• Chinese Business in Singapore

Chinese Business in Singapore (Photo : Getty Images)

Singapore is interested in becoming the launch pad for Chinese businesses that want to expand overseas by leveraging on the city-state's reputation in Southeast Asia and its familiarity with business in the region.

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Singapore firms made the offer during a seminar hosted by the Singapore Business Federation and the Singapore Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China, the Straits Times reported.

According to Ching Mia Kuang, managing director of corporate advisory firm Le Yu, Chinese businesses can enter into a joint venture and restructure its operation to enable it to be controlled from Singapore, which will give Chinese businesses a more global image that customers can be comfortable with.

Ching said it would also help eliminate the negative image that some people harbor on Chinese products.

"Structured in Singapore, they could market and promote better, and their customers felt greater confidence because they were now trading and dealing with a company that has internationalized and value-added with a Singapore brand," Ching said.

Data from research firm Dealogic showed that China has overtaken the U.S. in terms of outbound mergers and acquisition volume last year, with deals reaching a total of $226.5 billion ($316 billion), a 500 percent rise from 2009 figure.

Ching added that aside from the image makeover, there are several benefits that a firm can get from being based in Singapore, such as easier access to capital and its extensive international business networks.

In addition to this, Chinese businesses that plan overseas expansion can avail of low taxes in Singapore, which offers the lowest corporate tax rates in the world. They can also benefit from the 130 free trade agreements in the country, including the investments guarantee agreements.

Kong Fern Chiang, managing director of integrated marketing communications firm Four Media, said that having a Singapore partner can be an advantage for a Chinese company entering the Asean markets, since Singaporean firms are more familiar with the culture, language and the social media platforms in the region.

"Advertising in China is very developed, but the style may not work for more conservative countries like Malaysia, and that's where we can advise customers on what works for each market," Kong said.

According to the report, more seminars are being lined up to highlight the industrial park project that Chinese firms can tap. Seven more outreach sessions will be hosted by the Singapore contingent in the coming days in four Chinese cities, which include Beijing, Nanjing, Suzhou and Shanghai.