People's Republic of China – Singapore relations officially started on October 3, 1990.  Diplomatic missions were established in the early 1990s based on trade and the warming of ties from other ASEAN countries towards mainland China.
Historic links between the two nations' people began much earlier than the founding of the People's Republic of China in October 1949. Migrant Chinese labourers escaping poverty and war came to what was known as Nanyang to the Chinese to Singapore which was part of British Malaya. Many ethnic Chinese Singaporeans derived their ancestral roots in southern China from Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan provinces.
During British rule in Singapore and then under British Malaya before independence, Singapore and the Republic of China had diplomatic relations. When Singapore became independent in 1965 from Malaysia, it continued to recognise the Republic of China as the legitimate government of China. In the 1970s, People's Republic of China and Singapore began unofficial relations. This led to the exchange of Commercial Representatives' Offices between the two nations in 1981. In 1985, commercial air services between mainland China and Singapore commenced.
Diplomatic ties between the two countries officially began in 1990. Singapore was the last country in South East Asia to formally recognise the People's Republic of China out of respect to Indonesia, sensitivities in the region and fears from neighbouring countries of communism in those times. Singapore still maintains unofficial relations with the ROC, including the continuation of a controversial military training and facilities agreement from 1975. This is due to a lack of usable space in built-up Singapore. The People's Republic of China has proposed that Singapore relocate some of its training facilities from Taiwan to Hainan province, however the Singapore has not as of yet accepted such an offer.
Bilateral ties took a dive when Singapore's deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong travelled to Taiwan for a private visit in 2004. The People's Republic of China took offence to the trip as due to the complicated political status of the region Later in 2004, Chinese government put bilateral relations on hold.
Relations between the two countries gradually improved as China and Singapore forged agreements in free trade, education, foreign investment and technology. Examples are the Suzhou Industrial Park and the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city, which were constructed with the help of Singapore.
In terms of people to people exchange. Singapore has benefited from prominent Chinese taking up citizenship for reasons such as family, passport convenience and foreign talent[clarification needed]. Such prominent Chinese includes Gong Li and Jet Li. Chinese born table tennis players representing Singapore includes Li Jiawei, Zhang Xueling, Yang Zi and Feng Tianwei.
The bilateral trade between China and Singapore developed rapidly in recent years and Singapore has maintained the first position among ASEAN countries in their trade with China. China's transformation into a major economic power in the 21st century has led to an increase of foreign investments in the bamboo network, a network of overseas Chinese businesses operating in the markets of Southeast Asia that share common family and cultural ties.
In 1998, volume of trade was US$8.154 billion in 1998. In 1999, the trade value has increased to US$ 8.56 billion. In 2000, the amount increased to US$10.821 billion. In 2009, the total trade volume was SGD 75.1 billion (USD 58.4 Billion).
Singapore is China's 9th largest trading partner. While China is Singapore's 3rd largest trading partner which consisted of 10.1 percent of Singapore's total external trade from the previous year.
China's export to Singapore were textiles, clothing, agriculture produce, petrochemical, metals, electromechanical equipment, feed, shipping, communication equipment and electronic components.
Companies such as Capitaland and Breadtalk have made substantial inroads into China's domestic economy. Others such as Temasek Holdings, Singapore Airlines have each invested in China Eastern Airlines.
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- Murray L Weidenbaum (1 January 1996). The Bamboo Network: How Expatriate Chinese Entrepreneurs are Creating a New Economic Superpower in Asia. Martin Kessler Books, Free Press. pp. 4–8. ISBN 978-0-684-82289-1.
- Xinhua (July 9, 2010). "Singapore exports benefit from FTA with China". http://www.china.org.cn/.
- Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop (December 21, 2010). "Bakeries Claim a Growing Niche in China". I.H.T. Special Report: Doing Business in China. http://www.nytimes.com.
- www.chinaknowledge.com/ (December 31, 2010). "CapitaLand China to sell stake in Senning Property". chinaknowledge.com.