Chairman of Business China, Mr Chua Thian Poh,
Distinguished Guests and Speakers of the FutureChina Global Forum,
Ladies and Gentlemen
A good evening to all of you.
A warm welcome to Singapore and to the FutureChina Global Forum 2016.
1. This is the seventh series of the Forum, the first of which was held in 2010. The Forum has grown and evolved over the years, capturing the most current trends and the fast-changing faces of the China economy.
2. Since the beginning of this decade, China has been making efforts to shift from an investment- and export-driven economic model to one that is more consumer-based and innovation-driven. China’s 13th Five-Year Plan gave us a good insight into China’s future growth trajectory and a good sense of the emerging opportunities. The Plan reflects China’s commitment towards an innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared economy. These five aspects present foreign investors with new windows of opportunity to co-create and co-develop with China companies.
3. Since the opening up of China in the late 70s, Singapore has been an active partner in the growth of the Chinese economy. In 2015, our bilateral trade rose 1.6 per cent year-on-year to more than 123 billion Singapore dollars. For the second consecutive year, China was Singapore’s largest trading partner, making up 13.8 per cent of Singapore’s total exports and 14.2 per cent of our total imports.
4. Singapore is also China’s largest source of foreign direct investment outside of Greater China. In the first two months of 2016, Singapore’s investments in China reached almost one billion USD, an increase of 53.8 per cent from the same period last year. This demonstrates the continued confidence of our business community in China’s growth potential.
5. In recent years, many Singapore companies whose strengths and experiences lie in the service sector have been benefiting from the gradual liberalisation of China’s healthcare, education and environmental services. For instance, Raffles Medical Group and Shanghai LuJiaZui Group (上海陆家嘴集团) formed a joint venture to develop a 400-bed international general hospital in Shanghai’s Pudong New Area. I am confident that this hospital will provide the highest quality of medical service to China patients and fly Singapore’s flag high. Other Singaporean healthcare providers have also planned to set up international standard integrated healthcare hubs in 20 to 40 Chinese cities.
6. The Chinese business community, on the other hand, favours Singapore’s open, international and pro-business environment, our strong research and development culture, and the capability to draw global talents. To date, more than 6,500 Chinese companies have set up offices, R&D facilities and manufacturing operations in Singapore. They cover banking and finance, oil and gas, manufacturing, the Internet and infocomm development sectors and many more. As at March this year, 120 Chinese enterprises were listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, with a combined market capitalisation of about 25.2 billion Singapore dollars.
7. As China’s economy is still undergoing reform and transformation, it is important for all of us to keep abreast of latest developments. The FutureChina Global Forum, organised by Business China, is the definitive platform to gather a sense of China’s future directions, from ground-savvy industry experts, long-time observers and practitioners, and insightful academia.
8. Themed “Transformation or Stagnation: What the New Economy heralds for China and the Region”, this year’s Forum seeks to look at China’s development in a new light. I believe that discussions in new growth sectors such as Internet+, smart urban solutions, China's healthcare sector, as well as China’s mergers and acquisitions spree, future consumption trends and opportunities for the region with the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, will spur active engagement amongst speakers and participants alike.
9. Over the next two days, I hope you will take this excellent opportunity to exchange information, make new connections and better calibrate strategies and plans. On behalf of the Board of Business China, I would like to take this chance to thank all our speakers for taking time off your hectic schedules to share your invaluable knowledge and experience with us. I wish all of you a fruitful and enriching time ahead.
10. Please allow me to say a few words in Mandarin.
13. 新加坡和中国建交超过25年，今年也是我国建国总理李光耀先生首次访问中国的40周年志庆。1976年，李光耀先生第一次踏上中国土地的时候，他所看到和感受到的中国社会，和当今的中国，有着截然不同的风貌。中国改革开放近40年的发展，让整整6亿中国人脱离贫困 ，也带动了世界上其他国家的发展。中国社会和平的崛起，经济的繁荣，深刻影响着世界的稳定和繁荣。