THE global economic crisis has not derailed the progress of Tianjin eco-city, Singapore's joint venture with the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin.
The 11/2 year-old project to turn a 30 sq km barren plot of land into a buzzing, environmentally friendly city has notched 85 investment deals totalling 14 billion yuan (S$3 billion), Tianjin Mayor Huang Xingguo said at a press conference in Singapore on Monday.
Mr Huang is part of a delegation of Chinese officials, led by China's Vice-Premier Wang Qishan, who are in Singapore for an annual series of high-level bilateral meetings. They wind up their visit today.
The next step for the eco-city is to garner more high-quality investments and to get its management software right, Singapore's National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said at a separate press conference.
'Physically, the eco-city is now beginning to take shape and form. Where before it was just barren land (full of) salt pans, I think now you'll see grass, trees (and) buildings,' said Mr Mah.
Physical hardware aside, both sides also agreed to step up cooperation on softer aspects of the development, such as sharing knowhow relating to the management of public housing.
Mr Mah and Mr Huang are both key players in the development of the Tianjin eco-city, which China and Singapore formally agreed to develop in Nov 2007. They co-chair a joint business council on cooperation between Singapore and Tianjin.
Three of the eco-city's highest-profile deals so far are with major property developers in East Asia: Japan's Mitsui Fudosan, China's Shimao Property Holdings and Taiwan's Farglory Group.
Such high-quality investments will help the eco-city meet its long-term target of creating up to 60,000 jobs over the next decade and providing homes to about 350,000 people.
Source: Strait times