Resilient China's economy helps lift all boats

Updated: 2011-12-26 10:12


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Deepening cooperation

Chinese Ambassador to Singapore Wei Wei said that the cooperation between China and Singapore on the government level has been deepened, as it expanded from the country's relatively developed southern part to the north regions, and from the coastal areas to the inland provinces over the past two decades.

The bilateral cooperation has been steadily moving from manufacturing industry to the development of green economy.

Still many other projects were inaugurated in recent years such as the Nanjing Eco High-tech Island and the Guangzhou Knowledge City in the south, as well as the Jilin Food Zone in the north and the Singapore-Sichuan Hi-tech Innovation Park in the western city of Chengdu.

Singapore leaders like former prime minister Goh Chok Tong has called on local companies to ride on China's economic growth.

China accounted for about 20 percent of the 193 billion Singapore dollars ($151 billion) investment portfolio of Singapore's sovereign wealth fund Temasek, who appointed Ding Wei, a former senior management member of China International Capital Corporation, to head its China team earlier this year.

"Please remember that China is our leading investment destination and we are still looking for opportunities there," said Nagi Hamiyeh, Temasek's managing director for investment.

The Chinese unit of DBS saw a rise of 160 percent in its net profit in the first half, was also quickly expanding into many cities across China. Group chairman Peter Seah said that the bank would like to explore the potentials of the "the consumer market particularly in the mass affluent sector."

China factor

Glenn Levine, senior economist with Moody's Analytics, said in a recent report that "China's rise lifts everyone in Asia". He said that he was upbeat about the Asia Pacific economies across the medium term, and that "China, the number-one export market for almost every country in Asia, is the main reason".

Besides a powerful exporter, China is also a quickly growing source of tourists.

The Singapore Tourism Board kicked off its customized marketing campaign in Beijing in early December, targeting Chinese tourists who are "increasingly traveling as free, independent travelers" while they "still come on packaged tours."

Singapore is not the only economy benefiting from China's growth. The Australian economy surprised many recently with a growth of one percent in the third quarter, and the demand for resources from the industrializing economies of China as well as India were widely believed to be a key support factor.

South Korean machinery exporters are riding the investment cycle, automakers in Japan and South Korea sell cars to the rising Chinese consumer, and Australia was driven by its demand for resources, he said.

The World Bank also said in its latest economic updates that resource-rich countries like Indonesia and Mongolia are benefiting from China's growth, too.

Growing importer

Levine said China is heading for a soft landing in 2012, as economic growth expected to slow from 9.5 percent in the first half of 2011 towards 8 percent by mid-2012 on weaker export growth and slightly softer domestic demand, especially investment. Nevertheless, this is exactly what policymakers have been targeting -- a slowdown in export and investment growth with a steady rebalancing towards domestic demand.

The World Bank, which projects a soft landing for China, also said that China's demand for imported consumer goods has been increasing.

Bert Hofman, the bank's chief economist for East Asia and Pacific, said he saw a shift in the demand pattern of China so that the country is increasingly important as a market for final consumer goods, though it is not yet big enough to make up for the loss in consumer demand from the developed markets.

China's trade balance with developing East Asia improved in East Asia's favor during the recovery, too, Hofman said.

"China's imports grew more quickly than China's exports. So it does mean a bit of an improvement in the current account. It also means an opportunity for the rest of East Asia to increasingly export goods to China. Within the rapidly growing imports, you also see consumer demand, final consumer demand over consumer goods, is increasing from China," he said.

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