The Singapore International Chamber of Commerce (SICC) is the oldest Chamber of Commerce in Asia. It was established on 8th February 1837. At that time Singapore was part of the Straits Settlement and shared close links with Penang. Anticipating the formation of Penang Chamber of Commerce, the Singapore Chamber of commerce preceded it by a few weeks. By 1837, the newly created Settlement was just nineteen years old and the East India Company controlled the administration of trade and commerce. This meant that the decisions pertaining to trade were in the hands of the Governor of the Straits Settlements, the Governor General in Calcutta and the Court of Directors in Leaden Hall Street, London.
The prominent traders in Singapore wanted greater power in the decision making process, while the East India Company was not willing to share power. Thus the traders came to the conclusion that the establishment of a Chamber of Commerce to address their grievances would give them the collective voice that cannot be ignored. The Chamber significantly achieved the objective of collective bargaining for the trades. The Company could not expect to stay in business, by ignoring the Chamber. The first one hundred years of the Chamber is also known as "The Imperial Era". Under the influence of the Chamber, trade and commerce flourished.
Post the Japanese Occupation in 1945; the Chamber began its next phase. The colonial legacy was dismantled and Singapore witnessed self governance in 1955, followed by Independence. The political and constitutional changes witnessed by Singapore, had an impact on the Chamber too. The Chamber witnessed an increase in both International and Domestic members. In line with these changes, in 1964 the Chamber was renamed as "The Singapore International Chamber of Commerce".
At present, the Chamber has membership from over 40 nationalities, which reflects the multi cultural, multi ethnic characteristic of the nation. Singapore based companies are the single largest national group (39%), followed by American (14%), Japanese (7%) and British (7%).
Some of the prominent Singapore based companies which are members of the Chamber are the Development Bank Of Singapore Ltd, Keppel Corporation Ltd, PAS Corporation Ltd, Singapore Power Ltd, Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, Singapore Technologies Pte Ltd, Singapore Airlines Ltd and Temasek Holdings (Pte) Ltd.
Representing the Private Sector
The Chamber effectively represents the private business community in Singapore. The Government consults the Chamber regarding the Multinational investments in Singapore. The Chamber also plays a constructive role in formulating key policies by the Government. The Chamber thus plays a dual role of being a "watchdog" in protecting the business interest of Singapore and also in acting as a catalyst in ensuring a conducive environment for flow of international business and investment into Singapore.
The Chamber provides general information to its members from time to time. The Chamber assists its members in establishing communication with official organizations. The members can also get specific information like latest facts and figures, which can be used by the members for business planning. The Chamber also provides assistance to international businessmen, trade delegates, journalists and other visitors to the Chamber.