The Straits Times - Engage China on deeper level: Swee Say

31 May 2014


BUSINESS leaders must go beyond the obvious connections to China and engage on a deeper level to ensure that Singapore makes the most of opportunities in China, according to Mr Lim Swee Say last night.

The Minister in the Prime Minister's Office noted that while Singapore's "linguistic and cultural affinity" with China is a head start, this advantage alone is not enough.

"It is, therefore, imperative that Singaporeans continue to augment our ability to engage China as part of our strategic vision to maintain global competitiveness and long-term economic vitality," he added.

Switching to Mandarin, Mr Lim noted that Singapore enterprises can capitalise on the growing markets in China.

The minister was speaking at the commencement ceremony for participants of the Future China Advanced Leaders Programme, held at Swissotel Merchant Court.

The programme is organised by local China-Singapore platform Business China, which sent 24 senior managers on three one-week courses in China and Singapore over the past three months.

Since it began in 2012, the programme has attracted nearly 70 business leaders to look at China's development in cities such as Chongqing, Shanghai and Chengdu. This year's graduates came from diverse fields, including Ms Teo Han Jo, audit partner at KPMG, and Mr Gan Chong Min, managing director of Raffles City China Fund, a unit of CapitaLand China.

Another graduate, Mr Liew Choon Boon, eco-city project office senior director at Singapore's Ministry of National Development, said China's transformation will have a "profound impact" on Singapore.

"As an individual or as a country, we will all have to understand and adjust to the growing wealth, power and influence of China, and seek new opportunities for ourselves," he added.

The International Monetary Fund has noted that China is the world's fastest-growing major economy, with growth rates averaging 10 per cent over the past 30 years.