore technology firms looking to undertake research and innovation work. Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, one of China’s oldest and prestigious institutions of higher education, has been consistently ranked among the top Chinese universities and undertakes a range of industry-university partnerships.
Besides Hangzhou, other Zhejiang cities that may present opportunities include Ningbo and Zhoushan. Located along the coast, and connected to international sea routes via the Ningbo-Zhoushan port, Ningbo is known for manufacturing-for-export activities. Zhoushan, since the launch of its Free Trade Zone in 2016, has seen rapid growth in its maritime and energy sectors.
Singapore companies present in Zhejiang include: Amtronic Group, AnnAik, CapitaLand, Columbia China, Mapletree, NCS, RSP Architects Planners & Engineers, and Shopee.