Business China Youth Chapter China Learning Journey 2017
Rekindling of old ties (Xiamen, Shanghai and Suzhou)
From 11 to 18 December 2017, 17 Business China Youth Chapter (BCYC) members embarked on an 8-day China Learning Journey to Xiamen, Shanghai and Suzhou. This is the chapter’s seventh annual trip supported by Business China.
Through this initiative, Business China aims to provide an effective platform for bicultural and bilingual youth participants to keep themselves abreast with the developments of contemporary China. Participants not only had the opportunity to visit, explore and experience the hometown of many of their forefathers, but were also able to go on corporate visits to both Chinese and Singaporean companies, and had opportunities to interact with their Chinese counterparts, as well as Singaporeans working in China. The trip provided platforms to build friendships and networks that will serve as the basis for potential collaborations.
This year’s BCYC delegation consisted of members from the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore Institute of Management, Temasek Junior College and Eunoia Junior College. The participants came from extremely diverse backgrounds but were bonded with the same passion to learn about and engage with China.
Xiamen – Visiting the roots of their forefathers
In Xiamen, participants visited the Tan Kah Kee Memorial Museum. Mr Tan Kah Kee was a philanthropist, luminary and a great patron who left imprints in many educational institutions in the days of early Singapore. A proponent of quality education, Mr Tan truly lived by the words he spoke – ‘Education is the foundation of a strong country, and it is every citizen’s responsibility to ensure that good schools are established and that all children are well educated’. His deep passion for his country eventually directed him back home to Xiamen, where he built schools and other infrastructure complete with modern facilities and transformed Jimei from a poor fishing village to a centre of culture and learning.
The delegation also visited the Fujian (Xiamen)-Singapore Friendship Polyclinic which was set up in 2011. The polyclinic was designed free-of-charge by Mr Liu Thai Ker while the Temasek Foundation donated $650,000 for its staff training programme. The participants were amazed how it resembled the polyclinics back in Singapore in terms of its layout. After the tour, the participants had an engagement session with Mr Chi Chiew Sum, Singapore’s Consul-General in Xiamen, where they learnt about Xiamen’s recent developments and potential areas where Singaporeans can tap on.
Suzhou – Visiting the origins of Sino-Singapore collaboration
The participants were extremely excited to visit Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), as it was the first Sino-Singapore flagship project. Participants were given a guided tour in SIP’s exhibition center and it was a proud moment for the delegation to see how SIP has blossomed under the joint management of Singapore and Chinese counterparts, ranking Top 3 amongst all the Industrial Parks in China. Participants also visited National University of Singapore Suzhou Research Institute (NUSSRI) and the newly launched Block 71 by NUS Enterprises which aims to help further promote innovation and entrepreneurship development in Singapore and China. The highlight for the trip in Suzhou was the visit to CapitaLand’s Suzhou Center Mall which opened less than two weeks ago. It is the largest shopping centre in Suzhou and is more than three times the size of ION Orchard in Singapore. The participants were truly taken aback by the sheer size of the mall and, from the guided tour, learnt how Suzhou Center Mall management plans to stay relevant amidst the dominance of e-commerce. The mall is also a testament of strong Sino-Singapore ties, and the strong confidence towards the Singapore brand.
Shanghai – Visiting the cradle of China’s economic development
On 15 December, the delegation attended a dinner hosted by the Shanghai Singapore Business Association (SSBA). Mr. Lucas Loh, SSBA President & CEO of CapitaLand China, as well as members of the SSBA generously shared their motivations and experiences of working in China and encouraged participants to step out of their comfort zones by taking the leap to work in China if they had the opportunity.
Participants also visited GGV Capital, a globally renowned venture capital fund that has invested in famous companies such as Alibaba, Didi Chuxing, Grab and many others. Mr Foo Jixun, Director of Business China & Managing Partner of GGV Capital, shared how China has developed in terms of its technology and how important it is for Singaporeans to stay relevant and to be constantly hungry vis-à-vis their Chinese and global counterparts. His words served as a stark reminder that the youths in Singapore should always remain alert and not lose the competitive advantage that the earlier generation fought so hard for.
Finally, to round off the journey, the delegation visited Fudan University and held an interaction session with the Fudan University Singaporean Students Association. The discussion, held on the topic of cashless payments, saw the BCYC and Singaporean students studying in Fudan University coming together to compare and contrast between the landscapes of China and Singapore. Through the discussions, the delegation learned how cashless payments have seamlessly integrated into the everyday lives of students and the amount of effort Singapore has to put in in order to match China in this aspect.
From Xiamen to Suzhou and finally Shanghai, the delegation discovered the deep historical and economic linkages Singapore had with China and what the future entails for both countries via the corporate visits and the interactions with both locals and Singaporeans in China. It was an enriching and memorable experience that the participants will never forget.
About Business China Youth Chapter
Business China Youth Chapter (BCYC) is a voluntary group of youths which envisions itself to be the leading Singapore-based community that inspires youths to become China-savvy and facilitate connections with China. Supported by Business China, BCYC has a vibrant calendar of activities which serve the needs of the BCYC community.