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ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Singapore most needed by China for its Belt and Road Initiative

More than 6,500 Chinese companies have established their presence in the city.

Singapore will be needed by China the most for the implementation of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Knight Frank (KF) said.

According to its New Frontiers report, Singapore ranked first in its Belt and Road Index (BARI) with a score of 69.85 out of 100.

The index is an assessment of a country's economic potential, demographic advantage, infrastructure development, institutional effectiveness, market accessibility, and resilience to natural disasters. The city state beat Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and New Zealand in the rankings.

KF cited that China pumped US3.87b in real estate investments in the city. 

The country has also maintained its status as a key regional financial centre and one of the largest offshore Remnibi (RMB) centres.

KF also cited the city state's strong track record in project financing, with its established ecosystem of insurance, legal and arbitration expertise.

This also led to its score of 87.69 in terms of institutional effectiveness.

Meanwhile, Singapore scored 44.90 in demographic advantage.

Singapore registered the lowest score in economic potential with 48.92.

KF said it is strategically located at the crossroads of East and West, and along the BRI’s 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The country can also expand its role as a global logistics and transportation hub along the corridor.

According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, more than 6,500 Chinese companies have established their presence in the city, almost twice the number of companies compared with five years ago.

The BRI could also be a substantial new boost to Singapore’s external growth initiative. China remains the top expansion destination for Singapore companies. In recent years, more Singapore enterprises and projects have embraced BRI-related policies and platforms to access the Chinese market.

Singapore scored 78.55 in terms of infrastructure development. KF cited the fact that 60% of ASEAN infrastructure projects are mainly financed by Singapore-based banks.

Moreover, the Lion City scored 100 in terms of market accessibility and 98.77 in resilience to natural disasters.

The report said, "Not only has Singapore the required synergy and connectivity with China and the other BRI countries, but it is also armed with an unprecedented depth of resources and expertise to facilitate the continuous development of BRI, including masterplanning, logistics and financing."

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