Singapore aims to become a global waterhub

Singapore water companies, which are known for their purifying technology, are looking to take full advantage of China's huge spending on quality water supply.

Reuters reported that China is planning to spend $850bn (£559bn, €654bn) over the next 10 years to improve its scarce and polluted water supplies. Singapore, which has been exporting its expertise in water technology to China, is attracting investments from global investors to expand the water sector, which had been identified as a strategic growth industry.

Since 2006, the industry has achieved significant growth, with the number of water companies doubling to 100. Over the same period, the companies have secured more than 100 international projects worth about S$9bn (£4.7bn).

With few domestic freshwater resources of its own, the country has turned its "vulnerability into a valuable asset" by giving importance to the sector. The city-state has also significantly reduced imports from neighbouring Malaysia. It aims to become self-sufficient in water by 2061, when a water supply agreement with Malaysia expires.

In line with its plan to become a "global waterhub", Singapore has developed a vibrant water industry cluster, involving R&D centres, equipment suppliers, system integrators and EPC firms, project developers and financing organisations.

Singapore's biggest listed water treatment company, Hyflux, in April signed two agreements for projects in China. The S$1.2bn company is known for its ultrafiltration technology used to separate certain dirty or harmful particles in water. It attracted investments from global players including Matthews International Capital Management, Mondrian Investment Partners and Jim Rogers, who co-founded the Quantum Fund with George Soros.

Another listed company, United Envirotech, which primarily operates in China has secured $40m investment from US private equity firm KKR & Co earlier this year. Also, the company that is known for its membrane bioreactor technology combining membrane separation with biological wastewater treatment, is in talks with some potential investors.

Other prominent water companies in the country include SIIC Environment Holdings, Memstar Technology and HanKore Environment Tech Group.