Bangalore: Singapore sought closer business links Tuesday with Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley, portraying the two Asian cities as natural partners in a world being increasingly driven by technology.
The Southeast Asian hi-tech city of 4.5 million people and Bangalore, home to six million, are not too different in size and have advantages that complement each other, said Singapore’s Second Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
“Bangalore has talent, enterprise and creativity we can learn from,” the minister, who is leading a business delegation here, told a meeting in the southern Indian city organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry.
Singapore has world-class infrastructure such as ports, airports and technology networks that India lacks plus intellectual property laws and enforcement machinery that inspire trust in companies who do business in the city, Shanmugaratnam added.
“When you think of Asia, you think of cities, not countries, that are emerging as the centres of the future in a knowledge-based world,” he said. “Bangalore is one of the key cities we are going to collaborate with.”
Bangalore is capital of Karnataka state, home to 300,000 technology professionals, which last year recorded 8.4 billion dollars in software exports and is the location for some of India’s biggest companies such as Infosys Technologies and Wipro.
The city is the site of one of the earliest and largest Singaporean investments in India, an information-technology park that celebrated its 10th anniversary Tuesday.
The flow of exports and imports between India and Singapore has been increasing, with the island republic emerging as India’s biggest trading partner in Southeast Asia.
Two-way trade expanded 20% in the nine months between January and November 2006. About 2,800 Indian companies already have an office in multi-ethnic Singapore.
M. Rajaram, chairman of the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the city could also play the role of a matchmaker between companies from India that are venturing out and those from China and Southeast Asia.
“What we can offer is access to international markets,” he added. “We can be an international meeting place.”