Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ukraine: Singapore’s new profit-spinner?

With the Singapore Business Federation and the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce having signed framework agreements with Ukraine’s International Chamber of Commerce, Singapore companies are in a better position to enter Eastern Europe’s largest market.
Ukraine is looking into developing its other services sector beyond its existing agriculture and mining industries. As such, industry players are seeing increased opportunities in Ukraine’s real estate, infrastructure and tourism sectors for Singaporean firms.
“We’re looking at opportunities in real estate development and investment, including hotels,” said Kwek Leng Joo, Vice Chairman of Singapore Business Federation and Managing Director of City Developments. “But I see that there are possibilities in many other sectors as well,” he added. Kwek explained that the increased demand for hotels that is leading to a shortage, as well as residential properties are good opportunities there. “The local Ukrainians who have made it would now like to invest more in properties so there is a good demand for properties there.”
The Singapore and Ukraine collaboration does look promising, but there are still challenges that need to be overcome. The more apparent hurdles are language differences and limited transport links.
Kwek said that the two countries are still in the early stages of infrastructure development. However, he is hopeful that in due course, it will not pose as a problem as infrastructures like air access is developed in the long term.
Singapore is set to venture beyond Asia into the European countries, but will the two states be able to sustain the closer relations in the long run? Can both parties commit to tackling reforms in its banking and financial services sector, as well as developing its infrastructure?