Singapore-China economic cooperation continues to strengthen with increasing trade and investment opportunities

Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong visited WeRide HQ in Guangzhou to learn more about their autonomous driving technology. Picture source: Lee Hsien Loong.

28th March 2023 – (Guangzhou) Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has made his first visit to China after the pandemic. With China’s reopening and economic rebound on track, there are increasing cooperation opportunities between China and Singapore.

According to data from China’s Ministry of Commerce, the total import and export volume of China and Singapore reached $19.5 billion from January to February 2023, up 37.6 percent year on year. This reflects the strong momentum of economic and trade cooperation between the two countries, with China having been Singapore’s largest trading partner for nine consecutive years from 2013 to 2021.

The two countries have expanded their cooperation beyond traditional industries such as financial services and infrastructure development. Biotechnology, pharmaceutical manufacturing, green development, scientific and technological research and development are among the areas in which they are collaborating.

In 2022, Chinese companies from various industries established their businesses in Singapore, including online fashion retailer Shein, electric carmaker NIO, and biomedical company SINOVAC. SINOVAC has announced plans to invest 10 billion yuan in setting up scientific research facilities and international business headquarters in Singapore.

Singapore’s tourism department is anticipating an increase in Chinese tourists visiting Singapore with China’s orderly resumption of outbound tourism. It is estimated that Singapore will rake in 18 to 21 billion Singapore dollars on tourism this year.

Despite the pandemic, China-Singapore economic and trade cooperation continues to gain momentum. In 2022, the total bilateral import and export volume reached $115.1 billion, a year-on-year increase of 22.8 percent. Singapore also maintained its position as the largest source of foreign capital in China for the 10th consecutive year, according to MOFCOM data.

Gabriel Lim, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore, has noted that China’s accelerated economic recovery has injected important impetus into the economic growth of regional countries including Singapore. Singapore’s external demand prospects are constantly improving, and the service industry will further recover.

Selena Ling, chief economist at OCBC Bank, predicts stronger growth for Singapore’s aviation, accommodation, art, entertainment and leisure industries, reflecting the positive economic impacts of the strong cooperation between Singapore and China.