2016 was a year of uncertainty, with key events such as Brexit and the US Presidential elections catching many market watchers by surprise. Global growth remained tepid, while calls for protectionism and tightening trade measures grew louder.
As industries continue to be disrupted by new technologies, the changing business landscape requires Singapore to remain open, agile and globally connected to keep up with the latest developments. To sustain growth and competitiveness, Singapore companies need to scale up by expanding overseas where they can access new resources and enjoy greater economies of scale. Indeed, our enterprises must always have a global mindset from the start.
As the government agency that promotes international trade and partners Singapore to go global, IE Singapore transforms Singapore businesses to become global-ready through a variety of initiatives - whether through manpower development strategies, market access grants or extensive on-the-ground support through our offices around the world. We do this because the future of Singapore's growth lies in internationalisation. Internationalisation creates economic value for Singapore by generating more skilled jobs for Singaporeans, increasing profits that can be funnelled back into our local economy and allowing our companies to invest in knowledge creation and technologies for innovation.
This is a view further emphasised by the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) report on the need for deeper regional connections, particularly in the key markets of Southeast Asia, China and India. Over half of our offices worldwide are situated in these key markets, and we will continue to build relationships with the local governments and enterprises to ensure Singapore firms can venture to specific cities and regions with ease.
Infrastructure has emerged as a key growth engine powering the region's development. With Asia's infrastructure market valued at over US$1 trillion a year, we are actively developing Singapore as the hub for structuring, financing and implementing projects in the Asia-Pacific region. We are also working closely with Singapore firms across the infrastructure value chain to venture aboard and capture these opportunities. At the same time, we are building a steady pipeline of professionals to support the overseas expansion of our firms through the Global Ready Infrastructure Talent (GRIT) programme.
Our three Memoranda of Understanding with Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China will give Singapore firms greater access to financing and support for projects along China's Belt and Road (BRI) initiative. We are also partnering the Chongqing Municipal Government to implement two platform projects as part of the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative (CCI) - the third government-to-government project between Singapore and China. In India, a consortium of Singapore firms was awarded master development rights to build Andhra Pradesh's new capital city of Amaravati. The 8,000 sq km area will be revamped over the next 15 to 20 years, with the project cited as Singapore's most significant contribution to India's rapid urban development.
Data from our internationalisation survey in 2016 shows overseas revenue for companies grew 4.2% year-on-year - more than three times the pace of the total revenue. With 53% of total revenue for SMEs coming from overseas, we are heartened that Singapore companies are capturing more opportunities from abroad. In 2016, we facilitated over 450 projects globally, 18% of which involved significant business transformation and 16% related to entry into completely new markets.
We supported a total of 37,000 companies in their overseas ventures last year. Of these, 20% were companies that set foot outside Singapore for the first time to venture into key markets of China, India and Southeast Asia. Our strong partnership with Trade Associations and Chambers has allowed us to offer wide-ranging assistance. Close to 40 of our joint initiatives were digital-related - a nod to the increasing importance of digitalisation in today's economy.
Back home, we are also building Singapore's economic resilience by enhancing Singapore's status as a global trading hub. In 2016, we anchored 41 global trading firms in Singapore under the Global Trader Programme. Local business spending by the firms totalled S$24.1 billion. Commodity trading continued to contribute significantly to Singapore, with the sector accounting for over 15,000 jobs and approximately US$900 billion in international trade revenue. Today, we are the largest trading hub in Asia and among the top three worldwide.
As internationalisation takes centre-stage in Singapore's future growth, our vision remains for Singapore to be a leading global economy. We will continue partnering high-growth companies to go global while establishing backward economic linkages to ensure Singapore reaps the full benefits of globalisation.