Since the Belt and Road Initiative was announced in September 2013, its direction has become increasingly clear. With the full support of the Chinese Government and many countries around the world, private sector involvement has been on the rise. Singapore, as a major gateway to the strategic financial and capital market in Southeast Asia, holds the key to enormous business opportunities.
The recent Belt and Road Summit held at the Beijing Yangqi Lake International Convention & Exhibition Centre was attended by many members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), but not Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. His absence was construed by some media as a sign of the pro-China country’s lack of interest in the Belt and Road Initiative, which is far from the truth.
During her visit to China in mid-June, Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan said the Belt and Road Initiative would strengthen connection between China and Central Asia, Europe, Southeast Asia, South Asia and other regions, and present unprecedented opportunities to all involved. Among the earliest Belt and Road advocates, Singapore is a staunch supporter of the initiative. Balakrishnan also revealed that the country would join hands with China to establish a financial support platform for the initiative to facilitate implementation of related projects. Currently, China and Singapore are actively exploring the “Southbound Trade Corridor” proposal, which, when established, will not only reduce business cost in Southeast Asia and Western China, but also foster trades between China and ASEAN.
According to official statistics from China, her investment in Singapore accounted for 30% of the total she invested in Belt and Road countries. And, data published by the Ministry of Commerce on 9 June 2017 indicated that China’s export to Belt and Road countries such as Singapore and Indonesia surged 15.8% and 16.9% respectively in the first five months of 2017.
In recent years, CFCG has strived to diversify its business including developing a platform of operation, investment and financing in the education sector driven by its “Education Investment plus Financial Services” strategic conviction. On 4 July 2017, CFCG announced that, to best capture opportunities the Belt and Road Initiative brings, its Singapore subsidiary has acquired 100% equity interest of Stirling Coleman Capital Limited, which marked the opening of a new chapter for CFCG’s financial business in Singapore.
Founded in 2001, Stirling Coleman is an independent corporate finance advisory firm headquartered in Singapore. It is licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore to conduct regulated financial activities – dealing in securities and providing advice on corporate finance – in Singapore. Its business scope includes IPO service and the subsequent issuance on the Singapore Exchange, independent financial advisory service to listed companies in Singapore, as well as advice on merger and acquisition to listed and private companies in Singapore and other countries. As a leading advisory firm to small and medium enterprises in the Singapore equity capital market, Stirling Coleman has assisted 28 corporations in their listing applications in Singapore since November 2003, of which 22 were from the Greater China Region. To date, Stirling Coleman had completed over 100 deals.
CFCG expects trading, financing and other capital market activities in China, Hong Kong and Singapore to increase and attract quality assets from Northern Asia to the capital markets in Singapore and Southeast Asia, and in turn boost cross-border mergers and acquisitions across Asia. Stirling Coleman has an excellent track record and well-established brand in Singapore. The acquisition has given CFCG instant presence in the Singapore equity capital market where it can provide clients with related financial services and offerings.