HO CHI MINH CITY: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday (Mar 21) hailed Singapore's strong business ties with Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) as he arrived in Vietnam's commercial hub to kick off a four-day visit.
Singapore is the top foreign investor in the city. Official estimates count 937 projects worth more than US$10 billion (S$14 billion) combined, largely focused on the real estate sector. Developers such as Keppel Land, Mapletree and CapitaLand have made visible footprints on the city's landscape over the years.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong received by Le Thanh Liem, vice chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, at Tan Son Nhat Airport. (Photo: MCI)
During the day, Mr Lee met with Ho Chi Minh City's second-in-command, People's Committee chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong, and discussed priority areas for cooperation.
Mr Lee said Singapore is keen to expand investments in Ho Chi Minh City and is also happy to share its experience in urban planning and management. Mr Phong welcomed this and said HCMC authorities will continue to offer a conducive operating environment for investors.
Mr Lee also met with members of the Singapore community in HCMC at an evening reception.
Updating the overseas Singaporeans on domestic developments, Mr Lee said Singapore's economy is going through a transformation and "one that is not easy to make".
"If we are to prosper, we have to be able to go overseas, (seek) adventure and take opportunities and uncertainties, and grab what's happening in the region around us," Mr Lee said, citing findings of a recent report by the Committee on the Future Economy.
"A lot of things are happening in the region around us, in Vietnam, in Indochina, in Indonesia (and) Malaysia," he added.
Mr Lee paid tribute to overseas Singaporeans who have taken the plunge and ventured out. "The fact that you're all here shows the adventure spirit in Singapore is alive and well."
There are an estimated 3,000 Singaporeans living and working in Vietnam, the majority of them in Ho Chi Minh City.
Nearly 300 members of the Singapore community in Vietnam attended the gathering, including entrepreneurs, professionals, social workers, students and families with young children.