Belt and Road Initiative

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an infrastructure and economic development strategy launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, with the aim of connecting 65 countries across three continents via China. In Southeast Asia, China wants to develop infrastructure along the naval trading route called the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road”. With MOUs signed between IE Singapore (now Enterprise Singapore) and five key Chinese banks in 2016 and 2017, Singapore companies have access to financing and collaboration opportunities with their Chinese counterparts for infrastructure, logistics, and many other projects in the region.

Interested in capturing opportunities along the Belt and Road Initiative? Our Group Markets Executive Director for China, Ho Chee Hin, explains why partnerships will be key for Singapore companies. Read here.


Digital economy leader

China’s rising digital economy was worth US$3.35 billion in 2016, accounting for 30.3% of GDP1. The country also accounts for over 40% of global e-commerce transaction value, with US$1.9 trillion worth of transactions in 20162. There is great potential for Chinese and Singapore organisations to co-develop and implement new technology solutions in China, ASEAN and beyond.


Diverse opportunities

China has set a ‘mid-high’ GDP growth target of 6.5% in 2018 to leave room for quality growth3. While China is unlikely to enjoy the double-digit growth rates of previous decades, provinces and cities outside traditional powerhouses such as Beijing and Shanghai still abound with opportunities for Singapore firms.

China is economically very diverse, with regions in different stages of development and having different needs. China’s focus on urbanisation, domestic consumption and the digital economy presents many opportunities, especially in second and third-tier cities. There is potential in infrastructure, technology, as well as consumer lifestyle industries such as education, healthcare and professional services.

Find out how we can help you open the right doors in China.

For SMEs ready to venture to China, talk to the ESG-SCCCI Singapore Enterprise Centre (ESSEC), a one-stop business services centre.



1: Ministry of Industry and Information Technology

2: McKinsey report, 2017

3: BBC



23 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities

Population: 1.4 billion (est. July 2017)

Ease of Doing Business Ranking:

78th (2017)

Economic Freedom Ranking:

111th (2017)

Trading Partner Ranking: 1st

Bilateral Trade:

$117.2 billion (2016)

Source: CIA World Factbook

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Beijing is the capital of China and is governed as a directly-controlled municipality under the national government, with 14 urban and suburban districts and two rural counties.

Population: 21.7 million


Source: Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics, 2015


Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan province in Southwest China. It holds sub-provincial administrative status.

Population: 14.7 million

Source: Statistical Bureau of Sichuan, 2015


Chongqing is a major city in Southwest China and one of the country’s five national central cities. Administratively, it is one of four direct-controlled municipalities, and the only such municipality in inland China.

Population: 18.38 million

Source: Urban population, 2015


Dalian is a major city and seaport in the south of Liaoning province, Northeast China. It is surrounded by the Yellow Sea to the east and the Bohai Sea to the west and south.

Population: 6.7 million


Source: 2010 census


Guangzhou is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province. One of the five national central cities, it holds the sub-provincial administrative status.

Population: 13.5 million

Source: Guangzhou Statistics Bureau, 2015


Qingdao is a major city in eastern Shandong province, Eastern China. Its built-up area comprises six urban districts and four county-level cities.

Population: 9.20 million


Source: Qingdao Statistics Bureau, 2016


Shanghai is the largest city by population in China as well as in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities of the PRC.

Population: 24.15 million

Source: Shanghai Statistics Bureau, 2015


Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province and the most populous city in Central China. It lies east of the Jianghan Plain.

Population: 10.6 million (2015)


Xi'an is the capital of Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city. Xi'an lies on the Guanzhong Plain in the south-central part of Shaanxi province, on a flood plain created by the eight surrounding rivers and streams.

Population: 8.7 million