Riding Malaysia’s export heroes

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 13): The Edge weekly in its latest edition said Malaysians should be happy that global demand for semiconductors has moved beyond smartphones and tablets to making other things — from wearables to cars, billboards and medical devices — smarter.

In its cover story, the Edge’s Cindy Yeap wrote this creates more demand for manufactured goods, which make up the lion’s share of the country’s exports.

It also helps power economic growth and had made Malaysia the world’s 24th largest exporter in 2016, accounting for 1.2% of global exports, according to data from the World Trade Organisation, said the weekly.

The magazine said electrical and electronic (E&E) products continue to be the main pillar of the country’s exports as well as the manufacturing sector, which contributed 23% to Malaysia’s GDP growth in 2016. E&E exports rose 20.5% year on year to RM314.27 billion in the first 11 months of 2017, making up 36.7% of total exports.

The Edge identified Carsem (M) Sdn Bhd (part of the Hong Leong group’s Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd), Unisem (M) Bhd, SilTerra Malaysia Sdn Bhd (under Khazanah Nasional Bhd), Inari Technology Bhd (wholly-owned subsidiary of Inari Amertron Bhd), Dominant Opto Technologies Sdn Bhd (subsidiary of D&O Green Technologies Bhd) and Globetronics (Technology Bhd) Group as the six local E&E companies listed on the website of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti).

It said the top 10 E&E multinational corporations in Malaysia are Western Digital Group, Panasonic Group, Intel Group, Samsung Group, Flextronics, HP Malaysia Manufacturing Sdn Bhd, Dyson Manufacturing Sdn Bhd, First Solar Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Infineon Group and OSRAM Opto Semiconductors Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Miti’s website shows at the time of writing.

The Edge said that helped by the availability of oil and gas as feedstock and a strong base of supporting services, the chemical and petrochemical subsector is the second largest contributor to exports. Exports of petroleum products rose 34.7% year on year to RM65.85 billion in January-November 2017 while exports of chemical and chemical products rose 28% year on year to RM62.59 billion.

The weekly said Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd leads the pack of major petrochemical players in Malaysia, with the others being Lotte Chemical Titan Holding Bhd, BASF Petronas Chemicals Sdn Bhd, Idemitsu Chemicals and Toray Plastics, citing Miti’s data.

It said the major oleochemical players are Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd’s KLK Oleo, IOI Oleochemicals (a subsidiary of IOI Corp Bhd), Sime Darby Plantation Bhd and Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd while the leading players in other speciality oleochemicals are CCM Chemicals Sdn Bhd (under Chemical Company of Malaysia Bhd), Synthomer Sdn Bhd (Synthomer PLC is UK-listed) and Taiko (under KLK).

According to the weekly, a number of these companies are oil palm planters that also contribute to exports of palm oil and palm-based agricultural products, which reached RM49.75 billion in January-November 2017, up 13.4% from the previous corresponding period.

Miti also counts the following companies as some of the major players in the plastics industry: Scientex Bhd, V.S. Industry Bhd, Thong Guan Industries Bhd, BP Plastics Holding Bhd and Tomypak Holdings Bhd.

Another sizeable export contributor is the machinery and equipment (M&E) subsector, whose growth is helped by sales of air conditioners and specialised products for the oil and gas exploration and production industry as well as parts for sinking and boring machinery.

For details on more of Malaysia’s export heroes, read the Edge for the week of Jan 15 – Jan 21 available at newsstands now.

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