SPEECH BY MS TIN PEI LING
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF BUSINESS CHINA
AT THE FORTUNE TIMES AWARD PRESENTATION CEREMONY
ON 11 DECEMBER 2019
Ms. Annie Song, Editor-in-Chief, Fortune Times
Ladies and Gentlemen
A very good evening to all.
1. I am pleased to join all of you at the Fortune Times Award as well as 15th anniversary celebration of Fortune Times, it has been quite a journey. From Annie’s earlier sharing, we can all feel for the whole Fortune Times team that the entire journey, starting from nothing to becoming something is remarkable. For the Fortune Times award, it is into its 5th year, the award not only celebrates the achievements of entrepreneurs from Singapore and Asia, but also recognises significant contributions they have made to society. I would like to congratulate all winners and extend my appreciation for what you have done for our society.
2. We meet tonight at a time of major, secular shifts in the global economy. Over the past years, the global centre of gravity has shifted towards Asia. With its rapid development, Asia’s GDP growth is projected to increase from 26% in 2000 to 40% in 2030. Asia has favourable conditions for businesses to thrive. Its strong economic fundamentals, huge consumption base and cost competitiveness are attractive to enterprises. Furthermore, recent initiatives such as China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor have encouraged investors and aspiring entrepreneurs to seize opportunities.
3. While there is some ongoing trade tensions between the two largest economies of the world today, and Singapore has not been spared its effects, I believe that the long-term trajectory is still for Asia to continue doing well.
4. Strategically located in the heart of Asia, Singapore seeks to play a significant role in the global economy, to earn our keep by providing excellent service to the world. We have
established ourselves as a reputable regional financial and trading hub, offering a stable business environment, excellent infrastructure and connectivity, political stability as well as a highly educated and skilled workforce. We welcome businesses to set-up headquarters here, benefiting from our unique Global-Asia node status for technology, innovation and enterprise. We have built strong bilateral ties with many countries and enhanced cooperation on many fronts. Taking our ties with China for example, other than maintaining good trade relations, we are involved in China’s regional development strategies, through G-to-G cooperation projects, such as the Suzhou Industrial Park and Chongqing Connectivity Initiative. At the provincial level, as of this year we have formed eight provincial business and economic councils. This speaks volumes of the depth and comprehensiveness of our bilateral cooperation.
5. But even when conditions are favourable in the long term, economic growth will not happen unless there are entrepreneurs to make things happen. Entrepreneurs have to be there to mobilize the other factors of production, take business risks, and seize the opportunities. When times are not so good, or when there are uncertainties, like the present time, entrepreneurs have to figure out how to overcome the challenges and lead their enterprises through the storms.
6. These are difficult roles to play and the entrepreneurs here tonight fully deserve their awards. It is also my wish that the winners treat the awards not just as due recognition for their craft, but also motivation to steer them on to greater heights, as well as encouragement to help mentor future generations of entrepreneurs.
7. The Government, trade associations and business chambers all try to support entrepreneurs and business owners as best as we can. Collectively, we support businesses as start-ups and when they have become more established and looking to venture abroad beyond our shores.
8. It will be useful for me to talk about Business China. Business China is a non-profit organisation, founded by our founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 2007. Back then, the hope of having an organisation like Business China, is to help ensure that Singapore and Singaporeans are ready for a rapidly developing China, and to help cultivate bilingual, bicultural talent. This is so that we are not only able to preserve our multi-cultural heritage, but to strengthen Singapore’s position as the economic and cultural bridge, connecting China and the rest of the world. Today, as times have evolved, we want to cultivate talent that are not only bilingual and bicultural, but more importantly savvy in the different cultures so that we can continue to be an effective bridge connecting the different players around us, whether it is China, ASEAN or beyond. Therefore, apart from cultivating talents who are able to master and be savvy with the cultural and operating environment, Business China hope to find a connector, an integrator and a catalyst to connect the people of Singapore, China and the rest of the world, matching interested parties together so that we can catalyse the whole process of collaboration. Of all of these is to firmly position Singapore as a node, as an inter-locator, as the nexus of the network helping to facilitate collaboration. We grow the pie together and benefit together.
9. As Business China tries to play this role well, we can in our own position do our part to support Singapore. Fortune Times is a magazine that not only looks at Singapore’s issues, it also looks at international affairs from the Singapore lens. I think it is a platform that serves as thought leadership which is able to help spread Singapore’s message and neutral perspective, helping people understand what is happening around us. I hope Fortune Times will also help reinforce our position as a bridge connecting the different parts of the world, through the knowledge, the information and news on your platform. As our winners today are global and have a strong interest in Singapore, ASEAN and Asia. I hope award recipients with the success; will also become the spokesperson and ambassadors, to go out there to spread messages, to help draw attention to the right posts.
10. I also note that tonight’s award presentation ceremony is held in conjunction with the celebration of Fortune Times’ 15th Anniversary. In this point of strength, we are heartened to note that Fortune Times will be introducing two new magazines to their entire portfolio, namely Smart Times and Green Times, both of which focus on urgent environmental issues. Earlier this year at the United Nations assembly, the UN has warned all that if we do not take firm actions, within 11 years we will see irreversible damage to the climate and to the world. Therefore, it is even more urgent for us to take action. All of us has a part to play, but in today’s event context, Fortune Times also has an important role. Hopefully, through the introduction of this new magazines, you will be able to share news, knowledge and also to spread the sense of urgency, to rally more people to share this cause in hope of helping to change behaviours and mindsets, not only within Singapore but also across the region and beyond that. Hopefully, within the 11th year deadline, we are able to create such a positive impact to indeed save the world.
11. On this note, I would once again like to extend my warmest wishes to Fortune Times on this occasion of their 15th anniversary and wish that it will continue to blossom for many years to come. To the winners, my heartiest congratulation.
Thank you and have a great evening.