A CONSORTIUM of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) recently broke new ground for the private sector in Singapore. These SMEs are pumping an estimated US$1.5 billion (approximately S$2 billion) into developing an eco-park in Hangzhou, China. Past efforts of such scale in China have been undertaken by the Singapore government or government-linked companies, but never solely by private companies.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed on 24 November, between the consortium, called Cleantech Partners Pte Ltd and the Hangzhou municipal government to jointly master-plan, develop and promote the Hangzhou-Singapore Eco-Park (HSEP). The 500 mu (about 35ha) HSEP will comprise commercial and retail buildings, service apartments and eventually, residential buildings and light industrial zones.
The HSEP aims to have at least half its energy use derived from renewable sources and will be utilizing green strategies for water management, waste and by-product exchanges, transportation and green buildings to enhance the competitiveness of businesses located within the park.
Steven Lim, chief executive officer of RSTN Consulting Pte Ltd, who is also the chairman of the consortium explained that the potential of entering into the green business in China is immense, because Chinese President Hu Jintao recently announced that China will play its part in combating climate change by significantly reducing its carbon emissions by 2020.
Hangzhou was chosen as a suitable location for several reasons. Situated a mere 180km southwest of economic epicenter Shanghai, Hangzhou is one of the most renowned and prosperous cities in China. One of the seven ancient capitals of China, Hangzhou is rich in historical and cultural heritage. Well-known for its iconic West Lake, Hangzhou also boasts beautiful scenery.
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The city is home to some 56 universities, including Zhejiang University, one of the top-rated universities in China, resulting in a highly educated population. Hangzhou-ans are reported to have the highest happiness index across China.
Lim concluded that ultimately, the Cleantech aims to “build an eco-park that is iconic for Singapore, setting a standard for future SMEs and even government-linked companies when they enter the Chinese market.”