OPPORTUNITIES are growing for Singaporeans to learn from and collaborate with their Chinese counterparts that are “full of buzz”, said Singapore’s Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, speaking on Sunday.
The city-state should capitalize on its legal and financial strengths to take advantage of opportunities from China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the minister said.
“I must say that it is a place that is full of buzz and full of young entrepreneurs as well as older ones who are working very well to think about what is the next stage of growth, what they can contribute and how they can better use technology to improve lives,” Heng said to reporters during a five-day trip to Suzhou and Beijing, according to The Strait Times.
“I hope that we too can make a contribution in that area.”
Heng is the first minister from Singapore to visit China after last month’s key party congress that put in place the country’s top leadership for the next five years.
One of the reasons for the trip was to learn about China’s thriving tech scene. As such, the minister visited the Tsinghua University Science Park to learn about its built-in ecosystem for turning ideas into commercial products, as well as Didi Chuxing’s office, where he was briefed on how the ride-hailing giant uses big data and analytics with local governments to improve traffic flows.
Last Friday, the Global Innovation Alliance was launched in Beijing to give Singapore entrepreneurs a chance to understand the Chinese market and build relationships.
Singapore wants Chinese companies that are looking to go global creating a network of deep linkages with innovation hubs across the world to use Singapore as a base for their efforts.
The minister also met senior officials such as his counterpart Xiao Jie and Jiangsu party secretary Lou Qinjian during his trip.
“An area they have given a lot of thought to is the promotion of innovation – this is a topic that came across very strongly in all my meetings, both at the provincial level, as well as at the central government level,” Heng said.