The Thai subsidiary of Chongqing Hongjiu Fruit Co. Limited obtained a 3-million-U.S. dollar loan from Standard Chartered Bank (Thailand) in June 2022, and the money has been used to expand the company's fruit business.
"The loan has been mainly used to import fresh fruits from Thailand. It has played a crucial role in enhancing our purchasing capacity and expanding the market. Meanwhile, it has further benefited Thai fruit growers, as they have broader access to export their fruits and to gain more profits from exporting," said Deng Hongjiu, chairman of the fruit company based in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.
The financing project was facilitated under the framework of the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity, which was launched in 2015. Financial service is one of the key areas of cooperation under the framework.
Data released at the fifth China-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative Financial Summit, which closed on Friday, showed that as of March this year, a total of 19.6-billion-U.S. dollar in cross-border financing projects had been implemented under the framework over the preceding seven years. Such cross-border financing projects were scattered across more than 10 provinces and municipalities in China, including Chongqing, Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou.
Held in China's Chongqing Municipality and Singapore simultaneously from April 20 to 21, the summit focused on new missions for financial centers and new momentum for financial opening up. It aimed to provide forward-looking views and policy guidelines for quality financial cooperation between China and Singapore, as well as new areas of financial cooperation between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Cross-border financial services under the framework have also provided new opportunities for the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, a trade and logistics passage jointly built by western Chinese provincial regions and ASEAN members.
"A financial service platform for the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor has been co-established by the Chinese side and Singaporean side, which has been providing convenient and low-cost financial services for logistics, trade and manufacturing enterprises," said Liu Wei, director of the coordination center for logistics and operation of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor.
Through financial support, the development of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor has taken off.
Data from the center showed that, from January to March, 36,000 TEUs, with a value of 5.56 billion yuan (808.7 million U.S. dollars), were transported along the trade corridor via Chongqing, up 39 percent and 25 percent year on year, respectively.
The trade corridor reaches 393 ports in 119 countries and regions.
Apart from fruits from Thailand, more and more agricultural products from Laos and Cambodia, as well as seafood from Vietnam, have entered the vast Chinese market through the trade corridor.
"Enhancing financial cooperation and connectivity is an important part of promoting ASEAN-China economic integration. More connected financial ecosystems across the region will help businesses by lowering transaction costs, improving their access to financing, and making it easier for businesses to manage risks and their finances," said Josephine Teo, Singapore's minister for communications and information and second minister for home affairs, at the summit via an online speech.
"All these will have a positive effect on increasing trade flows and cross-border investments in new projects, and help realize the immense potential of our region," she added.
Ruan Lu, director of the Chongqing Local Financial Supervision and Administration Bureau, said the cooperation between Chongqing and Singapore has promoted the connectivity between the western regions of China and ASEAN members.
Chongqing and Singapore are expected to further strengthen financial cooperation and explore higher-level cross-border financial services in the future, Ruan said.