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Building bridges through business
OVER the years, Keppel Corporation has contributed to strengthening ties between Singapore and China through its various businesses on the mainland. Notably, the diversified conglomerate is the leader of the Singapore consortium for two high-level government-to-government projects between Singapore and China - the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) and the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City.
SIP is today one of China's most successful townships while Tianjin Eco-City is a model for sustainable urbanisation for other cities in the country. The latter has attracted investments of more than 55 billion yuan.
Since 2009, more than 10,000 homes in Tianjin Eco-City were successfully launched by developers from different countries, including Keppel Land, the property arm of Keppel Corporation.
Keppel's relationship with China spans more than three decades, starting with its first venture in Shekou, Guangdong in 1984, its offshore and marine arm Keppel FELS, led a Singapore consortium in a joint venture to support an offshore oil exploration in the South China Sea. Today, it has operations across 25 cities in China in the property development, infrastructure and logistics and as well as offshore and marine sectors.
"Keppel's distinct blend of diversified businesses and capabilities allow us to contribute to sustainable urbanisation in China, whether in quality housing, energy, environmental engineering or logistics," said Loh Chin Hua, CEO of Keppel Corporation.
"Through sharing our experience, expertise and technologies, Keppel has grown with China, which has become a key market for the group."
While he acknowledged the challenges of operating in a foreign market like China, Mr Loh noted that Keppel has established a strong track record and good relations with its Chinese partners.
Among other partnerships, it has formed strategic joint ventures with various Chinese companies, such as Vanke and Sinotrans.
"These allow us to leverage their deep insights and keen knowledge of the Chinese market to further grow our operations there. We have also built strong teams in the various cities, which enable us to execute our projects well, and at the same time build win-win partnerships with our local partners," said Mr Loh.
As the world's second largest economy, China will continue to be a key market for Keppel even as growth slows down. As such, the group will look to identify and seize opportunities in the Chinese market and leverage its strong competencies to offer solutions for the country's rapid urbanisation.
"Today, the Chinese economy is growing at a slower but in my view more sustainable pace. Even at the current lower growth rate, China's absolute growth is still very significant based on a much larger US$11.3 trillion economy, compared with the situation five or 10 years ago," said Mr Loh.
"We remain very confident about China's potential and are excited to continue participating in China's growth," he added.