Wednesday, 1 April 2015

individual reflection about Suzhou industrial park

I feel that Singapore got the worse end of the deal with china when it agreed upon the Suzhou industrial park. It seemed like a fine idea when Singapore agreed with China in 1994 to build a giant $30 billion industrial park in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou to attract foreign investment to the world's most populous nation.

Five years later, it was heavily in debt due to undermining local officials who set up a rival park close by, forcing Singapore to cut its interests in the original project.
Singapore's senior minister at the time, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew pointed to the difficulties that arose in signing agreements with the central government that were then implemented by local officials who "have their own imperatives."

The China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park, which was intended eventually to become a self-contained manufacturing, urban and high-technology center covering 70 square kilometers was a joint project with the Chinese central government in Beijing. But it ran into trouble when local officials began a rival operation, the Suzhou New District industrial park.

Mr. Lee said the city government was "using us to get investers in, and when investors came in, they said: 'You come to my park, it's cheaper."' 

The park had lost an average of $23.5 million a year since 1994 and that its loss would reached $90 million by the end of 2000.

In June, after it failed to persuade Suzhou officials to throw their weight behind the Singapore-built park, Singapore signed a memorandum of understanding with the government in Beijing under which the majority stake and management control over the park would be transferred from the Singaporean to the Chinese side Jan. 1, 2001.

As a result of this face-saving exercise, Singapore's share in the venture was reduced to 35 percent from 65 percent.
When this took effect in 2001, the park finally turned its first profit. Thus,Singapore was the worse off, having sustained losses throughout while china was raking it in from the SP and using Singaporean expertise. we were effectively back-stabbed by the Chinese. If this incident has taught us anything, its to not trust the Chinese.

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