Korea, Japan firms eyeing Malaysia as Asean production hub

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 23): More and more companies in Korea and Japan are eyeing to make Malaysia a production hub for the Southeast Asian market, said International Trade and Industry Minister Darrell Leiking.

Speaking in the Dewan Rakyat today, Leiking said a government-led business promotion entourage to the two countries on Oct 14-Oct 21 has roped in potential investments of up to RM2.9 billion.

"There is a lot of potential — a lot of companies focusing on the fields of petrochemical, electrical and electronic (E&E) and medical equipment.

"In Japan, we have garnered potential investments of RM2.13 billion, particularly in the sectors of petrochemicals, logistics, medical equipment, E&E, home appliances, and furniture," he said.

The promotion also conducted business-to-business (B2B) matching arrangements that may fetch an additional RM33 million of investments into the country.

"For South Korea, the potential investments comprise RM711.8 million in the industries of chemicals, E&E and home appliances," Leiking said, adding that the potential investments via B2B matching with that nation through the latest entourage are valued a RM1 billion.

"This is quite interesting; most companies seeking to invest in Malaysia this time around are huge companies.

"We have the second largest foam producer in the world, as well as one of the leading heart stent mechanism manufacturers… These companies want to make Malaysia a production hub for the Asean market," said the minister.

On the halal industry, Leiking noted that businesses in the two nations have suggested that digital commerce be strengthened in this regard.

"Companies in Japan and Korea have proposed to manufacture their products here, to utilise the halal certifications from Malaysia to market their products around the world.

"It has gone beyond just food products, but also cosmetics," he added.

The entourage involved 91 representatives from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysian Investment Development Authority, Malaysia External Trade Development Corp, with participation of Johor, Terengganu, Melaka and Penang excos.

"We will continue this activity through 2019 and will focus on Malaysia's main trading partners, namely the Asean, US, China, the EU, India, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE," he said.