Mongolia: Growing opportunities for Singapore companies

More Singapore companies are setting up shop in Mongolia as business ties between the two countries deepen

Businesses that operate outdoors here in Singapore may not have to contend with much in terms of the weather, but when it comes to a country like Mongolia, they have to be prepared for far more unpredictable conditions.

That is the experience of Beyond Expedition Singapore, a travel agency that has been organising expeditions and adventures to the Mongolian outback since 2017. In such an environment, company founder Scott Tay advised companies to be patient when doing business in the country.

“A lot of things are very unpredictable here, such as climate. Hence, patience is key and one must be able to adapt to the ever-changing environment or situations. You can make plans, but they may not work out all the time, especially when it comes to outdoor adventures,” said Mr Tay, whose clients are mainly Singaporeans who wish to experience first-hand the culture and lifestyle of Mongolian nomads.

The company plans to continue expanding in the tourism business and potentially embark on the import and export of local products as well, Mr Tay added. Beyond Expedition is one of a growing number of Singapore companies in Mongolia seeking to capitalise on growing ties and trade between the two countries. Another local business that has done so is fintech startup, AND Global. In 2016, the company launched LendMN, a smartphone-based personal loan platform, in Mongolia.

As at the first quarter of 2019, Singapore’s cumulative direct investment in Mongolia was USD 29.4million, making Singapore one of the country’s biggest investors. The two countries enjoy increasing trade turnover in sectors such as logistics, tourism, education, food processing, manufacturing, among others.

Singapore-Mongolia business dialogue

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia Damdin Tsogtbaatar

This deepening relationship was reflected by the enthusiastic turnout at the recent Singapore-Mongolia business dialogue, where close to 50 companies took part in the six business-matching sessions, spanning industries from Energy and Infrastructure to Tourism and Hospitality.

Organised by SBF in collaboration with the Embassy of Mongolia in Singapore, the business dialogue was a platform for businesses from both countries to understand the investment climate and opportunities in their respective markets. It is the first such dialogue since the Mongolia-Singapore Business Forum in 2015.

“Singapore is one of Mongolia’s largest trading partners in ASEAN. There remains much potential for deeper collaboration across a variety of sectors between the two
countries, particularly in education, tourism and hospitality, and financial services. Additionally, the information technology, real estate and manufacturing sectors are
potential high-growth areas for businesses in both countries to explore further,” said SBF CEO Mr Ho Meng Kit.

The event was held during the official visit of Mongolia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Damdin Tsogtbaatar. He was accompanied by a delegation of close to 30 Mongolian enterprises, led by the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce & Industries and the Business Council of Mongolia.

“The Singapore-Mongolia Business Dialogue is a valuable platform, not only to provide a better understanding of our country’s current investment climate and opportunities, but it is also an official gesture of commitment to wider bilateral exchange with Singapore, covering trade, culture and human capital,” said Mr Tsogtbaatar.

Mr Ho added that he hoped to see more Mongolian businesses set up in Singapore. “With our network of FTAs and knowledge of regional markets, Singapore is a good base for Mongolian firms looking to penetrate third-party markets in Southeast Asia and the wider South Asia region.”

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