Our Guest of Honour, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean
Minister for National Development, Mr Khaw Boon Wan
Minister for Health and Government Whip, Mr Gan Kim Yong
Chairman of Business China, Mr Chua Thian Poh
Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen
It gives me great pleasure to join you here this evening, as we honour our Business China Award recipients for the fifth year. OCBC is very honoured and proud to be the sponsor of Business China Awards since its inauguration in 2010.
As a member of the panel of judges, I have the rare privilege of seeing companies and individuals who have devoted so much to the development and strengthening of the business, social and cultural ties between Singapore and China. It was an inspirational as well as humbling experience. The candidates are true exemplary role models, each contributing in their unique ways.
Against the rising geo-political tensions in this and other parts of the world, it is so satisfying to see how proactive engagement and reaching out between nations can foster trust and friendship, which not only promote harmony but have opened up new mutually beneficial opportunities, for the people and for the business.
24 years on since the days of the bilateral engagement between Singapore and China, and reinforced by the continuous efforts of our government leaders, Singapore was China’s largest foreign investor (other than Hong Kong) in 2013, while China was Singapore’s largest trading partner.
Building on the successes, Singapore banks are also playing an increasingly important financial intermediary role for China’s onshore/offshore markets, particularly in cross border RmB flows. In July this year, in cooperation with our partner bank, Bank of Ningbo, we successfully disbursed the first direct cross-border RMB loan to a Chinese company located in Suzhou, under the Agreement reached at the Joint Council for Bilateral Co-operation in Suzhou.
The recent commencement of the direct currency trading between Singapore and China further strengthened Singapore’s position as the largest RMB clearing centre outside of Greater China. Based on the latest June numbers, the total amount of RMB deposits in Singapore had exceeded one quarter of a trillion, a strong 84 per cent growth over the same time last year.
As in past years, this year’s award recipients are truly deserving. But before we hear their inspiring stories later tonight, allow me to share my remaining remarks with you in Mandarin, to be consistent with the mission of Business China in nurturing bilingual and bicultural inclusivity.
今年2014年對新、中兩國在工商業上, 是值得慶祝的一年。它不僅是“通商中國獎”成立的5週年, 也是新中合作建立蘇州工業園的20週年。對華僑銀行來說, 2014年也是一個有重大意義的一年。今年年初, 我們宣布全面收購擁有77年歷史的香港永亨銀行。它在香港, 澳門以及中國擁有強大的客戶基礎。我們非常高興, 在今年七月底已經完成了這項50億美元的全面收購, 大大加強了我們在大中華區的實力和競爭力。永亨銀行已成為華僑銀行的全資附屬公司。並已於10月1日開始, 改名為華僑永亨銀行。
今年九月份, 我們在中國國內寧波銀行的投資, 也由原來的15% 增加到20%, 成為我們的聯營公司。再這, 剛在上個月, 我們也非常高興收到了中國當局的批文, 批准我們在蘇州開設新的分行。使華僑銀行在中國的分支行增加到三十二家, 分佈十大城市。而在大中華區， 華僑銀行的網絡也增加到120家。
中國，做為大中華區的中心市場，是華僑銀行集團在星加坡以外,重點發展的核心海外市場之一。華僑是一家由華人創辦的銀行。它的前身銀行, 和豐銀行, 早在1923年，已經在香港設立它第一家海外分行。然後在1925年, 在廈門設立了它在中國的第一家分行，是最早在中國有分行的外資銀行之一，為華僑提供通商融資, 一直持續發展到現在。
過去八十多年以來，我們以新加坡為基地， 開拓海外，尤其是東南亞的市場。與此同時， 我們也逐步深化在中國的業務，與中國市場同步發展。