Published on 26 Nov 2020

Lien China Development Forum 2020 Explores How Singapore and China Can Join Hands to Enhance Regional Cooperation and Support China's "Dual-circulation" Strategy



On 20 November 2020, the Lien Ying Chow Legacy Fellowship at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE) jointly organised the Lien China Development Forum 2020. Due to the COVID-19 situation, the forum was held online for the first time. It was hosted by the Lien Ying Chow Legacy Fellowship.

Themed “China-Singapore Fostering Collaboration on China’s Dual Circulation Strategy”, the full-day forum consisted of two segments: keynote speeches and panel discussion. The panel discussion was organised into four main topics, namely, promoting the development of dual circulation through the domestic cycles, building the Belt and Road Initiative and promoting the international cycle, improving market structure and stimulating domestic demand, and intensifying the implementation of innovation driven strategies to boost high quality economic development.

After the welcome address by Professor Liu Hong, Director of NTU’s Nanyang Centre for Public Administration (NCPA) and Executive Director of Lien Ying Chow Legacy Fellowship, Mr Lui Tuck Yew, Singapore’s Ambassador to China and Member of the Lien Ying Chow Legacy Fellowship Council, gave the opening address. The keynote speakers were Mr Wei Jianguo, former Deputy Minister of Commerce and former Vice Chairman of CCIEE; Dr Han Fangming, Vice Chairman, Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Committee, CPPCC and Lien Fellow; and Mr Tan Kiat How, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, and the Ministry of National Development, Singapore. More than 20 speakers from government organisations, institutes of higher learning and private enterprises presented at the forum.

In his welcome address, Professor Liu Hong said that the Lien China Development Forum, which is held in China every two years, is a high-end platform for multiple exchanges for Lien Fellows. He remarked that despite the forum is held online this year, it has successfully attracted wide participation from Lien Fellows from Singapore and China, policymakers and practitioners. The focus of this year's forum is on China’s “dual circulation” strategy, and the discussion will centre on how Singapore and China can cooperate in the development of this new strategy and achieve a win-win situation for both countries.

Prof Liu Hong giving his welcome address

In his opening address, Mr Lui Tuck Yew said that a notable feature of the 30 years of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China was that the cooperation between the two countries has been to conform to China's macro strategy and launch cooperation projects that boost China's development. These include industrialisation, sustainable and eco-friendly urbanisation, the construction of knowledge and smart cities, and the interconnectivity of modern services. The cooperation between Singapore and China in the previous three decades has kept pace with the times. It is thus natural for Singapore to be a partner of China's “dual circulation” strategy. He believed that Singapore would be able to find opportunities for cooperation, deepening mutual collaboration, and benefitting from China's new macro development strategy.

Dr Han Fangming believed that Singapore plays an irreplaceable role in the relations between China and ASEAN countries and the internationalisation of Chinese enterprises. China's massive market is an indispensable place for Singapore to seek long-term development. Commenting on China’s quick recovery from COVID-19, Mr Tan Kiat How anticipated that broad prospects could be expected from the cooperation between Singapore and China in the post-COVID-19 era.

The speakers generally believed that China’s “dual circulation” strategy is in line with the general trend of world economic development. Today, amidst growing sentiments of unilateralism and anti-globalisation, the world economic structure has become more complex. China is not only the connecting hub of the value cycle of the world's major economies, but it is also a new global demand centre. China’s “dual circulation” strategy, though dominated by the domestic economic cycle, is by no means a closed-loop. Instead, it facilitates the interactions between domestic and foreign markets to boost each other. On the other hand, it is clear that the trend of the world economy is gravitating towards the east, and the Asian value chain network has become the "central" of the global value chain network. The establishment of a new development pattern of "dual circulation" will provide new opportunities for cooperation between China and Singapore. Both countries can look to more innovative ways of cooperation and broaden cooperation channels. The world economy can expect more significant potential for development in the post-COVID-19 era.


Mr Tan Kiat How giving his keynote speech

Clockwise from left: Dr Zhang Monan, Principal Investigator, Institute of American and European Studies, CCIEE; Ms. Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore; Ms. Lin Xi, Managing Director, China International Capital Corporation (Singapore) Pte. Ltd; Dr Miao Lu, Secretary General/Co-Founder, Center for China & Globalization; and Dr Yang Yi, Deputy Director-General, China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity Administrative Bureau.

Clockwise from left: Dr Zhang Yongjun, Deputy Chief Economist, CCIEE; Dr Liu Xiangdong, Deputy Director, Department of Economic Studies, CCIEE; Goh Sin Teck, Editor, Lianhe Zaobao; Mr Ni Yangping, Chairman, China Youth Travel Service; Mr Tay Choon Chong, Managing Partner, Vertex Ventures China.

Clockwise from left: Dr Ma Rongbao, President, CICC Techgin Investment (CTI) Fund, CICC; Prof Li Peng, Director, Division of Science of Economics, Department of Economics, Party School of the Central Committee of C.P.C; Dr Cao Ziwei, Vice President (Strategy), Xiaomi Financial Service, Xiaomi Technology Co., Ltd; Mr Douglas Foo, President, Singapore Manufacturing Federation.

NCPA also introduced two new books at the forum. They were The Logic of Transnational Governance and Asian Practices by Prof Liu Hong and International Talent Management and Higher Education Governance: The Singapore Experience and Its Implications by Prof Liu Hong and Prof Li Guangzhou.

The two books focus on three common threads. First, the impact of the rise of Asia on the global governance model and economic development model since the end of the last century; second, China’s development model and Singapore’s transformation from a tiny third-world country into a prosperous first-world nation; and third, the role of talent strategy in the rise of Asia.

The book launch was hosted by Dr Foo Suan Fong, Executive Director, Singapore Centre for Chinese Language. The commentators were Dr Han Fangming, Vice Chairman, Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Committee, CPPCC; and Mr Chan Soo Sen, former Minister of State, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Trade & Industry, Singapore.

Clockwise from left: Prof Liu Hong, Dr Han Fangming, Dr Foo Suan Fong and Mr Chan Soo Sen.

The commentators believed that both books are theoretical summaries of the pedagogical practices of Prof Liu Hong and faculty members and students of NCPA. The books interpreted the practices of cross-border governance in the rise of Asia from a macro level, using NTU Singapore as a case study. Both commentators gave their high recommendation on the books.

The day-long forum was a success, attracting more than 400 participants from Singapore and China.