Following is the transcript of a CNBC interview with Simon Doughty, CEO of Wallem Group. The interview was broadcast on CNBC on 26 April 2017 at 12.20PM SG/HK Time during CNBC's "Hong Kong versus Singapore" theme week.
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Interviewed by Dan Murphy, Correspondent, CNBC and Emily Tan, Correspondent, CNBC.
Dan Murphy: Simon, great to get you on CNBC. Welcome to Capital Connection.
Simon Doughty: Thank you Dan.
Dan: Now, first and foremost we have seen Singapore coming in first place in the latest rankings when it comes to international maritime centres. It is ranked above Hong Kong and Shanghai, what does that mean for your business when it comes to future growth. Where are you looking for future growth?
Doughty: We're seeing future growth in various maritime services that we're providing. We've opened our ship management offices here in Singapore and that's growing considerably. We've been established for 60 years in Singapore so we're seeing other services growing here. There's a great opportunity all around and the MPA and the Singapore Government are very strong in promoting the industry here.
Dan: And Emily has a question for you.
Emily Tan: Thanks a lot Dan. Simon, Emily coming to you here from HACTL the super terminal number 1 at the airport. Now, the government officials, like Li Keqiang, over in China has proposed something called The Bay Area – linking up Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau. So with all these ports together, do you think that it's going to help Hong Kong or hurt Hong Kong in the long run in terms of building the industry, in terms of trade in the air and in terms of shipping, in the seas?
Doughty: I think it's going to be a great opportunity for Hong Kong. Hong Kong is part of China. We've just established our own crewing office, manning office in Guangzhou and China is allowing Hong Kong-based ship managers to open up there, so there's a huge opportunity as Hong Kong gets connected into China itself.
Dan: And Simon, you said recently that the Hong Kong Government could be doing more to support the sector. What do you mean by that?
Doughty: Yeah, I'd like to see them getting involved to support the youngsters so they actually see the young generation see the maritime shipping industry and this is an industry to go into, rather than just looking at the finance and the legal sectors. And there's a great opportunity, it's been a great career for myself…(I'm convinced) other people would see that as well.
Dan: And again, the other interesting thing here is when it comes to cost and regulations. We know that that's something that your business is obviously looking at - you need to operate in a low-cost, easy regulatory environment. Is that necessarily Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai anymore?
Doughty: I think both Hong Kong and Singapore are very good for the regulatory side and for the taxation side, but the cost of doing business in both Hong Kong and Singapore…we're seeing both cities regularly being up there as the most expensive cities in the world to operate. And as a services industry, we've got to work out where we can do this efficiently and effectively. So we are looking at some of the outliers to some of our services to. It could be the Philippines; it could be Cyprus in Europe.