The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) marked a historic milestone with the successful conclusion of its inaugural overseas edition of the Singapore Regional Business Forum (SRBF) in Hanoi, Vietnam on 7 July 2023. The event garnered high-profile attendees, including the presence of Deputy Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, His Excellency Lê Minh Khái, alongside Dr Tan See Leng, Singapore’s Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Trade and Industry. Together, they set the stage for forging new paths in regional collaboration and sustainable growth.
Under the theme “Strengthening Regional Collaboration for Sustainable Growth,” a total of 12 Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) were signed between public and private sector organizations from Singapore and Vietnam. The MOUs involved trade associations, business chambers, higher education institutions and financial organizations.
During the forum, SBF and United Overseas Bank (UOB) jointly launched a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative aimed at nurturing young talents in finance, technology and innovation. With a commitment to fostering a sustainable future for ASEAN and Vietnam, the initiative will contribute to the local community and benefit students at the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City.
Through this collaboration, over 1,000 eligible Vietnamese students will have the opportunity to acquire essential skills and practical experience in the business world, preparing them for the challenges of the digital era.
Envisioning a sustainable future
A significant highlight of the event was the engaging dialogue titled “In Conversation with Ministers: Enhancing Regional Collaboration for a Sustainable Future,” moderated by Mr Kok Ping Soon, CEO of SBF.
The dialogue featured Minister Dr Tan See Leng; Vietnam’s Minister of Planning and Investment, H.E. Nguy?n Chí D?ng; along with prominent figures such as Executive Chairman of Pacific International Lines, Mr Teo Siong Seng; Chairman of FPT Corporation, Dr Tr??ng Gia Bình; and Immediate Past President of the European Chamber of Commerce Singapore, Mr Federico Donato.
The session delved into robust discussions on energy transition, digital interoperability, business development, and the prospects of creating a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable future for the region.
Additionally, as part of the forum, Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Nguy?n Sinh Nh?t Tân, delivered a keynote address that provided valuable insights into upcoming developments in the country’s enterprise landscape.
The event also facilitated a business matching session, where participating companies had the opportunity to meet potential business partners, either virtually or on-site. Vietnamese provincial leaders from Hai Phong, Hung Yen and Nghe An also delivered presentations, shedding light on the emerging business landscape and investment prospects in their respective provinces.
Mr Lim Ming Yan, SBF Chairman, expressed his gratitude to the host country for warmly welcoming the SRBF as it expanded its horizons beyond Singapore’s borders. He highlighted the event’s success, emphasizing the strong bilateral ties between Singapore and Vietnam, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of their bilateral relationship and the 10th anniversary of their strategic partnership.
The 7th SRBF received support from 35 public and private organizations in Singapore and Vietnam, further underscoring its impact and potential. Key supporting organizations from Singapore include the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Enterprise Singapore, while Vietnam was represented by the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Vietnam Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Accelerating regional collaboration and growth
Mr Kok Ping Soon, SBF CEO, stressed the importance of regional collaboration and growth in the current landscape. He highlighted that the signed agreements reflected the keen interest in deeper collaboration to seize regional opportunities and foster stronger businesses and economies. SBF aims to support companies in becoming key players in the region’s growth.
To complement the forum, SBF organized a business mission to Hanoi, with the participation of 28 delegates representing 25 Singaporean businesses from the business services, manufacturing and lifestyle and consumer industries. The mission provided valuable insights into the business landscape and cultural nuances of North Vietnam and facilitated networking opportunities among Singaporean businesses.
As part of the mission, the delegation also visited key economic sites in the Quang Ninh province and received briefings on potential business opportunities from the Investment Promotion Agency of Quang Ninh Province.
In parallel, the Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC) led a delegation of 20 business leaders from 15 member companies to explore potential collaborations with Vietnamese companies.
Mr Phua Boon Huat, president of the SFIC, expressed his enthusiasm about the event being held in Vietnam, a country of great interest to SFIC members. He expressed confidence that the event would empower SFIC members to expand their market presence in Vietnam and the region, fostering stronger business ties and creating new opportunities in the furniture industry.
Furthermore, 21 business chambers and trade associations whose member companies have a significant or increasing presence in Vietnam, Singapore and the region also supported the event.