SINGAPORE - Beijing Enterprises Water Group Ltd (BEWG), a leading Chinese water company, is expecting to invest as much as $1.6 billion in overseas markets in 5 years, a senior executive said on Wednesday.
The Hong Kong-listed water plants operator, which is a subsidiary of the State-owned Beijing Enterprises Holdings Ltd, officially launched its international headquarters in Singapore in early June.
The BEWG International Pte Ltd will be an umbrella firm to operate the group's current and potential investments in markets outside the Chinese mainland that are estimated to be up to S$2 billion ($1.6 billion) in total.
Speaking during the Singapore International Water Week, Zhang Zhenpeng, managing director of BEWG International, said that the company has so far invested about 3 billion yuan ($480 million) since it started expanding into the overseas market in 2009.
"The water industry leaders from China are gradually coming to be able to compete against the multinationals, as they accumulated the experience and technological expertise through their past ten or 20 years of fast growth and they have the capital, too," he said.
Zhang said that his company chose to base its international headquarters in Singapore because the city state has gradually come to be an international water hub. It is also a convenient location as a free trade hub, he added.
BEWG has also been expanding fast through acquisitions as the water industry in China went through a wave of consolidations. It also made investments in Portugal in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
The company is also bidding to build and operate a new water facility in Singapore that treats polluted water to produce super clean water. Most of such water is used for industries with special requirement, but a part of the new water is also put into the reservoirs before it goes to the taps.
Southeast Asia is an important market for the company, with a 2 billion yuan ($320 million) project in Malaysia. It also has made an investment of 95 million euro in 2013 to buy a water firm there.