Economy, Investment and Trade
China, Singapore underscore strong economic ties
(5 December 2017) At the fifth meeting of the Investment Promotion Committee both Singapore and China reaffirmed their commitment to enhance economic cooperation and deepen investment ties between the countries. The meeting was co-chaired by Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang and China’s Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan. Both ministers discussed ways to deepen investment ties and economic collaboration between Singapore and China including the upgrade of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement which is to be concluded in 2018. Singapore has been China’s largest investor since 2013, while China was Singapore’s largest trading partner in 2016.
Thailand says high-speed rail to China not feasible as a passenger train
(6 December 2017) The Thailand-China high speed rail project which recently received approval from Thailand’s environmental body has now hit another snag. Thailand has said it is “not feasible” as a passenger service train and that it be used as a freight service instead. Vallobh Muangkeo, secretary general of the National Assembly of Thailand said that the matter had to be discussed with China given its high construction cost and low potential for use. In July 2017, Thailand approved US$5.2 billion in funding to build the first phase but the project has been continually stalled over issues including cost, development rights and labour problems.
China’s Mobike partners with Singtel to boost growth in Asia
(4 December 2017) Mobike, a Beijing-based bicycle-sharing company, announced a tie-up with Singapore Telecommunication, as it aims to expedite its growth in Asia. The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding the same day in Singapore covering mobile payments, internet of things, data analytics and joint marketing in the region. Mobike Chief Technology Officer Joe Xia mentioned that this will also allow it to leverage on Singtel’s relationship with partners in the different markets helping them to roll out faster. Since its launch in Shanghai in April 2016, Mobike’s fleet has grown up to 7 million bicycles. It has 200 million customers and operates in over 200 cities.
Indonesia promotes tourism at China international travel convention
(4 December 2017) The Indonesian Ministry of Tourism promoted various destinations in the archipelago at the China International Travel Mart. The Tourism Ministry’s Deputy Minister for overseas promotion I Gde Pitana said that of the 120 million Chinese travelers only two percent have travelled to Indonesia. According to data from the Indonesian Central Statistic Agency (BPS), the number of Chinese tourists to Indonesia has moved up from third spot in 2015 to second spot in 2016.
China to hold next South China Sea talks in the Philippines
(2 December 2017) Philippine ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana said that the next major formal negotiations between Manila and Beijing to resolve lingering territorial disputes in the South China Sea will be held in early 2018. The conflicting territorial claims between the two countries stem from China’s sweeping claims to the South China Sea, parts of which are being claimed by several other nations including the Philippines. The first meeting of China-Philippines Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea in Guiyang, Guizhou Province was held in May 2017 between senior diplomats from both sides.