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New initiatives to help Singapore firms access innovation network, infrastructure opportunities across Asean, China

A PLATFORM connecting corporates with technology startups and a private-sector committee to help Singapore firms tap infrastructure opportunities are among the initiatives being launched at the two-day FutureChina Global Forum and Singapore Regional Business Forum, which began on Monday.

The forum brings together the flagship events of Business China and the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) respectively, for the first time. 

The Singapore-China Open Innovation Platform will promote collaboration across a network that includes government agencies, large corporates, startup communities including institutes of higher learning, venture capital players and manufacturers, across Singapore, China and Asean.

The SBF Infrastructure Committee aims to complement the efforts of government-led Infrastructure Asia. It will have an initial focus on projects in four sectors - utilities, transport, telecommunications and the built environment - across Asean and South Asia.

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At Monday's opening ceremony, Business China launched the FutureChina Regional Executive Programme to train talent from Singapore, China and Asean, with a focus on the Belt and Road. It also signed several memoranda of understanding to provide internship opportunities for Singaporeans in China.

Asean is one of the key topics in the joint forum. In his opening speech at the event, guest-of-honour Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean laid out how Asean-China cooperation can be strengthened, based on three key principles of global interaction: commitment to an inter-connected world, to open and free trade, and to international law.

He highlighted opportunities such as the Master Plan on Asean Connectivity 2025 - suggesting that China's Belt and Road initiative could play a role in the plan - and the Asean Smart Cities Network, encouraging Chinese and Asean-based companies to reach out to the 26 pilot cities for collaborations.