DPM Heng visits ‘little Singapore’ on China trip, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

DPM Heng visits ‘little Singapore’ on China trip

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He toured a town inspired by Singapore's HDB estates as well as the Tencent HQ

Nestled in the foothills of the provincial capital of China's southern Guangdong province is a little slice of Singapore.

The Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City (SSGKC) is a township dotted with features inspired by Singapore's Housing Board estates.

Footpaths and bicycle paths snake around the area, covered walkways allow pedestrians to walk from their homes and offices to the bus stops and the streets are lined with greenery.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who is on an eight-day working visit to China and was in southern Guangdong province yesterday, toured the SSGKC and was briefed on its development.

Construction is still under way, but Mr Heng was shown facilities that are already operating, including a biotechnology laboratory.

Launched in 2010, the SSGKC is a private-sector project led by Singapore's Ascendas-Singbridge and Chinese state-owned enterprises.

The aim is to build an innovation and knowledge hub in the heart of China's Greater Bay Area, which spans nine cities in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau, by attracting research institutes and talent.

Located about an hour's drive north of Guangzhou, the project is backed by both national governments and was upgraded to a state-level bilateral cooperation project last year.

After the SSGKC visit, Mr Heng met and was hosted to lunch by Guangzhou party secretary Zhang Shuofu, who pointed out that the Deputy Prime Minister was the highest-ranking leader to visit the SSGKC since its status was upgraded in November last year.

During the meeting, both men affirmed the progress of the SSGKC and discussed further areas of cooperation, said Mr Heng's press secretary.

She added that Mr Zhang also welcomed Singapore's participation in the development of the Greater Bay Area.

Later in the day, Mr Heng travelled to Shenzhen, where he visited the headquarters of Chinese tech giant Tencent.

He was briefed on the company's technology and products, including the instant messaging apps QQ and WeChat.

Mr Heng also tried out Tencent's augmented reality technology which is being used in clothing stores. It allows shoppers to "try" on outfits virtually - swopping his business suit for a police uniform.

"I used to be a policeman," he quipped, as the uniform appeared on his avatar.

After the Tencent visit, Mr Heng met Shenzhen party secretary Wang Weizhong.