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History

The Singapore Club Shanghai (SCS) started humbly with a group of Singaporeans in Shanghai in March 1998. Under the leadership of Mr Ho Kok Thye, the then Commercial Representative Officer in Shanghai, SCS had their first office at the Singapore Commercial Representative Office (CRO) Shanghai Branch, which is the Singapore Consulate-General Office today. SCS hosted its very first event, a BBQ night at the CRO office, on 26 March 1988, attracting about 70 members.

SCS was established with the vision of providing a platform for Singaporeans in Shanghai to foster close social and fraternal association. The Club was set up to be a non-political, non-religious and non-profit organization. The late Mr Larry Luah (first Chairman of SCS), Mr Jason Lim and Mr Frankie Ong each led the earlier years of the SCS.

With the formation of Singapore International Foundation (SIF) in 1991, SCS in the ensuing years became its important partner, in particular receiving financial support from SIF’s programs including Overseas Singaporean and Friends of Singapore, and linking itself with many of the Singapore Clubs throughout the world. It became the largest Singapore Clubs globally.

At the end of 1998, Singapore became the 7th largest trading partner of China and 4th largest foreign investor with an accumulated US$21 billion actual utilized DFI (actual direct foreign investment). With this strong trading position with China, more Singaporeans were coming to work and live in Shanghai with the increased business activities. Hong Kong SAR aside, Shanghai became the largest Singaporean community in China.

Mr Ang Kian Heng, the then Consul Commercial and Trade Development Board Centre Director (TDB, now International Enterprise of Singapore), with the active support of the late Mr Ong Lu King, Consul-General in Shanghai, was instrumental in the formation of Shanghai Singapore Business Committee (SSBC) in December 1997 with the aim of promoting business related activities among Singaporeans and Chinese in Shanghai, adding to the social activities organized by SCS.

With the good work of its first President Mr Tan Wing Ming, Shanghai Singapore Business Association (SSBA) merged with SCS in November 1998 to become SSBA-SCS to foster an organized platform for the Singaporean community in Shanghai for business and social interactions not just among themselves but also with the business networks in East China and the rest of China. The first Membership Directory was launched in 1999, which later embraced memberships of other Singapore Clubs in China, including Singapore Association in Hong Kong and has since proven to be a popular publication.

In February 2004, SSBA-SCS successfully hosted the 4th SIF Overseas Conference in Shanghai, following earlier conferences in San Francisco, Sydney and London. Under leadership of Conference Chairman Mr Tan Wing Ming and President Mr Chong Chin Hin, more than 400 delegates attended the 3-day event. It set the pace and footprint for SSBA-SCS to organize its inaugural Business Forum in September 2005, which became one of its flagship events.

While SSBA-SCS serves its Singaporean community in Shanghai, it has constantly engaged local Shanghai networks and is one of the earliest partners with Association for Foreign Enterprise (AFE) in Shanghai, the umbrella organization for foreign business chambers in Shanghai. SSBA-SCS has since emerged as one of the largest and better organized business chambers in Shanghai often participating in joint-chambers events as joint-organizers. Under the leadership of Community Service Director Mr Frankie Ong, SSBA-SCS has harnessed business and social means to contribute significantly to local charities through the years, in the process exemplifies itself as an important corporate social contributor.

SSBA-SCS has been an active partner with Overseas Singaporean Unit (OSU) since its inception in their events held in Shanghai. Beginning with Suzhou Singapore Club more than a decade ago, it has maintained active working relationships with Singapore Clubs in China including Wuxi, Chengdu, Ningbo and Fujian.

Through the years, membership of SSBA-SCS grew and once reached a record high of having more than 1,000 individual members and about 80 corporate members. Business events and social activities were held regularly to build stronger rapport among fellow Singaporeans and greater interaction for Singapore businesses in East China.

In 2013, the Executive Committee of SSBA-SCS set up a taskforce which undertook a review of its corporate identity, and defined a new and abbreviated name of “SSBA” (for Shanghai Singapore Business Association) being more appropriate as this has become the norm among all members. The taskforce also identified an “SSBA” logo, which was launched officially by the Singapore Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Stanley Loh, at the SSBA National Dinner on 17 Aug 2013.

Today, SSBA inherits the vision of its predecessors and continues to be a non-profitable, non-partisan and non-commercialized organization. Executive Committee of the SSBA has been organizing business events that bring its members and local business partners together for greater opportunities for collaboration, and fun social activities for all of its individual and associate members.

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