Tuesday, April 26, 2011

S'pore firms get a leg-up on Guangzhou eco-city project

Straits Times: Tue, Apr 26
SINGAPORE companies looking to capture a slice of a multibillion-dollar eco-city project in the Chinese city of Guangzhou are getting a helping hand with a new assistance scheme.

GKC Partners Programme is a joint effort between Temasek Holdings unit Singbridge International and trade agency International Enterprise Singapore.

As the programme's anchor company, Singbridge will promote the Guangzhou Knowledge City (GKC) project to enable more Singapore-based companies to take advantage of the business opportunities arising from the project.

The GKC, to be built on a 123 sq km site in Guangzhou, is intended as a sustainable city attracting knowledge-based industries and skilled workers. It is a Singapore-China joint enterprise.

Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Lui Tuck Yew, who is also the co-chairman of the Singapore-Guangdong Collaboration Council, launched the programme yesterday.

He said: 'With this programme, Singapore- based companies can enjoy reimbursement on various qualified business development costs when exploring business opportunities in the GKC, and when they partner Singbridge in trade fairs and other marketing activities related to the GKC.'

At the same event, Singbridge signed an agreement with a unit of Wing Tai Holdings to jointly develop the city's first residential project. Singbridge will hold a 60 per cent share in the joint venture and Wing Tai, 40 per cent.

To be developed in phases over five years, the development has a total gross floor area of about 2.88 million sq ft.

About 2,000 eco-homes will be developed in several phases on the site.

Twelve Singaporean small and medium-sized enterprises have also signed agreements with Singbridge to provide products and services for the residential project. These include biofuel systems, fittings and water-proofing works.

Alpha Biofuels is one of three companies among the group doing business in China for the first time. It will be working on a system converting waste to energy.

Its chief executive Allen Lim said participating in the project is not just about gaining exposure in China. 'The most important thing for a start-up company like us is to learn how the China market works and learn from them how their technology works as well, so we can become a company with better technology,' he said.

To date, more than 200 Singapore companies have explored potential business opportunities in the GKC.

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