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Building ties over the years

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 05:50

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The BOC Singapore branch has played a key part in promoting Singapore as an offshore renminbi centre.

Professor Wang Gungwu - Business China Excellence Award

FOR many decades now, the go-to expert on China affairs in Singapore has been Wang Gungwu. The internationally renowned educator and scholar has a long career studying Chinese politics, migration, nationalism and the overseas Chinese diaspora.

His many contributions to Singapore-China relations saw him receive this year's Business China Excellence Award.

"As the pioneer in the field of Overseas Chinese Studies, his academic research and studying methods has great impact on researchers who later venture into the field, and strengthened Singapore's position as an independent resource centre on China news and developments," the award citation says.

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Notably, he has promoted understanding of China to those who are better versed in English in both Singapore and abroad through his writings. Prof Wang, 86, continues to share his insight into China by speaking at forums and penning commentaries in the opinion section of The Straits Times.

In an article last month in The Straits Times, he wrote about the increasingly complex relations between Singapore and China in recent times.

"Singapore's relations with China are now complicated by the growing rivalry between China and the US. China feels that its vital maritime interests are vulnerable to US pressures while the US sees China as a threat to its hegemony," he wrote.

Later in the article he noted: "It would not be in Singapore's interest for China to doubt its friendship. To counter that possibility, the government cannot do it alone but must involve its citizens, especially those of Chinese descent, to prevent misunderstanding from growing into distrust."

Prof Wang, who obtained his PhD in Chinese history from the School of Oriental and African studies, University of London, is a professor at the National University of Singapore and Emeritus Professor of Australian National University. He is also chairman of the governing board at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at NUS, a position that he will be stepping down from in March 2017 after 12 years.

Bank of China - Business China Enterprise Award

Since its establishment 81 years ago, the Singapore branch of the Bank of China (BOC) has grown its presence to provide a full range of financial services to its customers here and in the region.

The Singapore branch was granted a full banking licence in 2012, and since then, it has played a key part in promoting the Republic as an offshore renminbi centre. It is the largest RMB integrated services provider in Singapore and the Singapore Exchange's biggest RMB currency futures market maker.

Beyond banking, BOC Singapore branch acted as a proxy for high-level interactions between Singapore and China before the formalisation of diplomatic ties between the two countries in 1990. Today, it continues to actively promote bilateral economic and trade relations between both countries.

In 2010, Fullerton Financial Holdings, a unit of Temasek Holdings, and BOC came together in a joint venture to establish the BOC Fullerton Community Bank in various regions in China. And in 2013, BOC Singapore branch signed a memorandum of understanding to provide financial support to Singapore companies who were keen to invest in Tianjin Eco-City.

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