Honoured for contributing to S'pore-China ties

Mr Thomas Chua Kee Seng, president of Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

A prominent master planner-architect, a singer-songwriter and a local business chamber have all been honoured for contributing to Singapore-China ties.

Now in its fifth year, the Business China awards were jointly presented by Business China and OCBC Bank at a gala dinner at the Shangri-La Singapore last night to recognise businessmen, professionals and organisations.

The Business China Excellence award went to Dr Liu Thai Ker, Singapore's "father of urban planning" who has shared Singapore's urban development experience with China since the 1980s. He is also a planning adviser to more than 30 cities in China.

"I believe this is the first time they have given the award to a professional, instead of a businessman or entrepreneur. I'm more than happy to be recognised for my contributions to bring China and Singapore together through my profession.

This award won't go unnoticed by Singapore and Chinese developers and government officials. I hope I will continue to have inquiries from these people to help them with projects in China," Dr Liu, 76, told The Straits Times.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean described Dr Liu as a "front runner" in helping deepen collaboration in services between the two countries.

"In the first half of 2014, Singapore had become China's third largest foreign trading partner for trade in services.

As we develop higher value-added services in areas including urban solutions, logistics and information and communications technology, our companies can seize opportunities in these areas, and create a 'win-win' situation for both countries," Mr Teo said at the awards.

The Business China Young Achiever award went to JJ Lin, 33, an influential figure in the Chinese pop music scene.

Mr Teo said he hopes the success and popularity of Mr Lin will "inspire many more of our young people to learn the language well, and to spark off more such modern cultural exchanges between our young people".

The Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI), which won the Business China Enterprise award, has helped Singapore businesses by tapping its extensive networks in China.

For instance, the International Enterprise-SCCCI Singapore Enterprise Centre in Shanghai provides a one-stop service centre to help Singapore's small and medium-sized enterprises develop market contacts, competencies and knowledge in China, Mr Teo said.

Business China was set up in 2007 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's father, former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, and former Chinese premier Wen Jiabao to create a network for Singaporeans who can connect to China economically and culturally.


This article was first published on Nov 19, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.