SHANGHAI: As China pushes for a more open economy, companies in Shanghai can use Singapore as a platform to support their outward expansion along the Belt and Road, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday (Apr 11) during a meeting with Politburo Member and Shanghai Party Secretary Li Qiang.
Prime Minister Lee called on Mr Li in Shanghai on the fourth day of his five-day visit to China.
During the meeting, Mr Lee noted the developments in Shanghai since his last trip in 2010 when he visited the World Expo. The Shanghai leader briefed Mr Lee on the Chinese city's role in the Yangtze River Delta integration efforts and the development of the economic belt along the delta.
"In the Yangtze River Delta region, people always say Shanghai is the biggest port or the biggest hub," said Mr Li.
"The defining feature of Shanghai is its openness, just like Singapore which has always been regarded by us as our role model. We want to open our doors to the rest of the world," he added.
To that, Mr Lee said: "I'm very happy to be back and to see Shanghai has developed, progressed further and with many ambitious opportunities not only to push ahead on its own but also with the rest of the Yangtze River Delta and the rest of China, and as part of the Belt and Road."
Mr Lee and the Shanghai Party Secretary agreed that both Singapore and Shanghai can do more to strengthen cooperation in many areas, such as education, science and technology, healthcare and medical research, financial services as well as urban planning and management.
One other area, Mr Li said, is the exchange between the Chinese in Singapore and China.
"We always say that the amity between people holds the key to national friendships. So we believe there is a lot for us to achieve in this area. The Chinese community accounts for about 70 per cent of the total population of Singapore ... We must appeal to the emotional affinity among the people," Mr Li said.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Lee visited digital energy company Envision Energy where he looked at projects related to the application of Internet of Things and energy management systems including those with Singapore firms Keppel and Sunseap.
On this trip, Mr Lee also met with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan and Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing, as well as President Xi Jinping in Boao, Hainan. On Thursday, Mr Lee will attend the DBS Asian Insights Conference.