Is Singapore part of China?
With all the superb Chinese restaurants in Singapore and the festive Chinese New Year celebrations, you might wonder if Singapore is part of China.
But was it ever part of China historically?
Get ready to be enlightened because this post aims to shed light on that notion today.
It’s a sovereign nation in Southeast Asia
Singapore is not part of China either geographically or socio-politically. It’s a sovereign nation located in Southeast Asia and has been an independent nation since 1965.
Though it lacks the natural resources that China has, Singapore is known all over the world as a prosperous country. It’s also admired for its focus on high-quality education and having a strategic location that’s ideal for maritime trade.
Its self-governance underwent several stages before becoming what it is today. Singapore now has its own defined legal system as well as solid economic, cultural, religious, and political policies.
Singapore used to be part of the Johor Sultanate
Malaysia’s Johor Sultanate once owned Singapore. This historical connection enabled Singapore to trade with other countries in the region, including China.
Several artefacts discovered in archaeological digs revealed that Singapore was most likely using Johor Sultanate currency to trade with other countries between the 16th to 17th centuries.
Singapore got its earlier name Temasek from the Malay word for lake, which is “tasek.” This is also why Malay influences can still be felt throughout the small nation even in the present day.
Singapore has a commercial relationship with China
As previously mentioned, Singapore had early trade relations with China due to its strategic maritime location. Historical accounts describe early Chinese travellers calling Singapore “pu-luo-chung,” which means “the island at the end of the peninsula”.
Today, China and Singapore are considered good trading partners, a legacy left by early Chinese merchants who settled in Singapore to establish their businesses here.
The majority of Singapore’s current population is made up of Chinese people (around 74.2%). By the end of 2010, around 175,155 new Singaporean citizens and permanent residents were made up of Chinese people.
China is also Singapore’s current largest trading partner. That’s why you can find everything from traditional Chinese medicine to e-commerce platforms like Taobao in Singapore.
It’s considered the largest port in Southeast Asia
Because of its positioning as an ideal maritime trade route, Singapore is considered the largest port in Southeast Asia. When it was a new port, Chinese merchants flocked to Singapore to establish trade relations and create partnerships with its people.
Since 2015, Singapore has been ranked the top maritime capital of the world. Thousands of ships dock at its harbour regularly, with freight forwarders safely transporting a wide variety of goods from all over the world.
In 2009, China and Singapore signed the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. As a result, China is now considered Singapore’s largest foreign investor, with over $41.8 billion being pumped into businesses in Singapore.
Current Chinese investments are highest in the insurance and finance sectors of Singapore. Today, state-owned Chinese commercial banks such as the Bank of China also have branches across the nation.