China-ASEAN Monitor: Chinese wealth management firm weighing expansion into Singapore
Photo Credit: International Adviser
TRADE, ECONOMY, AND INVESTMENT
Singapore-China green lane leads to slight increase in passenger numbers at Changi Airport
(21 July 2020) The opening of the Singapore-China green lane and the restarting of transit flights helped to increase passenger numbers at Changi Airport in June, but only by a small margin. Data released by Changi Airport Group (CAG) on 20 July showed that the number of passengers at 48,200 was still 99.2% lower than what it was in the same period in 2019. The Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group reported a similar fall in passenger numbers, with the 17,700 passengers it carried in June equivalent to a 99.5% drop from 2019. CAG told a local news outlet that it has handled more than 10,000 transit passenger movements since the gradual reopening to transit flights on 2 June but noted the numbers remain very low compared to pre-pandemic levels. Currently, only flights by the SIA Group, comprising SIA, SilkAir and Scoot, from selected cities are allowed to transit at Changi.
Chinese imports of Thai and Malaysian durians grow despite lockdowns
(4 August 2020) Despite fears that the COVID-19 pandemic early this year would impact durian exports to China, demand and import growth have remained solid, especially for major durian exporters such as Thailand and Malaysia. Thai durian exports to China between January and April 2020 totalled US$567 million, a 78% year-on-year increase. During the same period, Thai exports to China accounted for 72% of its year-on-year growth of global exports. Meanwhile, durian exports to China from Malaysia were hit hard by the pandemic earlier in the year but overall export numbers were not affected. Its durian exports to China in the first quarter of 2020 was equivalent to the previous quarter at US$22 million. Malaysian durian sales in China also saw a massive jump during the COVID-19 lockdown period, particularly in March.
Chinese companies dominate bidding for billion-dollar tender for solar power projects in Myanmar
(4 August 2020) Myanmar’s Ministry of Electricity and Energy is expected to announce the winners of its billion-dollar tender for 30 solar power projects in the country, with 155 bids reportedly already received for the sites on offer. The ministry previously announced a tender for ground-mounted, on-grid solar plants at 30 sites totalling 1,060 megawatts in May 2020. Private Chinese firm Sungrow was the largest bidder, submitting bids for 24 sites, while state-owned companies China Machinery Engineering Corporation and Datang Power each submitted more than 10 bids. Chinese companies are expected to dominate the bidding process should they pass the technical criteria. The winning bidder will be selected from among qualified bidders based on pricing alone.
Brunei marks first direct flights with mainland China after COVID-19 outbreak
(5 August 2020) Brunei resumed direct flights with Hangzhou, China, on 4 August, marking the first direct flights with the Chinese mainland after COVID-19 disrupted air connections between the two countries. The round-trip direct flights between Bandar Seri Begawan and Hangzhou will be carried out by Royal Brunei Airlines, and will fly every Tuesday from 4 August to 24 October for the time being. Passengers will be required to undergo 14 days of isolation after arriving at either destination. The only other air connection Brunei has with China at this time is with Hong Kong.
Foundation for Laos-China Railway completed
(4 August 2020) The foundation of the 414.3 km Laos-China railway project has been completed, while over 20% of the tracks have already been laid. A total of 71 out of the 75 tunnels have been drilled, and 88% of the construction of railway bridges has been completed. Construction on certain stations has not yet started due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while certain areas still require mediation with the current landowners. The completed project will see passenger trains running from Vientiane to the Boten-Mohan border through the four provinces of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay and Luang Namtha. The railway is scheduled for completion by the end of 2021.