Four Singapore firms invest $127m in Tianjin
Water company Hyflux is set to emerge as a major player in the city
TIANJIN - FOUR Singapore companies this week unveiled logistics and waste-water treatment projects in the rising north-eastern Chinese manufacturing hub of Tianjin, with total investment of about $127 million.
The companies include Singapore-based logistics firm YCH Group, which yesterday opened a $25 million logistics park linked to Tianjin Airport. The 5.2ha park is its second facility in Tianjin in three years.
Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan witnessed the opening during a four-day trip to Tianjin, organised by IE Singapore.
He also attended ground-breaking ceremonies for two other projects - with the third due to be held today.
Located just 150km from the capital Beijing, Tianjin's port and sprawling industrial parks were earmarked two years ago by Beijing as the prime mover of growth in northern China.
Singapore companies have been quick to move into Tianjin, and Singapore is now the seventh-largest foreign investor there.
'Our investment affirms our strong belief in Tianjin's growth potential,' YCH chairman and chief executive Robert Yap said yesterday, citing low start-up costs and municipal government incentives among other things.
Water company Hyflux is also set to emerge as a major player in the city, where observers say manufacturing-related services such as logistics, infrastructure design and utilities management are greatly in demand.
Hyflux will have a ground- breaking ceremony today for a waste-water treatment and water- recycling plant being built in Tianjin's Beichen district.
With an initial project value of $38.5 million, it is Hyflux's third project in the municipality. Its other projects include a $155 million desalination plant, now being constructed in partnership with the Tianjin Dagang district government.
Two other Singapore companies active in China, SembCorp Utilities and logistics firm CWT, yesterday laid the groundwork for their first projects in Tianjin.
SembCorp Utilities has set aside $13.8 million as initial investment in a waste-water treatment plant in Lingang, a relatively new industrial area in Tianjin.
CWT is also all set to build a 110,000 sq m, five-storey warehouse and a 40,000 sq m container depot in Tianjin, worth $50 million.
Speaking to the Singapore media yesterday afternoon, Mr Mah noted that Tianjin's huge industrial areas are 'several times the size of Singapore and present a lot of opportunities for us'.
'The main thing for Singapore companies is to try and get in now as they are developing. If we don't act fast, the window of opportunity will be closed,' he said.
In Tianjin, Singapore cannot compete with countries such as Japan and South Korea in terms of huge manufacturing and investment volume.
However, the Republic can make the most of its strengths in utilities and infrastructure services, other Singapore officials said.
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