BEIJING - Singaporeans seeking to start businesses overseas can look forward to greater help from their fellow countrymen based in foreign countries.

The Action Community for Entrepreneurs (Ace), a public-private partnership formed in 2003, is setting up overseas chapters to help new businessmen abroad. The first will be in Beijing, with others to follow.

The overseas groups aim to help start-ups by providing access to things like mentorship, networks and resources.

Given Singapore's small market, entrepreneurs should seize opportunities to go overseas and make this part of their growth strategy early on, said Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck.

'Start-ups may start local, but should always think global,' said Mr Teo, who is also Ace chairman, at the launch of its Beijing chapter in the Chinese capital last night.

'It is also imperative for them to do so, to sustain growth in the longer term,' he added.

Beijing was picked to be Ace's first overseas stop as China represents the biggest market in the world for many industries, noted Mr James Tan, who chairs its overseas sub-committee.

It is also 'a natural magnet', as a key city for sectors ranging from technology to media to communications, noted Mr Tan, co-founder of 55tuan, one of China's biggest group-buying websites.

The launch comes amid recent calls by the Government for Singapore firms to tap into likely growth in China's services market, health care and urban solutions.

'The Ace Beijing Chapter aims to promote a vibrant community of entrepreneurs, professionals and local partners,' Mr Teo told more than 100 guests from Singapore and China at the Grand Millennium Hotel.

Ace Beijing hopes to help new companies get started, including assisting in basics like obtaining office space.

The start-ups can also count on the expertise and networks of more than 30 Beijing-based Singaporeans in Ace Beijing, in fields ranging from travel to finance.

'Ace Beijing provides a 'by Singaporeans, for Singaporeans' soft-landing platform where mentors and entrepreneurs can sharpen their ideas and execution, thus improving their chances of success,' said Mr Tan, who is based in Beijing.