Nearly 90,000 Singaporeans Applied for Chinese Visa in First Half
Qian Xiaoyan
DATE:  Jul 13 2023
/ SOURCE:  Yicai
Nearly 90,000 Singaporeans Applied for Chinese Visa in First Half Nearly 90,000 Singaporeans Applied for Chinese Visa in First Half

(Yicai Global) July 13 -- China has become a popular tourist and business destination for Singaporeans since Covid-19 restrictions were lifted earlier this year, as nearly 90,000 of them applied for Chinese visas in the first half of the year.

The figure was recently disclosed by Sun Haiyan, the Chinese Ambassador to Singapore, on Facebook.

Since May, the China Visa Application Service Center in Singapore has been allowing only residents with online reservations to show up at the center to apply for visas to avoid long queues, as the number of applicants wishing to travel to China is soaring.

This led to some scalpers booking appointments online and reselling them outside the visa center for SGD50 to SGD80 (USD38 to USD60) each.

A Singaporean travel agency said it has already planned 150 group tours to China this year. Beijing, Shanghai, and Fujian are among the most popular destinations.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, China was Singapore’s main source of tourists. Over 3.6 million tourists visited Singapore in 2019.

However, in the first half of this year, China was only Singapore’s fifth source of tourists, with 424,000 Chinese traveling to Singapore between January and June, according to data from Visit Singapore.

Visa-Free Policy Talks Between China and Singapore

Sun said on April 12 on Facebook that China proposed Singapore hold negotiations about a mutual visa-free entry policy to facilitate travel between the two countries.

Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Financial Minister Lawrence Wong Shyun Tsai also mentioned during his official visit to China on May 17 that the two countries had discussed mutual visa-free arrangements and that the city-state was glad to receive any suggested scheme from China.

China had a unilateral visa-free entry policy for people holding Singaporean, Bruneian, and Japanese ordinary passports before the Covid-19 outbreak. It was taken out on March 28, 2020.

A mutual visa-free policy involves bilateral arrangements and is not a unilateral concession, Zhou Shixin, an associate researcher at the Asia Pacific research center of the Shanghai Institute For International Studies, told Yicai Global.

With the proposal for mutual visa-free entry, the Chinese side hopes to advance closer relations between the two countries, Zhou noted. 

Staffers from the Japan Association for the Promotion of International Trade who recently visited China said that the latter had proposed Japan reintroduce their visa-free entry policy.

Editors: Shi Yi, Futura Costaglione

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Keywords:   Singapore,Visa-Free