Jan 13, 2014

    More Singapore eateries opening in the US

    LOS Angeles residents could be reaching for Singapore's very own VeganBurg after the chain hits the western United States city in October. And come June, diners in San Francisco could head to Crystal Jade Jiang Nan, an offshoot of the Singapore restaurant chain, for dim sum and roasted barbecue meats.

    Local food businesses are once again looking to tap the US - the largest single market in the world with a gross domestic product of about US$15.5 trillion in 2012 - after a lull in the wake of the global financial crisis. The stabilising US economy and increased consumer confidence are some reasons restaurants are surging into the US market.

    Some, like VeganBurg, Crystal Jade and Tung Lok - opening in New York City next year - have found suitable locations. Several, like Japanese restaurant Sushi Tei, German bar and restaurant Brotzeit, tea retailer The 1872 Clipper Tea Co and Malay-themed Mamanda, are looking for business partners and hope to expand in the next one to three years.

    Dr May Gao, chair of the Symposium on Asia-US Partnership Opportunities, organised by Kennesaw State University in Georgia, said: "The US currency has devalued and it makes sense for Asian companies to invest (in the US)."

    Ms Natalie Choo, group director for the Americas at IE Singapore, said that lease rates are attractive as property developers are eager to fill vacant retail spaces - a consequence of the housing bust.

    Experts dealing with Asian companies say they are seeing more small businesses heading to the US.

    Mr Timothy Hilligoss, a shareholder at accountancy firm Clayton & McKervey, who specialises in helping Asian firms start up in the US, said the volume of clients these days has doubled from the 2008 and 2009 period, when the economy took a hit.

    He added: "(The) states are also more aggressive when it comes to attracting businesses... We see more activity there."