Singapore and Guangdong province have promised to further build out the Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City into a shining pearl for Sino-foreign cooperation under the country's Belt and Road Initiative.
On Tuesday, both sides signed a total of eight memorandums of cooperation and framework agreements to advance their partnership during the Singapore-Guangdong Collaboration Council held in Guangzhou, the provincial capital.
The memorandums and agreements mainly involve urban construction, software cooperation, investment and trade, education and training, and new energy construction. The two sides said they expect the accords to help accelerate the pace of construction in the SSGKC over the coming months. The knowledge city was first established in 2010.
Ong Ye Kung, minister for education (higher education and skills) and second minister for defence of Singapore, highly praised the Singaporean companies that have set up their facilities in Guangdong.
"Singaporean companies should further expand their cooperation with foreign counterparts to increase their presence in the world market," he told the fifth Sino-Singapore Knowledge Forum on Tuesday. He met with senior Party and government officials from Guangdong province when he was in Guangzhou earlier this week.
Huang Ningsheng, vice-governor of Guangdong and director-general of the Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Science and Technology, said there is still vast scope for joint initiatives between Guangdong and Singapore.
He urged companies from Guangdong to seize the opportunities available to work with their Singaporean counterparts and to promote such partnerships to a new level, building SSGKC into a new R&D and innovation center, helping to boost Guangdong's economic transformation and industrial upgrading.
In addition to Ong and Huang, senior government oficials and experts that participated the forum urged both sides to further advance their cooperation and build SSGKC into a new international science and technology innovation hub, a new economic cooperative center and a new engine for economic growth under the country's Belt and Road Initiative.
Yang Mu, executive dean of the Institute of Public Policy at the South China University of Technology, said Guangdong's cooperation with Singapore is a classic win-win deal.
Yang explained that Singapore has constructed many industrial development zones in its neighboring nations over the years. As such, it can help Guangdong companies to increase their presence in Southeast Asian countries and to expand internationally. In turn, Singaporean companies are able to gain greater access to the mainland market thanks to their counterparts' experience.
Inderjit Singh Dhaliwal, a member on the board of trustees of Nanyang Technological University, said Singapore and Guangdong should expand their cooperation in education, talent training, innovation and protection of intellectual property rights. He is also chairman of the Enterprise Committee and chairman of NTUitive, the innovation and enterprise company at the university.
Located in Guangzhou's Huangpu district, the knowledge city is linked to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and major ports in Guangdong via advanced expressways and light railway networks.