China’s Maritime Silk Road and it’s implications for Singapore & South East Asian Nations

China’s Maritime Silk Road and it’s implications for Singapore & South East Asian Nations

This is a blog entry by KCA Director, Tommy Koh who has just returned from a 4 day trip with the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCCI) to Nanning, Guangxi Province, China.

The Maritime Silk Road (MSR) is one of the biggest projects endeavoured by a nation in modern history. Together with the Land based Silk Road, China intends to connect the Eurasian Continent together closely through multiple trade links to improve trade across the nations and also at the same time grow its influence in the regions linked to the rising power of China.

To give some background information into what the Silk Road stands for, it basically was an old trading route that started from China during its golden generation of the Han and Tang Dynasties where the demand for foreign goods and foreign demand for Chinese Silk , Tea and Porcelien started an ancient pathway from East to West since the Han Dynasty of 200BCE and lasted till the 1300s.

It connected China to the rest of the European continent through a land route cutting through land locked nations like Kazakhstan, Iran, Turkey through towards the heart of Europe. A good way to understand this is through the map below:

Silk Road

Credits: Wikipedia

 

This ancient pathway linked much of the land masses of Asia with Europe, Cutting through India and the Arabic States. The Maritime Route connected most of current day South East Asia, Indian Ocean states and some parts of Africa. Trade flourished amongst this stops where traders will trade gold and silver for silk, tea, spices and this was also the first sign of how globalization led to the betterment of humanity.

Trade Thrived along this routes and many civilizations flourished with the increased trade between the great Han, Tang and many more dynasties and the great nations of Europe.

Fast forward a few centuries with the rise of China and its 1.38 billion people, China is set to become the biggest economy in the world in the next 10 to 20 years, together with India, both Asian Nations are going to take a bigger role in the world. Similar to how it was before the Industrial Revolution that propelled the Europeans to the fore front of world’s development and GDP growth.

China intends to project itself through trade and with it the plans to have the One Belt One Road master plan that will include most of Europe and Asia into its plans.

Singapore and the ASEAN region, sits nicely in its Maritime Silk Road plans. Most of the trade that China conducts with the world and also its Oil imports come through the Malacca Straits and South China Sea and China will want to ensure that this areas are able to operate without obstruction so that they can continue their breakneck speed of growth and gains.

What are some of the implications of a rise of China and its Maritime Silk Road when it comes to the ASEAN, South East Asian and Singapore region and how we can take advantage of this world plan that China has for the next Century.

 

  1. China seeks to strengthen relationship with the ASEAN nations with joint projects for development and trade

China has the strategy of helping regional allies to grow their economies through building ports, high speed rails and encouraging the set up of technological and logistics hubs. China as a growing economy needs lots of raw supplies and materials which is abundant in the South East Asian regions. Having a better transportation system for the regional traders in ASEAN ensures that China has a sure and steady flow of supplies it needs to do business with the rest of the world.

Palm Oil and natural rubber from Malaysia, Timber from Indonesia, Jade from Myanmar, this are the few things that China will need and will want to import more of from the region. China also wants to make sure it is a Win-Win Situation for their partners if they were to convince the partners in ASEAN that the growth of the Chinese nation will not threaten the stability of the region. China has been offering their expertise and also loan large amounts of money to the regional countries to build up ports and trains that will make the world connect to China in a more efficient manner and thus make the world smaller to China

China has also always treated the ASEAN region as its own backyard. An Asia for Asians has been common throughout history, from the Japanese invasions to the recent rise of China. China has grown wary of US presence in this region and hopes to grow its strength and position in this region. What other way than through trade and commerce. South East Asia has through the many centuries been the main trading partners with China and will always remain so.

Chinese investments into the region will continue to grow, either through its purchase of big ticket businesses in the region, to more investments into infrastructure projects and property development projects. We can expect a Stronger China to take more interest in the region to secure its position and respect in this region.

 

2. China is opening up its Beibu Gulf area that directly connects to South East Asia

Bei Bu Gulf Maritime Silk Road

Maritime Silk Road, Image Credit: http://www.mcbc.com.my/en/business-news/1552

Having a plan and also assets in place to do trade can be seen as just talk. But not for China, China has the political and the financial will to get this whole Maritime Silk Road plan out and they have been working hard on it. With the whole communist party set in getting something done, the whole machinery is churning towards one direction. As you can see on the map above, China sees the ASEAN space as on of their main development plans and this means that there needs to be better communication and also trading routes and connections with the the cities in the South East Asian ASEAN regions.

Beibu Gulf area is equipped with 3 state of the art ports and also connected to the 2nd tier city of Nanning. This whole area will be the southern most port of China and will also get its supplies from Chengdu and Chongqing Cities. The produces of this two cities no longer need to go through Shanghai to be exported and instead cut short their journey through Nanning and the ports in its surrounding areas.

China intends to build up this city in Guangxi as it is the closest base and also in the region of the Southwards business circle, its western and eastern economic zones.

Nanning has since seen major growth spurts and lots of buzz that comes with it.

 

3. China is no longer cheap, ASEAN nations might be the new cheap factory locations of the century

ASEAN

ASEAN Flag. Credits Wikipedia

Gone are the times when people say that China is a cheap place to get things done. China does have its fair share of highly educated engineers that can help propel them to higher value industrial productions that they could not have done in the past 20-30 years. With that in mind together with the plan for “Made in China 2025” discussed by the Chinese Central government, China will move forward with focus in higher value industrial production.

The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) with its slower development status has been slowly taking up some of the old industries that used to thrive in China. Most branded clothing brands have set up shop is cities across Vietnam to produce fast fashion wear. Japanese business man have come to realize that the Vietnamese are good at certain industrial productions and set up a number of factories in the Capital City of Hanoi.

The Thai people are well known to be the car production capital of South East Asia. Malaysia is a great place for services outsourcing with its strong grasp in multiple language and very favourable exchange rates.

The Chinese have come to be aware of this and are looking south to take advantage of this cheaper source of labour and cost. With better transport through ports and high speed rail, we will see countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines industrialize even faster with Chinese money buying finished goods from them.

 

4. China will want a stronger political and also military presence in the region

It is common knowledge that the country with the strongest navy dominates the regions. This was true for China during the Ming Dynasty when the Emperor commissioned Admiral Zheng He to sail with thousands of ships and carried with them luxury items that many people have never seen before. They carried out trade and diplomacy around the South East Asian Region, went to India, Sri Lank and eventually East Africa.

With the rise of China as a Major nation in the world, we will be seeing a growth in military strength and also presence in influence for the region.

China has taken on many endeavors including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership that aims to increase trade with China and build a China centric trade pact with China being the biggest economy in the group. The RCEP is set to be an influential pact considering the abandoning of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that President Donald Trump of the United States of America took.

China with its building of bases in the South China Sea will also mean that China will want more presence in this area and tension will be stronger with those neighbours in the area.

The South East Asian nations will need to ensure that their own benefits are kept in check if they choose to work closely with China.

 


There are still more views about how China’s Maritime Silk Road is going to affect and change things in the ASEAN region.

This piece is a work in progress and i will continue with more thoughts in the next few days and weeks.

Stay Tuned!

China’s Maritime Silk Road and it’s implications for Singapore & South East Asian Nations

Where should a Singapore SME or Startup rent their office

Where should a Singapore SME or Startup rent their office

Where should a Singapore SME or Startup rent their office – Singapore is an expensive expensive country to not just live in but also to work in. When you are based in Singapore, everything is going to cost you lots of money. There are things like rental, salaries, utilities, marketing and all sorts of other expense items.

The most costly thing that one will have to pay for before they turn profitable will be rental of the office that you will be spending the most time in. Most people do work from home when they are just starting but nothing beats having your own office and putting things up to show that you have made it.

There are quite a few locations in Singapore where business will congregate and work around the area. Each area has its own specialty in terms of what kinds of business will gather around those places. In terms of prices and also in terms of proximity to their partnering services, they are also located on various sides of the country.

So what are some of the recommended locations around Singapore that one should rent for their startup or SME business?

Each area has its strengths and weaknesses in terms of location to various amenities but at the same time the price of the locations can also vary widely.

Lets start with the eastern side of Singapore and we shall slowly move westwards.

1. Changi Business Park

Nestled in the east and near to the airport, there are quite a few groups of businesses that like to be in that area. The logistics startups and SMEs will most likely be on this side because of its proximity to the airport. Most of the fast transit products go through air freight and this is a good place to locate your logistics business at. Therefore most of the logistics businesses base themselves here, like DHL and Fedex.

Changi Business Park has also one of the most competitive rentals for business that wish to set up their IT solutions businesses. Data centers are mostly located in the east in this area and this good location with good rental, is also where many of the local firms place their IT help desk at.

2. Ubi + Tai Seng Area

Ubi and Tai Seng is the main industrial belt of Singapore. Most of the industrial based businesses are based in this area so that they can take advantage of the location of their suppliers and logistics partners.

Ubi and Tai Seng has also most of the business startups that require either food warehouse licenses or in general require warehouse spaces. The cost of renting in this area is relatively cheap with most of them being B1 or B2 industrial spaces that will allow businesses to keep stock of items and also be able to send items out of their warehouses with ramp up factory spaces. Being close to the central area of Singapore, delivery across the island is quite convenient and this gives the advantage of its location as one of the best logistics hubs in Singapore.

Ubi and Tai Seng area is also home to quite a number of car workshops and second hand car businesses. There is an Auto Hub within that area and it is really popular for second hand car shoppers who are looking to buy a good deal.

3. Paya Lebar Area

Paya Lebar Area

Paya Lebar is one of the new and more popular areas that has been build up over the past decade. With the inclusion of Paya Lebar Square and other new office spaces coming up soon. There is quite a startup buzz around the area that wants to take advantage of its good location right beside a main MRT station on the Green Line but at the same time it being one of the places with really good access to food.

Location is great as well since its just 2 minutes from the Pan Island Expressway Exits.

4. Shenton Way

The famous area of commerce in Singapore, most of the banks are located in this core region of commerce in Singapore. Shenton Way was the key location for major businesses and also the stock exchange of Singapore. It being located in the most prime location of Singapore, is the location of choice for most businesses who wants to be the who’s who of Singapore.

Being located on Shenton Way shows that you have made it and also it is one of the highest in terms of cost of rental in the whole of Singapore. Locations around the area can go up to as high as $12 per square foot depending on where exactly you are on that stretch and also which floors you are. The views from the buildings here are mostly unblocked and you get a clear view of the Straits of Malacca from the comfort of your office.

5. Robinson Road

Robinson Road is also one of the main spines of business and commerce in Singapore. Most of the major companies and MNCs are located in Singapore. Being close to most amenities and also being in the heart of town. Robinson Road does not have the view that Shenton Way commands because it is one street behind the sea line. You will get a good location with a much lower rental but also in the heart of town where all the other customers and also your suppliers are around.

Robinson Road is also host to a few new developments that are bound to excite someone that is doing business in Singapore for the first time.

6. Marina Area

singapore marina area

 

The New Kid on the block. Marina Area is now the top prime office location with the new Marina Bay Financial Centre and also the sparkling new Marina One buildings. This area is now home to the biggest businesses in the world that chose Singapore as their regional HQ. The major banks are also located here where all the buzz is happening. Rentals can go up to as high as $20 per square foot and this area is perfect for the best views and also the best place to get good food and good drinks on roof top bars and also food areas located within the vicinity.

With more developments to come up in this area, there is much excitement that we will see in this area getting the strength it needs to become the new down town of Singapore Commerce.

7. Tanjong Pagar

tanjong pagar singapore

Tanjong Pagar is actually quite a popular location for Startups and SMEs. A stones throw away from the main belts, Tanjong Pagar is one train stop away and it does have all the strong characteristics of a good down town location like Shenton Way and Robinson Road.

Tanjong Pagar also has very competitive rates as compared to Shenton Way and Robinson Road and this gives it one of the best down town advantage as the rest.

8. Chinatown + Clarke Quay Area

clarke quay singapore

Chinatown is home to many chinese businesses and this area is also known to have really cheap shop house office spaces for startups that want to be located in this area where good food is definitely not in short supply. Chinatown is also full of energy and a great place to be especially when you want to have lunch meetings.

Clarke Quay Central is also nowadays popular with startups using their studio units as office spaces. It is located near to party areas and this gives them the best form of work and play balance.

9. Block 71 + Ayer Rajah Area

 

Some call this place the silicon valley of Singapore. But to most, its just a nice old flatted factory for startups to work in close proximity to one another. Investment firms and also many Co-Working Spaces are conveniently located in this region and there is lots of startup energy buzz when it comes to getting things done and also getting to reach out to investors who are looking to catch on the wave of startup investment returns.

Located right beside Timbre+ , one of the cool new eating places. This place definitely is the go to place for startups.

 


Where should a Singapore SME or Startup rent their office

K Cloud Accounting is the leading Startup Accounting Services provider and we are keen to work closely with startups for many different kinds of support that will be needed for businesses that are looking to achieve more with their limited budgets.

If you require help after reading “Where should a Singapore SME or Startup rent their office” , with your office rental locations, do contact us!

Where should a Singapore SME or Startup rent their office

Where should a Singapore SME or Startup rent their office

5 Benefits of Startups using Co-Working Spaces

5 Benefits of Startups using Co-Working Spaces

5 Benefits of Startups using Co-Working Spaces

 

5 Benefits of Startups using Co-Working Spaces – One of the most expensive things to look at when you are trying to get a location for you to work from is your office space.

When it comes to rental, the cost can go from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand and then there is renovation and maintenance cost. When we look at getting an office space to get work done, gone are the days when you will spend lots on rental just to have your own space. In the recent year, Co-Working spaces have become a very popular choice for businesses that are either just starting out or for those who do not need to have a space for themselves. There are many benefits that you can look into when you think of it against getting your own space.

With the increasing number of startups that are coming up in Singapore, with Singapore being one of the best places in the world to get funds to fund a startup, demand for such spaces have also slowly climbed and got to the point of what we see today.

Let us discuss some of the reasons why you should consider using Co-Working Spaces for your office space instead of renting one on your own:

1. Convenience 

Location is everything when it comes to starting up and being near the important people that you are working with and need help from. If you are to get a convenient location in town it might cost you a bomb just to be close to town where all your customers are. This is also one of the main reason why people use Co-Working spaces. For a fraction of the price of getting your own office, you get a good location and also a good address to show the world that you actually are placed in say a good location like Shenton Way or Robinson Road.

Being centrally located also means that you are close to your service providers and clients and if you are in the service line, be close to your customers so that you can assist them and support them when they need your help. Being close also means that your response time will be much faster than those who do not have their offices conveniently located like yours.

2. Chance to Network with fellow founders

Business Networking is what sets you apart from the rest. For someone with all the contacts that will allow you to reach the correct people that you need to reach, this is what makes you special and what makes your different. To be able to get to someone without having to spend too much energy will be great for you to build your business and focus on what matters. There is a saying that goes that says that its not what you know that is important, its who you know. Because who you know can open doors for you to make sure you break through in your business.

Working in the same place as your other founders means that you are able to spend time with them and build the strong bonds over the formative years of your business. There is also a wide range of startups that are in the same place and same area and you will be able to make good contacts with them over the period of time together.

Co-Working spaces also usually have networking opportunities that will make you meet people from outside the area. Such networking is mainly for the Co-Working space to get more members but you could get the same contacts at the same time, so why not be part of the membership to meet new people.

3. Arrangements are Flexible so is the time there

Most Co-Working spaces allow around the clock access, so you can get in and out and do things until late and you will still be able to enjoy the facilities of the space itself. Prices are also quite a range, so if you are low budget, you could face the wall and pay a really cheap price for a corner seat. If you do have some budget, get yourself a room so that you can lock your things up and also look more professional with your space cut off from the rest.

For teams that are slightly bigger, you could also get a bigger room for everyone to sit in the same space and do work together. 

When there is a need to upgrade or change the level of your membership, it can be done quite easily because there are extra spaces in most Co-Working spaces, so you get to move around quite a bit and for newer spaces, you get free use of their locations when you are starting off!

4. Getting a mentor or a friend

When you are here, there are not just startups or young people around. Sometimes you have businesses that are able to give you tips and also mentor you when you are starting up. Being at a location where there are many people allows you to interact more and find a mentor or even a friend in business. Going alone is tiring and also tough because you will have to explore so many parts of doing business alone. The best way is to get someone to partner you and to work with you on it so that you do not have to hold all the stress on your own shoulders. 

Discussing strategy with someone else and making new friends in a Co-Working space is a great way for you to balance your work life out and that means you will be more recharged to work harder for the next burst of growing your business to where you want it to be. 

5. Save cost 

That is definitely the main reason for anyone to not get their own location and have their own logo plastered on every wall. The cost of getting a Co-Working space is definitely one of the most enticing reasons why people use Co-Working Spaces. There is also the reason of not needing to get renovation of the location which can cost you tens of thousands and when you move out having to tear down everything that you paid to put it up. 

Cost savings can be shifted over to marketing and branding cost, you will be able to grow your business much better with a proper and better use of your funds for revenue generating sections of the business. 


 

5 Benefits of Startups using Co-Working Spaces

K Cloud Accounting is a Singapore based Startup Friendly Accounting firm. Our services include accounting services for startups in Singapore, financial reporting, corporate secretarial, taxation and other related services. 

We have a team of partners that work closely with us to give our startup friends an edge over the rest. 

Contact us to find out more about our services. 

5 Benefits of Startups using Co-Working Spaces

 

Possible Legal issues faced by Startups in Singapore

Possible Legal issues faced by Startups in Singapore

Possible Legal issues faced by Startups in Singapore – When it comes to setting up a business, you need to know that the legal structure is one of the most important things that you need to take note of. Singapore thrives as a business hub not just because it has a strong financial system but also because it has a strong rule of law in place so that businesses can thrive and do well in this environment.

Contracts in Singapore are highly binding and when it comes to getting into legal trouble with anyone in Singapore, you can be assured that the laws of Singapore will protect you the same way they protect the other party. There will be no such thing as power play in Singapore and this is what makes Singapore one of the best places to trade and get things done and get contracts signed.

Startups are usually run by young or inexperienced persons who have an idea and want to bring it to market. But at the same time are not aware of the possible pitfalls that can come about when they want to get something done up for investors or for getting it out in the market as fast as possible.

Possible Legal issues faced by Startups in Singapore

So what are some of the topics and items that we will like to give advise on when you are getting into contracts and also what to watch out for when you run a startup:

  1. Check what you sign, no matter who the other party is

The worse kind of issues that you can face is when your other party is a close friend or someone that you have known for a long time and end up making you sign something that leaves you with the shorter end of the stick. When it comes to money and power, people can do all kinds of things. This could also mean getting you into a contract that puts you in the disadvantage.

You need to be clear that when it comes to getting contracts done up and signed in Singapore, it holds both of you strongly into this contract and there is no way to say that you signed it under trust that your benefits are protected. Always be clear about what you signed and in this manner you will not get involved in a skewed contract.

Its not tough to read through what you sign and making sure the terms are fair and negotiate with the other party if it is not.

Always remember the saying that goes by, “Better to be safe than to be sorry”

2. Get lawyers or legally trainer persons to draft shareholder contracts

Drafting a contract that is able to cover most of the legal issues involved is not easy. You should always get someone who is legally trained to help you out with such requirements because there are definitely items that most of your shareholders may not have taken note of. There are also clauses which may not stand in the eyes of the law and therefore should be changed.

There is always a reason to get such contracts done up and it can be quite cheap to get this done if you are trying to just get a review of the contract that you have prepared. Most people fear that the contract reviewing will require lots of money and this is not the case.

Shareholder contracts are the most sensitive of contracts and therefore should be treated with the utmost importance when it comes to getting them done up properly and checked by legally trained persons.

KCA is a proud partner of a few law firms and contract drafting organizations, if you require said help, do contact us for a quick contact point with our partners to get your contracts done up!

3. Make sure you get trained persons to help you with Corporate Secretarial work

Most businesses in Singapore do not like to get someone to act as their corporate secretary. There is a common practice that many startups will just put one of their co-founders or their friends to just “act” as their corporate secretary in ACRA documents without realize the importance of such a professional.

Corporate secretaries are key to ensuring the governance of the company is done right and for someone to be able to act as a professional one, there needs to be many years of experience acting as one for other companies or they are trained and gone through many years of studying to get their charter.

Corporate secretaries will ensure that you share transfers are done right and with the proper documents signed and filed up. Appointing of directors are done with proper meetings and also with the necessary paperwork signed by all the relevant stakeholders.

Deadlines such as those of the Annual General Meetings and Annual return will also be abide by properly when you get someone who knows what they are doing to act in this important role.

Corporate secretarial services in Singapore can be affordably packages with accounting services in Singapore if you really do need them, contact KCA to find out more about this.

4. Know how your paid up capital affects your accounts

Most people who have no idea what shares are will confuse that it is just a number that they can declare high to look good. Paid up capitals are important to the bank, the supplier, the landlord and any one who is willing to do business with you. They will be keen to trade with a company that has a decently high paid up because that means this business has the financial capabilities to pay up when there is a need to. This also shows that shareholders have the confidence in the business to sink in so much money.

There are situations where investors may cause issues if you do have a paid up capital in the system that is not really paid up in the accounts and this will mean that you are still owing money to the company which is a bad thing considering that you may not have that amount to be placed in the company in the first place.

You won’t want a good progress in your business be delayed because you are not aware of what is your paid up capital and how it can affect you and this is something that will be around for quite awhile, so make sure you know what you are doing with your paid up capital before you start working on it.


Possible Legal issues faced by Startups in Singapore

K Cloud Accounting is a leading Xero Accounting Singapore Specialist that is keen to work closely with startups to provide startup accounting services at a competitive rate.

Call us to find out more 98638665.

 

Possible Legal issues faced by Startups in Singapore