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ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Singapore start-ups in Beijing get fresh government backing

Entrepreneurs venturing into the popular Chinese investment hub can consult with the new overseas chapter of the ACE.

The Action Community for Entrepeneurship will open its first Overseas Chapter in Beijing, which is dedicated to building networking opporturnities for homegrown businesses that have and are planning to expand in Beijing.

It will also strive to provide a mentorship platform to ensure a better success rate for start-ups launching in the competitive market. Entrepreneurs will also soon be provided with shared resources, which range from working spaces to full facilities.

“Start-ups may start local, but should always think global," says Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Trade and Industry and ACE Chairman. "The ACE Beijing Chapter aims to promote a vibrant community of entrepreneurs, professionals and local partners. In addition to providing networking opportunities with this community, ACE Beijing Chapter will facilitate Singapore entrepreneurs’ access to resources, mentors and investors. Given Singapore’s small domestic market, entrepreneurs should seize opportunities to internationalise and make this part of their growth strategy right from the early stages of their business development. It is also imperative for them to do so, to sustain growth in the longer term.”

"China is the largest market in the world in many categories. As the key city for many sectors such as technology, media and telecommunications, Beijing is a natural magnet for entrepreneurs. ACE Beijing provides a 'by Singaporeans, for Singaporeans' softlanding platform where mentors and entrepreneurs can sharpen their ideas and execution, thus improving their chances of success. We hope to eventually replicate this model in other cities," says Mr James Tan, Chairperson of the ACE Overseas Chapter sub-committee.

Mr Tan will lead the ACE Beijing Chapter, bringing his experience as the co-founder of one of China’s largest group buying sites, 55tuan.com, which has a presence in more than 100 Chinese cities. He is also the Managing Partner of QuestVC, a venture capital firm, which invests in start-ups at the angel investing stage.

Other members of the Singapore entrepreneurship community based in Beijing who will pitch in as start-up mentors include Mr Ong Peng Tsin, Chairman of Infocomm Investment Pte Ltd; Mr Jui Tan, Partner of BlueRun Ventures China; Mr David Boh, Chief Representative of Asiatravel.com and Ms Sheu Ay Shin, General Manager of Ascendas.

"Each member of this community brings with him or her a wealth of experience and an established network of contacts to help Singapore start-ups venture into China," said ACE in a release.

"Beyond providing mentorship and network opportunities, the ACE Beijing Chapter will also be partnering NUS Enterprise Incubator (NEI) and QuestAccelerator, a start-up accelerator based in Beijing. The incubation initiative, which will be available by September this year, aims to provide Singapore start-ups with shared resources such as space and facilities, on top of access to ACE’s network of mentors, entrepreneurs and partners," it added.

“From the beginning, we have made overseas expansion part of our growth strategy. The launch of the ACE Beijing Chapter is especially timely because Gcorelab is ready to venture into China. The ACE Beijing Chapter will be a critical link between Singapore start-ups targeting the global market, such as ourselves, and the networks in China. I believe start-ups will be better-equipped to navigate the market with support from ACE and the community of Singapore entrepreneurs who already have a presence there,” Says Mr Ray Kung, Chief Executive Officer of Gcorelab, which develops thermal management systems for electric vehicles.

"China presents attractive business opportunities. With rapid urbanisation and a growing middle-class, demand for products and quality services in China is rising. Singapore companies can expect opportunities in a wide-range of sectors from urban solutions, transport and logistics, to education, healthcare, retail and F&B," said ACE.

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