Leg-up for Singapore firms to access India's Andhra Pradesh


ENTERING the fast-growing Indian state of Andhra Pradesh will be easier for Singapore firms with the establishment of a new business council and an innovation corridor for urban solutions.

Initiated by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, both moves were announced yesterday at the 24th Partnership Summit in Andhra Pradesh.

The Andhra Pradesh-Singapore Business Council will drive private sector partnerships in priority sectors such as smart infrastructure, agrifood and logistics. Led by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), it will identify common projects, conduct business matching, and hold regular missions and events.

Andhra Pradesh is one of India's fastest-growing states, with gross state domestic product growth of 11.6 per cent in 2016, above the national average of 7.1 per cent. It consistently ranks among the top Indian states in which to do business. Also announced was an Innovation Corridor, which will be a platform for Singapore firms to pilot and scale up urban solutions in Andhra Pradesh's capital Amaravati, with the aim of expanding in India and abroad.

Singapore companies can pitch solutions based on challenges identified by Amaravati, with selected solutions to be piloted in the city. The first cycle will take place during the Happy Cities Summit in Andhra Pradesh in April 2018 and the World Cities Summit in Singapore in July 2018.

The Innovation Corridor is a partnership between Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Amaravati Partnership Office and the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority.

In conjunction with the summit, SBF led a five-day trip to Andhra Pradesh for a 15-member delegation with representatives from infrastructure, engineering, construction, professional services and shipping.

Noting that this was SBF's second visit there in six months, SBF chief executive officer and mission leader Ho Meng Kit said the trip was meant to explore priority sectors such as ports and logistics, agribusiness, and building and construction. Separately, a Singapore consortium announced plans to participate in setting up a visitor centre and exhibition gallery spanning 4,000 square metres of gross floor area in the Amaravati Capital City Start-up Area.

To this end, the consortium - comprising developer Ascendas-Singbridge and Sembcorp Industries subsidiary Sembcorp Development - intends to form a joint venture company with Amaravati Development Corporation, an agency of the Andhra Pradesh state government. The terms are being finalised.