Neutral Singapore Lures Chinese Tech Behemoths

SINGAPORE – Singapore is poised to house the biggest cluster of Chinese tech companies outside of China thanks to the city-state’s neutrality, political stability, and pro-business environment reported Tech Wire Asia on Monday (21 September).

Last week, Tencent announced plans to set up a regional office for the ASEAN region in Singapore. The tech firm is among China’s biggest internet companies and is also a major provider of online games and eSports in Asia.

Tencent follows the footsteps of other Chinese tech firms that have been establishing operations in Singapore during the last few years. For example, ByteDance and Alibaba have already started running global hubs in the republic.

In particular, ByteDance is considering to pump billions worth of investments in the city-state in the next three years and could possibly hire hundreds of workers over the period.

For at least five years now, tech firms from China have been expanding their footprint in the city-state, revealed JLL’s Head of Capital Markets Research for Asia Pacific, Regina Lim.

“They feel like it (Singapore) is China 15 years ago, and if they made so much money as Chinese internet penetration and e-commerce grew,” she added.

Singapore is on the radar of Chinese companies who are seeking a safe haven in the midst of anti-China sentiments in India due to a border spat as well as intensifying geopolitical tensions with the United States.

For instance, on 6 August, US President Trump signed an executive order banning new downloads of ByteDance’s TikTok app and Tencent’s WeChat on the country’s app stores starting on Sunday midnight (20 September) as these apps could compromise the security of US citizens.

Nonetheless, the TikTok ban was temporarily deferred as Trump gave his blessing to Oracle and Walmart’s joint acquisition of it. A California judge also issued a preliminary injunction against the WeChat ban.

Over in India, 59 Chinese apps including ByteDance’s TikTok were banned by the government in June after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese troops at a disputed border in the Himalayas.

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