Beyond China, carmakers seek new drivers of Asian growth

Posted on : 20-04-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

Shanghai – Southeast Asia’s potential beckons as global automakers look beyond China’s massive market to extend their sales boom in the region, but executives say they face a struggle to match the explosive Chinese growth.

Chinese passenger-car sales have quadrupled over the past 10 years to 24.38 million last year, having become the world’s biggest market in 2009.

But with Chinese economic growth moderating, one question being asked at the Shanghai Auto Show is: where in Asia can carmakers look for the next boom?

“There is a challenge to seek growth where the growth is. You look at countries that are less equipped and are in the process of growth or acceleration,” said Marc Boilard, industry analyst at the firm Oliver Wyman.

Southeast Asia’s potential remains significant, with more than 600 million people, solid economic growth and just 2.1 million passenger vehicles sold last year in the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

But carmakers say issues such as import taxes, regional dominance by Japanese manufacturers and lagging infrastructure work against broad-based growth.

ASEAN “is a market that is closed, where import taxes are very high”, making it necessary to invest in local manufacturing, said Carlos Tavares, chairman of France’s PSA, which produces Peugeot and Citroen.

Indonesia has 250 million people, but US automaker Ford pulled out last year in the face of Japanese firms’ more than 90% market share, said David Schoch, CEO of Ford China.

“When I sit back and look at it, and think about electrification, smart mobility, and where the industry is going … where are you going to place your bet?” Schoch said.

Ford has announced plans to double down on China, where electric-vehicle and SUV sales continue to surge.

“Although Indonesia represents a fairly large market and is growing, again, we couldn’t see a way forward that we could be successful there,” Schoch said.

Vietnam holds potential with more than 90 million people and less than 30 vehicles per 1000, compared with China’s 120 and 800 in the United States.

BYD CONCEPT: A Singulato Concept car is displayed during the first day of the 17th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition in Shanghai. Image: AFP.

“The only downside, however, is that these markets have been dominated by the Japanese for a very long time,” said Franois Jaumain of PwC Autofacts.

Japanese carmakers account for 71% of sales in Thailand and 59% in Vietnam, according to PwC.

PSA, whose China sales plunged 16% in 2016, plans to target 5% of Vietnam’s passenger-car volume, which reached just 158 000 last year.

It also is pursuing a strategic partnership with Proton, the struggling national carmaker of Malaysia, where half a million cars were sold last year.

Infrastructure development, which helped facilitate China’s private-car boom, has not kept up in Southeast Asia.

Sebastien Amichi of consultancy Roland Berger said: “We’ve been talking a long time about the ‘new dragons’, which have had difficulty taking off.

“When we take these countries together, Southeast Asia could be a good growth area, if the infrastructure and banking networks are set up effectively.”


San Miguel keen to set up trading facility in M’sia

Posted on : 08-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

MANILA: Philippines’ food and beverage company, San Miguel PureFoods Co, is keen to set up a trading facility in Malaysia to tap the country’s halal market.

Its president, Francisco S. Alego III, said a feasibility study would be undertaken and the products would be brought to the Malaysian market.

He said in addition to cater to the local market, the food processing arm of San Miguel would also set its sight to make this facility a hub for exports.

“I think most countries welcomed halal products that are produced in Malaysia and that’s why we are seriously looking into the possibility of setting up the facility whether to process meat, beef, or dairy products from Malaysia,” he told Malaysia reporters after a meeting with International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
At the moment, he said, Malaysia’s operation of San Miguel, via Petron Malaysia Bhd, contributed a single digit to the group.

“This is relatively small although we see a huge opportunity in Malaysia, especially with the per capita income, Malaysia is huge.

“So, I think this meeting today is the start of a bigger thing to come between our two countries with San Miguel in the forefront,” he said.

Also present was Halal Industry Development Corp (HDC) Vice President (Industry Development), Ahmad Lokman Ibrahim.

HDC, an agency under Miti, focussing on coordinating overall development of the halal industry in Malaysia, was ready to assist San Miguel set up the facility, Ahmad Lokman said.

Malaysia, he said, has successfully developed three halal parks and would be offered to those keen to be part of the development.

“A similar model can also be developed in this country with HDC’s expertise and knowledge,” he said.

Last year, he said, Malaysia exported US$10bil (RM44.6bil) worth of halal products.

The meeting ended Mustapa’s working visit to Manila, which was held in conjunction with the 23rd Asean Economic Meeting’s (AEM) retreat which was held from March 8 to 10.

Earlier, Mustapa spent time together with local business community during a luncheon, before meeting with Secretary of Philippines Department of Trade and Industry, Ramon Lopez.

SOURCE- Bernama

Blueprint to spur trade investment between Malaysia & Philippines

Posted on : 08-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

MANILA– The Malaysia-Philippines Business Council (MPBC) and the Philippines-Malaysia Business Council (PMBC) will develop a five-year blueprint to give a fresh impetus to both countries’ trade and investment.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the blueprint would also further raise the visibility of both countries.

“I hope both countries will contribute inputs for the blueprint,” he said after chairing a meeting between both councils here today.

The MPBC representatives are from AlloyMtd Group, Muhibbah Engineering (M) Bhd, Halal Industry Development Corporation and Alumni Institute of Malaysia while the PMBC are represented by San Miguel Corp, Makati Business Club and Maybank ATR Kim End Securities.

Mustapa said both countries should focus on sectors which Malaysia’s excel in such as halal, finance and services industries.

“We will share our knowledge with the Philippines. I have suggested to them to focus on small and medium enterprise development and to engage an intern per company.

“This is to allow young Malaysians to work together with our Philippines counterparts and vice-versa.

“This is important as ASEAN is getting more integrated. I anticipate more businesses to be conducted in this region and it is vital for youngsters to understand the culture, language and companies of various ethnicities,” he said after attending the launch of AlloyMtd Group’s mini Putrajaya project in Palayan.

Mustapa, is on a working visit to Manila in conjunction with the 23rd Asean Economic Minister retreat held here from March 8 to 10.

He said last year, the Philippines economy grew almost seven per cent and in the next five years, it was expected to grow more than 6.5 per cent per annum.

“There is a lot of developments going on here especially in the infrastructure sector and I foresee Malaysia to capitalise on them.

“In Malaysia, we are also going through massive transformation and this will be good for both countries,” he said.

Meanwhile on bilateral trade, Mustapa said total bilateral trade, last year, amounted to RM20.24 billion, an of 2.7 per cent over RM19.71 billion registered in 2015.

He said exports registered a growth of 3.6 per cent to RM13.64 billion while imports stood at RM6.6 billion, up one per cent.

“Overall, Malaysia’s trade surplus rose 6.1 per cent to RM7.05 billion from RM6.65 billion previously.

“Among products exported to the Philippines are electrical and electronics goods, palm oil and chemical based products, machineries and processed food while items imported included electrical and electronics goods, chemical based products, natural rubbers, processed food, optical and scientific equipment,” he added.


EU group says China plan ’skews’ high-tech field

Posted on : 07-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

BEIJING: Beijing’s plans to use “staggering” subsidies to create national champions in high-tech industries would further skew China’s business playing field and worsen trade frictions, a European lobby group warned on Tuesday (Mar 7).

The EU Chamber of Commerce said in a report state subsidies of hundreds of billions of dollars and foreign technology transfers in 10 sectors were “highly problematic” and urged China to stop interfering in the market.

“We see that Chinese market players are entering the global marketplace, whereas we are still here in front of the Great Wall of China,” the group’s president Joerg Wuttke told reporters ahead of the release of the report on Beijing’s China Manufacturing 2025 plan first announced in 2015.

The report said subsidies for industries including new-energy vehicles, information technology and robotics had “already created problems for both China’s economy and European business”.

“We think China would be better off not picking winners and deciding who’s doing what in the future,” said Wuttke. “The recommendation we have there is, ’stay away, let the market pick the winners’.”

European electric carmakers face “intense pressure to turn over advanced technology in exchange for near-term market access”, and IT companies have seen their market access shrink, the report said.

The Chinese plan’s emphasis on self-sufficiency is “particularly concerning – it suggests that Chinese policies will further skew the competitive landscape in favour of domestic companies”.

This could cause a new flood of overcapacity in those industries, as happened previously in the steel and solar sectors, and exacerbate tensions with China’s international trade partners, the report said.

China’s Communist-controlled parliament is holding its annual 10-day session in Beijing, in which delegates approve growth targets and the national budget.

Beijing has urged its companies to enter markets abroad in search of higher returns and advanced technologies to make them more competitive in a range of high-value sectors from aerospace to agribusiness and robotics.

China ranked 84th globally – behind Saudi Arabia and Ukraine – in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index for 2016, and second to last in an OECD report on the restrictiveness towards foreign investment.

Since President Xi Jinping took over in 2012, the government has moved away from liberalisation on several fronts, strengthening state-owned enterprises, increasing capital controls and tightening restrictions on free exchange of information and ideas online.

In a report released in January by the American Chamber of Commerce in China, a record 80 per cent of 462 US businesses who replied to a survey said they felt that foreign companies were less welcome than in the past.


Malaysian car parts companiese urged to grab opportunities in Indonesian mart

Posted on : 19-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

JAKARTA– Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) has urged Malaysian companies to continue pursue opportunities for increasing exports of car parts to Indonesia.

Its Trade Commissioner to Indonesia, Naim Abdul Rahman, said this was because Indonesia has a big car industry, ranked second after Thailand in Association of South-East Asian Nations in terms of car production.

Its annual car production is around one million units while its car parts imports alone were worth over US$3 billion (US$1 = RM4.45).

“These figures constitute all kinds of car parts made for original equipment manufacturers or replacement parts for motor vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles,” he told Bernama after the launching of Proton Iriz in Jakarta today.

Naim said Malaysia was one of the major suppliers of car parts like absorbers, weatherstrips, brake pads, wheel rims, transmission parts, head up displays, alarms, sensors, lighting electronics and air conditioners to the country.

He said to overcome the stiff competition from other countries, Malaysian companies must continued to offer quality car parts and worked closely with their Indonesian distributors on effective marketing strategies.

“Participating in trade events such as in the coming exhibition, International Auto Parts, Accessories and Equip Exhibition 2017, would be an effective platform for Malaysian companies to promote their car parts and components in Indonesia and more importantly to meet up with the right buyers present in the market,” he added.

He also welcomed Indonesian companies’ interest in sourcing for Malaysia-made car parts and components at Automechanika Kuala Lumpur which will be held from March 23-25, 2017.

Matrade Jakarta is coordinating to arrange an International Sourcing Programme for Indonesian buyers during the event.


Proton eyes Indonesian mart with launch of Iriz

Posted on : 19-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

JAKARTA: Proton Holdings Bhd’s compact car, Proton Iriz, will compete with other small variants in the Indonesian market, said the national carmaker’s chief executive, Datuk Ahmad Fuad Kenali.

He said the entry of the car was to test the market for compact cars after several models, like Waja and Persona, had been in the Indonesian market over the past year.

“In an effort the recover the market for Proton cars in Indonesia, the national car company launches Proton Iriz first before other models like Saga and Persona,” he told Bernama after the launch of the model here yesterday.

Proton Iriz is a 1.3 cc compact vehicle with a comfortable interior.

He said Proton, now in turnaround stage, launched four models last year.

“The Perdana was launched in June, Pesona in August, Saga in September and Ertiga in November,” he said.

Ahmad Fuad said the company has operated in Indonesia for a long time but because there were no suitable models it has to start with the Proton Iriz.

“The launch of this new model is part of the marketing strategy to boost demand for Proton cars after the slack in 2015 and early 2016.

“The strategy now is to appoint new agents to sell Proton cars and to offer good services,” he said. He added that the world economic condition has improved and this gave Proton the confidence to recover the domestic and overseas market shares.


MPOB reopens regional office in Tehran

Posted on : 07-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

TEHRAN: The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) today officially reopened its regional office here.

Located at the Malaysian Embassy on Eyvanak Boulevard, it is set to facilitate and promote utilisation of Malaysian palm oil in Iran and other central Asian countries.

The Tehran regional office opened in 2001, and was suspended temporarily in 2008, after the United Nation’s imposed sanctions on the country in 2006.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong in officiating the event, said it also opens up a new chapter for Malaysian palm oil in Iran and the region.

Iran offers a possible gateway for Malaysian palm oil to penetrate neighbouring countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

“I strongly believe that the presence of the MPOB office and its permanent representatives in Iran, will facilitate and enhance further the technical advisory services extended to the country’s oils and fats industry,” said Mah.

The minister said the office will act as a one-stop centre for Iranian consumers, organisations and the media in obtaining correct information on palm oil, and handle scientific seminars, technical visits and hands-on training related to the commodity.

Mah said further economic gains could be achieved by Iran in processing palm oil-based products domestically, which also provides an opportunity for re-export to third countries or markets within the region.

“Iran, with a population of 82 million, is itself a big market. We also hope it can be a hub for the neighbouring countries.

“If we can complete the preferential or the free trade agreement, it is easier for Iran to become a centre,” he added.

The hosting of the Malaysia-Iran Palm Oil Trade Fair and Seminar (POTS) 2017 in Tehran on Feb 6, offered oils and fats industry players from both countries, an opportunity to explore this possibility.

In 2016, Malaysia exported 453,172 tonnes of palm oil and palm oil products to Iran, of which 60 per cent was palm olein for cooking and industry frying purposes.

Malaysia produced 17.32 million tonnes of crude palm oil and exported 23.29 million tonnes and related products in 2016.

Mah led the Malaysian Economic and Technical Missions on Palm Oil, Timber and Rubber Products over three days to Iran from Feb 5. The team will be in India from Feb 8-9.

The delegation comprises representatives from the ministry, Malaysian Palm Oil Council, Malaysian Palm Oil Board, Malaysian Timber Council and Malaysian Rubber Board.


Iran positive on Malaysia’s request for palm oil import duty cut

Posted on : 07-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

TEHRAN— Iran’s Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) has hinted positively that Malaysia had the chance for a better differential import duty for palm oil.

Malaysia is negotiating a further reduction of duty on palm oil on existing tariff lines under a free trade agreement (FTA).

Currently, palm oil exported to Iran has a 40 per cent import tax imposed, whereas, other vegetable oils are only taxed 24 per cent.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said a bilateral discussion with Iran’s Agriculture Minister, Mahmoud Hojatti had yielded a positive response to the request to reduce the import duty.

“But we still have to convince Iran’s health department. Besides protecting Iran’s homegrown oils, we were told the higher duty was due to health concerns over palm oil,” he told Bernama.

Iran’s MOA is the authority responsible for the implementation, monitoring and enforcement of import tax for vegetable oils in the country.

Mah has been here from February 5 in leading the three-day Malaysian Economic and Technical Mission on Palm Oil, Timber and Rubber Products to Iran.

He said the challenge faced by palm oil in Iran was that of “misconception” as there had been several reports which conveyed a negative impression of it, especially from the health perspective.

These included a report by Iran’s local news agency on September 22, 2014, which quoted Dr Majid Hajifaraji, President of the Iranian Nutrition Society and Head of National Health and Food Technology Research Institute of Iran, as saying that palm oil increased the risk of cardio vascular diseases.

“But he (Dr Majid) had denied making such a statement,” said Mah.

He said palm oil was a healthy and nutritional oil and thus, the misconception about it in Iran needs to be addressed.

Malaysia has undertaken more than 150 nutritional studies by renowned research institutions globally that shows palm oil is a balanced and nutritional oil.

Red palm oil is a rich source of pro-vitamin A carotenoid that promotes a healthy lifestyle and it is also cost effective, with a balance of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.

“We have now decided to be proactive in countering all the misconceptions. That is why we launched the Malaysian Palm Oil Board’s (MPOB) information booklet on the benefits of palm oil in Persian at the Malaysia-Iran Palm Oil Trade Fair and Seminar (POTS Iran 2017).

“We will continue to translate books on palm oil into Persian and engage with consumers here. Malaysia’s palm oil is currently exported to more than 160 countries and used in a multitude of applications.

“We assure that there are no varying qualities of Malaysian origin palm oil.

“Malaysian palm oil is also safe, healthy and being cultivated with good agricultural practices,” said Mah.


Malaysia banks on aerospace sector to attract foreign investments

Posted on : 07-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

NEW YORK: The Malaysia Investment Development Authority (Mida) is promoting the aerospace sector as a game-changer to attract foreign direct investments and boost the country’s industrial image.

Mida’s New York director, Shams Rusli, said Boeing’s 2016-2036 market outlook data revealed that global demand would grow to over 39,600 planes in the next 20 years, with a value of over US$5.93 trillion (RM26.3 trillion).

“Aerospace is a promising sector,” he said in an interview with Bernama.

He said the aerospace was seen as a strategic industry in Malaysia’s investment-promotion strategy, as it was in line with the country’s industrialisation and technological development programmes.

“The Malaysia International Aerospace Centre and the Asia Aerospace City, both located in Subang, are expected to further strengthen Malaysia’s image and propel it into the international aerospace arena.

“Malaysia’s specialised industry parks, which cater to technology-intensive industry and research and development activities, such as the Technology Park Malaysia in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur and the Kulim Hi-Tech Park in Kedah, can provide the crucial support in promoting aerospace-related activities,” he said.

Additionally, he said, Malaysia’s free trade agreements could be seen as a ‘hidden tax incentive’, in that they provide wider and bigger market coverage.

Currently, Malaysia has bilateral trade agreements with Australia, Chile, Japan, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Turkey, China, South Korea, Japan and India, he said.

On the current uncertainties with regards to US companies’ foreign investments given President Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ slogan that encouraged US firms to create jobs at home, Shams said Malaysia’s efforts to attract investors would not affect American jobs.

Instead, he said, US companies could leverage on Malaysia’s economic and political stability, great facilities and infrastructure, as well as its strength in the financial and manufacturing sector to penetrate the lucrative Asia-Pacific region.

“As a profit centre in Asia, Malaysia is a good place to start for US companies wanting to tap the lucrative Asia-Pacific markets,” he said.


Ride-hailing firm Grab to invest $700 million in Indonesia

Posted on : 03-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab on Thursday said it will invest $700 million to expand in Indonesia over the next four years, marking its biggest-ever investment in any country.

Grab’s push in what has become its largest market is set to intensify the competition among ride-hailing firms in Indonesia. Grab’s rivals in the country include U.S. firm Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] and home-grown app Go-Jek.

Grab will open a research and development (R&D) center, start a new investment fund and develop its payment platform in Indonesia. It had also hired Indonesia’s former national police chief to oversee corporate governance.

Grab said its R&D center in Jakarta will develop localized solutions such as algorithms to address the road regulations in the Indonesian capital. It will also invest up to $100 million in early-stage start-ups or aspiring “technopreneurs”.

Grab, which was co-founded by Harvard Business School graduate Anthony Tan, raised $750 million in a funding round last September, more than a month after its Indonesian rival, Go-Jek, received $550 million from investors including KKR and Warburg Pincus.

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata; Editing by Himani Sarkar)


Agrobazaar continues to help states promote agro-based products in Singapore

Posted on : 28-12-2016 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

SINGAPORE: Agrobazaar, an entity owned by the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA), continues to serve as a sales and promotion centre in Singapore for agro-based industry products from all Malaysian states.

It was recently a venue for the launch of the Perak Plate and Visit Perak Year 2017 Promotion in Singapore by Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir.

For this year alone, Agrobazaar has been the venue for three other states namely Sarawak, Melaka and Terengganu in promoting their respective agrobased products.

“Agrobazaar will be a good opportunity for Perak businesses to enter the Singaporean market with their products,” said Dr Zambry during the launch.

“I believe the time is absolutely perfect and our agro-based products, such as snacks, drinks, cordials, frozen food and seafood, which have gone through a rigorous selection and quality assessment process, will surely impress any Singaporean with an appreciation for the arts and quality ingredients,” he said.

Zambry noted that there are 69 agro-based products stock keeping units (SKUs) from 30 small and medium businesses from throughout Perak at the Agrobazaar here.

“Perak is anticipating an increase in the number of agrobased products as we look into upgrading the quality of our product preparation, quality, packaging and certification.

“I hope all agencies, especially FAMA and state agencies alike, are open to working together with the state government of Perak to build and expand the agro-based industry even further,” said the Mentri Besar.

Zambry said Perak Plate is a campaign that will put forth the very best local offerings from small-scale industries with a package twist in the form of agrotourism.

At the Agrobazaar here, Singaporeans can find all the amazing food products from Perak from Dec 20, 2016 to Jan 12, 2017, for them to sample.

Aside from packaged goods, Singaporeans would be able to experience a tantalising taste of ‘Rendang Tok’, ‘Ayam Garam’, ‘Laksa Telur Sarang’, ‘Mee Kicap’, ‘Putu Perak’, ‘Daging Rempah Masak Hitam’, ‘Penjan Ubi’, ‘Bubur Anak Lebah’ and ‘Ikan Pekasam’.

Located at Sultan Gate, Agrobazaar was officially launched on Aug 27, 2014 by both Prime Ministers Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Lee Hsien Loong.

Singapore is a choice location for the Agrobazaar given that it is the primary market for Malaysian agro-food products.

Singapore has a fairly large affluent society with a high rate of labour participation. It has a population of more than 5.0 million, with a large number of expatriates.


Petronas inks MoU with National Iranian Oil Company for future collaborations in Iran

Posted on : 22-12-2016 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

TEHRAN, IRAN: Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to collaborate in a field study in South Azadegan and Cheshmeh Khosh on December 21, 2016.

The signing took place at NIOC’s Central Headquarters here.

Under the MOU, a study will be conducted for a period of six months, and is expected to be concluded in Q2 2017.

Signing of behalf of Petronas was Anuar Taib, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Upstream, while NIOC was represented by Dr. Gholamreza Manouchehri, Deputy Managing Director in Engineering and Development.

“We would like to thank NIOC for the opportunity as this MOU is an important milestone for both Petronas and NIOC.

Iran has provided an opportunity for growth in the Middle East beyond our current footprint in Iraq,” said Anuar during the ceremony.

“We will bring our capabilities and expertise in oil and gas to Iran and look forward to a successful partnership with NIOC,” he added.


Malaysia is 8th largest foreign investor in Laos

Posted on : 05-09-2016 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

VIENTIANE: Malaysia has emerged as the eighth largest foreign investor in Laos with investments of RM2.3 billion from 2000 to 2015.

Malaysian Ambassador to Laos, Datuk Than Tai Hing said investments by Malaysian companies at present covers the banking and finance, insurance, tourism, education, construction and agricultural sectors.

“It also encompasses two free trade zones, namely the Nelamit/Dongphosy Specific Economic Zone (SEZ) in Vientiane and Savan-Seno SEZ in Savannakhet in southern Laos.

“Both the SEZ will clearly contribute to the economic growth and development of Laos in the future,” he told Malaysian reporters yesterday.

Than was speaking against the backdrop of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s visit to Laos to attend the 28th Asean Summit and 29th Related Summits here.

He said the Prime Minister will attend a meeting with the Malaysian business community here today (Sept 6).

“The meeting will involve key Malaysian investors, namely those companies involved in undertaking iconic and high potential projects in Laos such as the East-West Economic Corridor Railway Project, a rail venture in the Dongphosy Specific Economic and Nam Pha Hydro Power, involving hydro power generation,” he added.

He said 10 other Malaysian-owned investment companies will attend the meeting.

“This meeting is viewed as a good platform for the Malaysian business community here to provide an update as to the status of their projects,” Than said.

He also said in 2015, bilateral trade between Malaysia and Laos stood at RM106 million.

“Malaysian exports to Laos at RM100 million covered clothing, textiles, vehicle spare parts, mining material, electrical and electronic goods, chemical products, natural rubber, palm oil and manufactured goods.

“A bigger part of imports comprised communication equipment and electrical components,” he added.

Than said the tourism industry has had a big impact on diplomatic cooperation, the economy and bilateral trade between Laos and Malaysia.

On the Asean Summit, he said the presence of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was a visible sign of Malaysia’s solid support for Laos as the Asean Chairman.

“The attendance is also symbolic and important as 2016 represents the 50th anniversary of the forging of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Laos,” he added.

Najib will head the Malaysian delegation to the Asean Summit from Sept 6-8.


China auto sales speed up 14.6% in June – industry group

Posted on : 11-07-2016 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

Beijing: Car sales growth in China, the top global auto market, accelerated for the second consecutive month, an industry group reported Monday, despite continued woes in the world’s second-largest economy.

A total of 2.07 million vehicles were sold in China last month, up 14.6 percent from a year ago, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said in a statement.

The numbers were an increase on the 9.8 percent gain posted in May, which was itself an improvement on April’s 6.3 percent.

China is crucial to foreign automakers, who have set up a series of joint ventures as they seek to make the country’s growing middle class more mobile.

Auto sales reached 24.6 million last year, and in October the government sought to boost the market by slashing the purchase tax on passenger cars with small engines.

Sales of passenger cars reached 1.78 million units in June, up 17.7 percent year-on-year, CAAM data showed.

The pickup came despite protracted weakness in the world’s second-largest economy, where growth slowed to 6.7 percent in the January-March period, the worst quarterly expansion in seven years.


Taiwanese firm sees Malaysia as pioneer in solar panel industry

Posted on : 20-06-2016 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

NEW YORK: A Taiwanese solar panel company recognises Malaysia’s pioneering work in the solar panel sector and has expressed an interest to enter into cooperation with a reliable Malaysian partner. Motech Industries Inc, which is located in Tainan City, started in 1981 as a testing and measurement instruments designer and manufacturer but evolved into a full-service global solar company. The company has its own research and development operations as well as manufacturing facilities for solar products and services, ranging from photovoltaic (PV), silicon wafers, PV cells and PV modules to PV power systems. The company, which had an annual revenue of US$756 million in 2015 and claims to be the largest merchant PV cells manufacturer in the world with a 3.3 Gigawatt (GW) production capacity, has maintained commercial ties with Malaysian producers of solar panels even though Malaysians do not make solar cells needed for the solar panel end product. “Malaysia is a strong and emerging site for international companies dealing in solar panels, produces some of the components in solar panels, and also has a small production facility for solar cells. “Malaysia imports solar cells from Taiwan and China which are the largest producers of solar cells. Demand for solar panels is much higher. Aluminium frames and glass are also needed, some of which can be sourced in Malaysia itself. “In Malaysia, solar panels are mostly assembled though the country is also gradually moving towards manufacturing the full product. “But Malaysia, thanks to its early involvement in the solar panel business, has become an important partner in the solar supply and value chain,” Peng Heng Chang, Motech’s chairman and CEO, said in an interview with Bernama on Friday in New York. Chang said his company’s major markets are the United States, China, Japan, Europe, India and Southeast Asia. “Southeast Asian markets, particularly Indonesia and Malaysia, are promising for us. The regional demand is increasing. We have no collaboration yet with a Malaysian partner, but we are open to looking into any form of cooperation with a local (Malaysian) company. “We already have a collaboration with an Indonesian partner, and would also consider collaboration with a Malaysian partner. There are two other big Taiwanese companies that have formed joint ventures in Malaysia with Malaysian partners. “Yes, we would also be interested in collaborating with a Malaysian company, but we are keen to find a good and reliable partner,” Chang said. Chang said global supply of solar panels amounts to 90GW with demand at about 70GW. “However, many of the solar panel plants are old and need to be upgraded and modernised, and will have to be replaced, thus generating further demand,” Chang said. He said Western suppliers have their strengths in supplying equipment needed for the manufacture of these products while Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, has a better qualified and cost-effective labour force. “I see demand in Malaysia and Indonesia for solar cells is growing. Solar panels have become attractive, particularly for the smaller islands in Malaysia and Indonesia. “Solar panels are suitable for the islands because of their detached location from each other,” he noted. The solar panel industry in Malaysia, Chang said, is characterised by the pioneering prowess displayed by Malaysian companies which work closely with the country’s research institutions. “In particular, the innovation and technological level in Malaysia is high, even though Malaysia’s focus so far has been on assembly. However, this is changing and Malaysia is making its own solar cells for the panels. “The synergies emerging from cooperation between Taiwanese and Malaysian companies can be very beneficial to both sides, given Malaysia’s strong base in electronics and semi-conductors, and Taiwan’s abundant availability of qualified industry experts. “This combination can build up a strong base for partnership in the solar panel business,” Chang said. Chang is part of a visiting Taiwan business and trade delegation led by Kuo-Hsin Liang, the chairman of Taiwan External Trade Development Council, the island republic’s trade promotion agency. The delegation, which is also visiting Washington, DC to participate in the Investment Summit being organised by the US Commerce Department, includes heavyweight corporate players such as AAEON Technology, Aerospace Industrial Development Corp, Fair Friend Group, Formosa Plastics Group, Formostar Garment Co, KENDA Rubber Industrial Co, Kinpo Electronics Inc and TEX-RAY Industrial Co. The delegation also includes high-ranking officials representing the Bureau of Foreign Trade in Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs.