Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) opened the Estonian Embassy and Business Hub in Singapore on Monday, together with Lawrence Wong, acting Prime Minister of Singapore.
Speaking at the opening of the Embassy, Kallas emphasized that Estonia and Singapore have much in common. "Over the years, we have established close bilateral relations with Singapore. Estonia and Singapore are both small, open economies. We are also among the most advanced digital societies in the world, valuing innovation and technology, as well as quality education. We have a lot to learn from each other and a lot to offer to the rest of the world," said Kallas.
The Estonian prime minister added, that as small countries, Estonia and Singapore share the same values when it comes to maintaining an international order based on international law and the UN Charter. They also share an understanding of the need to protect it.
"Russia's aggression against Ukraine must not be allowed to pay off – otherwise, it will encourage all other potential aggressors in the world. The security of Europe and Asia is clearly linked, and the politics of spheres of influence must have no place here. Estonia has an interest in lasting stability and peace in South-East Asia and the wider Indo-Pacific region. To serve that interest, it is important for us to understand the concerns and views of the region, and to do this better, we need to have a presence here," Kallas explained.
Kallas addedthat there has been a significant increase in interest from Estonian companies in Singapore and the wider South-East Asian region.
"The Estonian state wants to help our companies in distant markets. Similarly, it is important to actively promote the stable business environment and opportunities of Estonia to Singaporean businesses – Estonia is a very good destination for investments. That is why I am delighted to see the Business Hub up and running alongside the embassy. Estonian companies see Singapore as a hub and gateway to South-East Asia, and Estonia can be a gateway to Northern Europe for Singaporean companies," Kallas said.
Estonia's Ambassador to Singapore, Priit Turk, also stressed that some Estonian companies, including Wise, Guardtime, Funderbeam, ClamBeat, Cybernetica, Ridango have already found their way to Singapore and the wider region. However, for many other Estonian companies, South-East Asia, with the world's fastest growth potential and a population of over 700 million people, is still a new frontier yet to be explored.
"The Embassy and the Business Hub want to increase the visibility of Estonia and our companies in Singapore and the surrounding countries to help companies enter the local market and find partners, as well as to bring investments to Estonia. All the more so, as Singapore's financial firms are important global investors, especially in new technologies and science-intensive solutions," Turk added.
The Estonian Embassy and Business Hub are located at the heart of Singapore's Central Business District (CBD). The interior design of the premises is inspired by Estonian nature and cultural heritage, and by Estonia as an innovative technological and digital nation.
"Our spaces tell the story of Estonia. A story intertwining primeval nature, long-standing cultural traditions, and technological innovation. The hub will provide an ideal opportunity for Estonian companies to establish business relationships, organize events, and promote Estonia to Singapore and partners in the region," explained Johanna-Riinu Annuk, head of the Business Centre.
Upon entering the center, visitors are greeted by a wall covered with the bark of an Estonian aspen tree. The ceiling of the center is decorated with felt with embedded LED lights. This solution makes it possible to depict different natural phenomena in Estonia, such as snowfall, the northern lights, and sunny daylight. The pine needles covering the walls and ceiling of the meeting room create a special pine forest effect and also act as acoustic panels.
The space also incorporates many Estonian design elements, such as handmade lamps, modular sofas, and benches made of mycoplastic, which is developed from the mycelium of mushrooms.
Editor: Michael Cole