Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong at the Smart China Expo Singapore pavilion, together with IMDA staff and partners.
By Gerald Lim
IMDA Chief Executive Tan Kiat How at the media conference to showcase Singapore's initiatives at Smart China Expo.
While Chongqing is famous for its spicy hotpot, not many people know the city is hot – it has been, in fact, the fastest growing and the largest city in China for the past few years.
With an annual GDP growth in the double digits for 15 straight years, and a population of 30 million people, Chongqing offers a huge market opportunity for Singapore companies.
As such, IMDA had previously led business exploratory trips to the city, with Singapore tech companies in tow to explore opportunities and connect with like-minded Chinese counterparts.
ICT is one of four priority sectors that are the focus of the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative (CCI) between the governments of Singapore and China – the other sectors being financial services, aviation, and transport and logistics.
The CCI seeks to grow China’s western region by enhancing transport and trade links, with projects such as the Southern Transport Corridor (part of the Belt and Road Initiative).
It is the third such bilateral project of its kind, after the Suzhou Industrial Park and the Tianjin Eco-City.
The city’s pace of growth looks set to increase after it hosted the inaugural Smart China Expo in late August 2018 – one of the largest international ICT events organised by the Chongqing Municipal People’s Government.
One of the panel sessions chaired by IMDA at the Singapore-Chongqing Digital Economy High-Level Seminar.
More than 500 local and international exhibitors displayed their technologies in a sprawling location: The Chongqing International Expo Center with 186,000 square metres of exhibition space, filled with pavilions and showcases that lived up to the theme of “Smart Technology: Empowering Economy, Enriching Life.”
IMDA led a delegation of over 180 delegates from 40 ICT companies from Singapore to participate in the event, and to explore opportunities for business partnerships and innovation collaborations with Chinese companies.
China’s Vice-Premier, Mr Han Zheng, opened the Expo and shared in his speech that his country will drive core innovation through intelligent technology.
Mr Goh Chok Tong, Singapore’s Emeritus Senior Minister, delivered the keynote address. He said that there is vast potential for tech companies from Singapore and Chongqing to cooperate to open up new opportunities.
Pavilion a major draw
Singapore was the only country-of-honour at the Expo.
The Singapore Pavilion was a hit with the visitors at the Smart China Expo.
Companies such as Fooyo, aZaaS, veriTAG, Jing King, ST Engineering, and Handshakes showcased their smart technology innovations across diverse industries at the 1,400sqm Singapore Pavilion, which was a hit among the estimated half-a-million visitors to the Expo.
Visitors from over 28 countries were drawn to the Pavilion’s centrepiece: a model of the iconic SuperTree structure, as found in Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay.
During the Expo, nine Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) were signed between Singapore and Chinese companies operating in blockchain, cloud technology and smart logistics.
These partnerships by Singapore-based veriTAG, and China-based iSoftStone and Rizon, will strengthen collaborations in new innovation ecosystems and tap international growth opportunities in West China and Southeast Asia.
Another company that flew the Singapore flag high was Fooyo.
The Singapore-based app developer launched its “Ai Chongqing” tourist exploration mobile app that was developed for Chongqing Tourism Investment Group to provide smart tourism solutions for the Chongqing tourism market.
One of the highlights of the Singapore Pavilion at Smart China Expo: A replica SuperTree usually seen at Gardens By The Bay.
IMDA also organised a Singapore-Chongqing Digital Economy High-Level Seminar which featured Singapore and Chinese companies sharing their experiences and capabilities in plenary sessions, panel discussions and business pitching sessions.
Singapore’s significant presence at the Smart China Expo enabled us to showcase Singapore’s thought leadership and achievements in our Digital Economy initiatives and Smart Nation development.
With both Singapore and China working towards becoming digital economies, Singapore companies are increasingly looking to form partnerships with Chinese companies to co-create ICT solutions and form innovative ecosystems.
And the prospects are looking increasingly good.
To understand the background stories of some of the Singapore tech companies that exhibited at Smart China Expo, do check out IMpact stories featuring:
You can also check out an interview with IMDA's Centre Director for China Chng Ken Wei for more insights on entering the China market.