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'Global Entrepolis' helps Indian firms

By P. S. Suryanarayana

SINGAPORE, OCT. 13 . `Global Entrepolis,' an annual forum in Singapore for international business enterprises, has helped Indian companies expand faster, according to the City State's Minister for Trade and Industry, Lim Hng Kiang. This aspect came into sharp focus at the ongoing `Global Entrepolis 2004,'

only the second annual event in this category, even as an `India IT Forum' was held, for the first time, as part of this larger conference, which is designed for dialogue and business deals among international players across the entire economic spectrum.

Mr. Lim, who inaugurated an `Enterprise Exchange' and other participants pointed to the opportunities that the event had offered the Indian and Chinese firms, in particular. It was reckoned that the information technology firm, ISG Novasoft from the Birla group, had found 30 customers and identified five partners as a result of participation in the inaugural `Global Entrepolis.' Another Indian success story, as narrated by the Singapore organisers, was that vMoksha, an IT services company, had signed an MoU with IDG to develop a new version of space-management software. This, too, was traced to the beneficial effects of last year's `Global Entrepolis.'

Invitation to foreign firms

Against this background, the Singapore authorities sought to showcase this year's event as an invitation to foreign firms to interact with one another for a fashioning a web of business opportunities. Singapore's strength as a `value-add' level playing field for business firms was emphasised in this context. An example cited was Singapore's recent initiative of introducing an online business licensing service at `business.gov.sg' for the benefit of international players inclined to set up shop in the City State.

While Singapore was home to about 1,160 Chinese companies, wholly owned ones as also joint ventures, as at the end of 2003, the total number of Indian

firms in the City State as of now is estimated to be much higher, at 1,500 inclusive of 18 Nasscom (National Association of Software and Service Companies) software units.

Singapore's Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Heng Chee How, who launched the Network India Real Estate and Finance Sub-Committee, said the City State's cumulative investments in India were now of the order of $1.3 billion, while the total bilateral trade during the first eight months of this year rose to Singpore $7.36 billion.

Alok Prasad, India's High Commissioner to Singapore, said the City State was, in many ways, at the centre of the process of New Delhi's interactions with the Association of South East Asian Nations.

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