U.S. FIRMS UP­BEAT ON MALAYSIA PROSPECTS

Dig­i­tal econ­omy agenda set to lift econ­omy to new heights

New Straits Times - - Business - MICHAEL MICHA­LAK

RUPA DAMODARAN

KUALA LUMPUR ru­pa­banerji@nst.com.my

AMER­I­CAN cor­po­rates are up­beat about their fu­ture in­vest­ments in Malaysia, espe­cially with the dig­i­tal econ­omy agenda, which they be­lieve will lift the Malaysian econ­omy to new heights.

The cur­rent in­vest­ment en­vi­ron­ment looked good, backed by a solid econ­omy, said the USAsean Busi­ness Coun­cil.

“The dig­i­tal econ­omy will ac­cel­er­ate the growth of in­vest­ments fur­ther as in­vestors tar­get an en­er­getic and sta­ble Asia, com­pared with the un­cer­tain­ties else­where,” said the coun­cil’s regional man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Michael Micha­lak, who led a 21mem­ber del­e­ga­tion of United States com­pa­nies on a three-day an­nual busi­ness mis­sion from Mon­day.

“From our dis­cus­sion, we found many of the poli­cies put for­ward were ex­cel­lent and in­clu­sive. They are keen to work with our com­pa­nies on ar­eas like the spec­trum for 5G and emer­gency com­mu­ni­ca­tion,” he said, com­ment­ing on the meet­ing with the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Mul­ti­me­dia Min­istry of­fi­cials.

Malaysia an­nounced its dig­i­tal econ­omy as a new source of growth and the ca­pac­ity to gen­er­ate RM286 bil­lion in trade by 2025.

Last week, Malaysia an­nounced the launch of the Dig­i­tal Free Trade Zone.

“In­vestors are high on Malaysia, espe­cially when it em­braced dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy and now reg­u­la­tory regime.”

In­ter­net com­pa­nies are also drawn to coun­tries like Malaysia, where there is free data flow and rea­son­able reg­u­la­tions per­tain­ing to pri­vacy and se­cu­rity. Micha­lak dis­closed two Amer­i­can com­pa­nies were cur­rently scout­ing around Asia for the ex­pan­sion of their oper­a­tions and Malaysia was one of the greenfield lo­ca­tions iden­ti­fied.

Malaysia is ranked in the top three US in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tions for the Asean re­gion and es­ti­mated US$267 bil­lion (RM1.18 tril­lion) is parked in terms of in­vest­ment stock, mak­ing it larger than US in­vest­ments in China, Ja­pan and South Korea put to­gether.

“Malaysia has a lot go­ing (for it) and its at­trac­tive­ness is chang­ing for the bet­ter due to the In­ter­net poli­cies.”

Even if the US gov­ern­ment now

In­vestors are high on Malaysia, espe­cially when it em­braced dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy and now reg­u­la­tory regime.”

and ad­ver­tiser, our e-com­merce Go Shop and pay-per-view, in Astro Best and Astro First.

“In fact, we are tar­get­ing to in­crease 400,000 more NJOI cus­tomers is not for the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship, Micha­lak ar­gued that the US cor­po­rates still sup­ported trade lib­er­al­i­sa­tion be it in the Regional Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship or World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“Cor­po­rates say in terms of choice of for­eign in­vest­ments, they look at the eco­nomic con­di­tions. In the case of Coca Cola, it wanted to be close to its cus­tomers than con­tend with At­lanta.”

Coca Cola Malaysia, which has in­vested RM1 bil­lion since 2010, an­nounced a fort­night ago that it would in­vest an­other RM500 mil­lion to ex­pand the ca­pac­ity of its plant at Ban­dar En­stek near Ni­lai.

Lo­ca­tion com­pet­i­tive­ness re­mained a key for in­vestors, he said.

“Although the US in­vest­ment this year,” she said.

For this year, Astro is tar­get­ing an av­er­age rev­enue per user of RM103, from the cur­rent RM101.40, which will be achieved en­vi­ron­ment may im­prove and at­tract US com­pa­nies to in­vest, but if Malaysia con­tin­ues to pro­vide tax ad­van­tages and stream­line the reg­u­la­tory sys­tem, the in­vestors will choose the best place, no mat­ter what the flag is.”

For some Amer­i­can com­pa­nies, which have in­ter­ests in the re­gion like the au­to­mo­bile in­dus­try in Thai­land, they are not de­pen­dent on the US in­vest­ment en­vi­ron­ment or the tax re­forms, which are ex­pected to take a longer time to im­ple­ment.

One of the ar­eas that in­vestors were look­ing at was the fi­nan­cial sec­tor lib­er­al­i­sa­tion, par­tic­u­larly in the in­surance sec­tor, he added.

The in­vestors were con­cerned about the for­eign ex­change mea­sures an­nounced by Bank Ne­gara Malaysia in De­cem­ber last year. through the in­tro­duc­tion of new prod­ucts and in­no­vat­ing con­tent, as well as growth in sub­scriber num­bers. Lid­i­ana Rosli

PIC BY HALIM SALLEH

(From left) Tribe & Raku chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Iskan­dar Sa­mad, Astro Malaysia Hold­ings Bhd group chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Datuk Ro­hana Rozhan, group chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Shafiq Ab­dul Jab­bar and chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer Liew Swee Lin dur­ing a press con­fer­ences to an­nounce Astro’s fi­nan­cial re­sults in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day.

PIC BY ZULFADHLI ZULK­I­FLI

US-Asean Busi­ness Coun­cil regional man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Michael Micha­lak (left) at a me­dia brief­ing in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day.

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