Singapore-China (Shenzhen) Smart City Initiative Creates New Business Opportunities Through Digital Connectivity

Last updated: 08 December 2020

Published on: 08 December 2020

Pilot for digital trade to be implemented in 2021

Good progress on SCI projects since MOUs signed in June 2020

SINGAPORE – 8 December 2020: Businesses will soon be able to enjoy greater access to new markets and business opportunities as Singapore and China strengthen bilateral ties at the 16th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meeting which took place earlier today. At the apex annual bilateral platform between both countries, which are celebrating the 30th anniversary of bilateral relations, the Singapore-China (Shenzhen) Smart City Initiative (SCI) made good progress in strengthening digital connectivity to grow our digital economy.

A testament to both countries’ ambition to scale greater heights in the digital realm, a pilot on paperless cross-border trade is on track to commence as early as first quarter of 2021. One of eight MOUs signed in June this year at the sidelines of the first SCI Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) meeting, the project aims to achieve mutual recognition of electronic trade documents such as electronic Bill of Lading for seamless cross-border trade transactions. Some of the 14 participants of the pilot include DBS, Standard Chartered Bank, Bank of Communication, China Construction Bank, PIL and GUUD.

Good progress was also made in cross-border data management. With growing importance of data connectivity to support trade and digital innovation between Singapore and China, government agencies on both sides are co-developing regulatory sandboxes to facilitate cross border data flows of priority projects related to digital identity and digital trade.

Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran said, “The 16th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meeting provided the opportunity for both sides to take stock of the past year’s progress and explore further cooperation for the benefit of our peoples. The Singapore-China (Shenzhen) Smart City Initiative (SCI), which is well-placed to strengthen the strategic cooperation between Singapore and China, will be an important pathfinder to expand and deepen linkages between both countries’ business ecosystems. Singapore and Shenzhen have made good progress on the SCI in the short time since its launch last year. Singapore looks forward to deepening our digital collaborations with China, particularly in partnering Shenzhen as it embarks on a new phase of pilot reforms. Amidst the uncertain global environment, Singapore will continue to work with partner countries like China, in building bridges and enhancing cooperation to build better lives, both in our countries and the region, to support post-pandemic recovery”.

Further progress on several SCI projects to help businesses innovate and tap on growth opportunities were made:

  • Enterprise Singapore appointed X-Node as its Global Innovation Alliance Acceleration Programme partner in Shenzhen to help Singapore technology startups and SMEs set up and form business connections and partnerships in China through Shenzhen. Tech companies in Singapore have indicated early interest to participate in GIA Shenzhen. The first batch of participants is expected to be finalized by Q1 2021.

  • To offer more convenient and efficient cross-border dispute resolution services for companies in Singapore, China and Southeast Asia, Maxwell Chambers and the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore leveraging technology to facilitate cross-border dispute resolution.

  • In a move to streamline trade finance processes digitally, homegrown firm Yang Kee Logistics, alongside with DBS and China export credit insurer Sinosure, conducted a trial shipment where Yang Kee estimated some cost savings of between USD 17,000 to USD 70,000 for the company.

  • OneConnect Financial Technology and IMDA jointly launched OneSME, a platform that connects Singapore businesses to a buyer base of 4 million businesses in China for sales and partnership opportunities in September 2020

Besides the SCI projects, one of the first movers to take advantage of expanded business linkages between Singapore and Shenzhen, technology solutions provider, NCS, will soon be launching the NEXT Shenzhen Innovation Centre (SIC) as part of its planned expansion in China to showcase innovative solutions and technologies developed with deep-tech startups. SIC will also be a base to jointly develop digital projects with partners in the Greater Bay Area for China and Southeast Asia.


About Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) leads Singapore’s digital transformation with infocomm media. To do this, IMDA will develop a dynamic digital economy and a cohesive digital society, driven by an exceptional infocomm media (ICM) ecosystem – by developing talent, strengthening business capabilities, and enhancing Singapore's ICM infrastructure. IMDA also regulates the telecommunications and media sectors to safeguard consumer interests while fostering a pro-business environment,  and enhances Singapore’s data protection regime through the Personal Data Protection Commission.

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