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Singapore-Yunnan investments set to grow local cold chain, flower industries

By Jeana Wong, Channel NewsAsia
Companies from Singapore and the Chinese province of Yunnan are tying up to bring flowers and other fresh produce to international markets.

Singapore's growing trade ties with Yunnan were given a boost on Friday when three Memorandum of Understanding agreements amounting to some S$20m were signed.

One of the projects unveiled at the Yunnan-ASEAN investment seminar on Friday involves homegrown specialised logistics services provider Trans-Link.

It is investing some S$8m over the next two years to set up freight and logistics operations with a cold chain focus in Yunnan's Gaoxin bonded warehouse. Yunnan officials say Singapore's technical know-how, and business management skills will give its many agricultural exports easier access to international markets.

"It's fundamental that we improve the entire distribution and sales process for our agricultural products. This includes improving and completing the cold chain system. Singapore's world-class transport and logistics infrastructure, and Yunnan's rich agricultural products will complement each other," said Kong Chuizhu, Vice-Governor, Government of Yunnan Province.

The tie-up is expected to help boost the local flower industry.

"Through certification of products that come out of Singapore, which increases the value proposition and the value to the customers overseas and better handling of the product, we see good opportunities for branding. All these factors will allow the growth of the flower industry in Singapore and to build a name for Singapore internationally as well," said Royson Wong, Deputy Group MD, Trans-Link Express.

The other part to scaling up Singapore's flower industry is to create a flower exchange or a marketplace where international players can gather to buy and sell.

One of the agreements signed involves putting up an initial investment of S$2m to set up such an exchange." Industry players say they are considering various trading mechanisms such as the Dutch or open auctions to be located in Singapore.

"We haven't decided on the best method for us. We don't want to be a copycat - we just want to make sure that whatever we do decide on best fits Singapore and Asia," said Loi Pok Yen, Group CEO, CWT.

Singapore's flower export industry is now worth some S$40m. Industry players are aiming to increase it by tenfold in five years. Reference.

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