20:05 GMT26 October 2020
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking at the annual Eastern Economic Forum held in Vladivostok, said that the flow of direct investment, including foreign, into Russia’s Far East is growing, but more needs to be done to increase the region’s investment attractiveness.

    Singapore’s former Ambassador to Russia Michael Tay, who now runs the Foundation for the Arts and Social Enterprise in Singapore has commented on what needs to be done to bring in more foreign business.

    Sputnik: In your opinion, the words that we’ve heard here from Yury Trutnev, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, who said that while foreign businessmen are being cautious about cooperating with Russia they’re missing out on an opportunity, is it correct to say that?

    Michael Tay: I think it’s been correct for the last 20 years. I think the Russian Far East is one of the most undiscovered opportunities for most businessmen, but one of the problems that was highlighted in the meeting is I think there is very little understanding of how the business opportunities are pitched to the rest of the world. So this is one example, the Eastern Economic Forum is one way, but there’s not enough international participation.

    Sputnik: In your opinion what does Russia have to do to improve its reputation? Is it selling its possibilities abroad, better promotion, better PR?

    Michael Tay: I think better PR is key for Russia because I think Russia suffers a unique disadvantage in world media. The western media tends to portray Russia as a difficult country, monolithic, authoritarian, not very interested in bringing in foreigners into Russia. I think that is a massive PR exercise that Russia has to start doing. I think it’s the only way you can overcome the caution of businesspeople. Business people are common people, they read the same newspapers, they understand Russia through western media. So when you ask these people to come to Russia, to the Far East, they are naturally cautious.

    Sputnik: Singapore was very quick in establishing itself as a prominent economic capital, what does Russia have to do to make something big like Singapore did?

    Michael Tay: There are many things that Singapore does that are unique to Singapore. Like in Russia has many cities, I’m not talking about giving one solution to the Russian continent, I’m talking about working with Singapore or taking some of the Singapore model in Saint Petersburg, in Vladivostok, in Khabarovsk, in Novosibirsk, in Nizhny Novgorod. I think that way you build up the cities and they become the nodes of success.

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Eastern Economic Forum, Singapore, Russia
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