• Singapore's role in China's One Belt, One Road initiative is to be a trade gateway in Southeast Asia.

Singapore's role in China's One Belt, One Road initiative is to be a trade gateway in Southeast Asia. (Photo : Getty Images)

China's plan to link Europe, the Middle East, and the rest of Asia covers Singapore because it can help expand the country's trade clout not only in the country but also in Southeast Asia.

According to a report from Bloomberg, China is planning to make use of Singapore's familiarity with the region in their "One Belt, One Road" Project to develop connections in the South China Sea where the Middle Kingdom is involved in quite a number of sovereignty squabbles.

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In turn, Singapore is set to benefit from the project if only to bring in more business to the small but thriving nation.

New Silk Road Project

In May, the state-run Xinhua News Agency unveiled Chinese President Xi Jinping's vision on how a new Silk Road could benefit the world in a Chinese-language article titled "How Can the World Be Win-Win? China Is Answering the Question."

Cited by the Diplomat, the Chinese media provided one of the clearest explanations as to what China really envisions by initiating the creation of a New Silk Road via a map featuring the stops and connections of the land-based "New Silk Road" and a "New Maritime Silk Road."

It also revealed the country's vision to weave a trade network where "goods are more abundant and trade is more high-end."

While the Chinese media has not made any mention of Singapore's role in the entire project, recent reports pinpoint a particular role the so-called "Southeast Asian gateway" will be playing in China's big plan.

Singapore's Role in the New Silk Road Project

Talking to Bloomberg, Pacific International Lines Group managing director Teo Siong Seng believes that China needs Singapore in order to be effective in expanding their trade in Southeast Asia.

"Chinese companies alone may not have enough experience to carry out their investments in other countries. To cooperate with companies like us would also make their businesses smoother. They have to learn the way we deal with local people and the way we do business," Teo explained.

Teo, who also serves as the chairman of the Singapore Business Federation, is the son of a man who has been immersed to ancient trading networks of Asia.

Winsway Enterprises Holdings board member Gao Zhikai also believes that it is important for China to have partners in Singapore to succeed in their New Silk Road Initiative.

"From all the failures, Chinese have learned that they need a local broker. Chinese companies believe Singapore companies are easier to deal with and they know how to deal with different markets," Gao explained.