Singapore has been invited to develop China's fifth largest
island as an industrial park catering to Northeast Asia, government
sources disclosed yesterday.
The 252-square-kilometer Changxing Island, off the coast of the
northeastern city of Dalian, is seen as being strategically located
to allow expansion into the regional market.
Li Keqiang, Party secretary of Liaoning Province, first put
forward the proposal in a meeting with Singapore's Minister Mentor
Lee Kuan Yew earlier this year. Both Liaoning and Singapore listed
it as the top subject for discussion during the annual meeting of
the Singapore-Liaoning Economic and Trade Council at the end of
Yi Qingtao, deputy director of the administrative committee of
Changxing Island industrial development zone, provided detailed
suggestions for cooperation during the meeting.
"We encourage senior professionals from Singapore to join the
administrative committee and share their advanced experience with
us," said Yi.
Changxing is open for Singapore in all industries from
infrastructure construction and education, to environmental
protection, he added.
"My bottom line is there is no bottom line. It is OK to even
appoint a Singaporean to be our committee chief," said Yi.
Senior officials from Singapore have expressed great interest in
the project. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore's minister for
education and second minister for finance, said: "Singapore is glad
to have the chance to develop Changxing in both the short and
Earlier this year, Dalian municipal government chose
Singapore-based JTC Corporation to make a regulatory plan of a 20
million yuan (US$2.5 million) industrial zone on the island. This
was seen as the signal for the cooperation.
JTC helped design Suzhou Industrial Park in 1994.
But Yi emphasized that Changxing was different from Suzhou.
"Times are different now. We have the full support from
government in terms of capital and some experience after a decade's
opening up," said Yi.
"What we need most now is not investment, but professionals who
are familiar with international practice. We want to work with them
and learn from them in daily work."
The local government is still in talks with Singapore over the
project, but Yi declined to give more details.
(China Daily July 14, 2006)