KUALA LUMPUR, 16 SEPTEMBER 2014: The East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) continues to pursue its effort in luring investors from China and beyond to the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) by taking part in the 11th China-ASEAN Expo CAEXPO) 2014 in Nanning, China starting today.
CAEXPO 2014 will be held from September 16 to September 19 at the Nanning International Exhibition and Convention Centre (NICEC). Hailed as a premier international event for economic and trade exchanges, it is held annually since 2004 with the aim of promoting the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA).
CAEXPO has become an important platform for friendly exchanges, business promotions and bilateral cooperation in various fields between China and ASEAN. Last year, the expo attracted over 52,000 trade visitors with an estimated trade value of US$1.87 billion.
The Malaysian delegation to CAEXPO is led by YB Dato’ Lee Chee Leong, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI), while ECERDC is led by its Chief Executive Officer, YBhg. Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John. This would be ECERDC’s third participation in CAEXPO, since it first took part in the event in 2012.
Earlier this month, ECERDC took part in the 18th China International Fair for Investment & Trade (CIFIT) and the 4th Malaysia-China Entrepreneur Conference (MCEC) which were held in Xiamen, China.
“In CAEXPO 2014, ECERDC is participating in the Malaysia Pavilion under the Government cluster to showcase the various investment opportunities in ECER to potential investors from China and other countries,” said Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John.
There has been a heightened increase in interest amongst the Chinese business community towards ECER, especially with the celebration of the 40th anniversary of bilateral relations between Malaysia and China and the establishment of the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP), he said.
“Our participation in CAEXPO is to leverage on this opportunity by working closely with the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park (CMQIP) Administrative Committee and Cooperation Bureau to jointly promote the national-status industrial twin parks of CMQIP and MCKIP,” Dato’ Issace noted.
“In addition, we will also be promoting other key industrial parks in ECER such as the Gambang Halal Park, Pekan Automotive Park, Kertih BioPolymer Park and Kuantan Integrated Biopark to potential investors at CAEXPO 2014,” said Dato’ Issace.
Blessed with abundant natural resources and a strategic location facing the South China Sea, and supported by good infrastructure and attractive fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, ECER serves as the ideal gateway for investors who are keen to tap into the ASEAN and Asia Pacific markets, which have a combined population of around 4 billion and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$17 trillion.
Kuantan Port, which is currently being expanded into a deepwater port, will play a vital role in attracting more trade and investments into the Region, thus positioning ECER as the springboard to the fast growing markets of Asia, particularly China. Once completed, the port’s throughput is expected to double to 52 million freight weight tonne (FWT) of cargo and will strengthen the location of the nearby MCKIP, as well as the Kuantan Port City.
MCKIP is targeting investors not only from Malaysia and China but also those from ASEAN and other parts of the world. Built on approximately 1,500 acres of land located in the fast growing ECER Special Economic Zone (SEZ), the park is expected to generate significant economic spin-offs that will benefit the business and local community of the region.
To date, MCKIP has attracted RM9 billion in investment commitments which include a RM4.2 billion steel mill project led by state-owned Guangxi Beibu Gulf International Port Group of China, and another RM3.0 billion by Kuantan Port Consortium SB, consisting of IJM Corporation Berhad and Beibu Gulf Holding (Hong Kong) Co. Ltd.
A further RM2.5 billion is by the Master Developer of MCKIP, Malaysia China Kuantan Industrial Park Sdn Bhd, which is a joint venture between Malaysian consortium Kuantan Pahang Holding Sdn Bhd and China consortium Guangxi Beibu Gulf ASEAN Investment Co., Ltd. Other Chinese investors in ECER include Shougang Group which has formed a joint venture company with Malaysia’s Hiap Teck Venture Berhad known as Eastern Steel Sdn Bhd, as well as Ji Kang Dimensi Sdn Bhd and Global Goldenway Bio Tech Sdn Bhd.
China is the global economic leader and it is currently Malaysia’s biggest trading partner. The establishment of MCKIP is expected to enhance bilateral trade ties which also would augur well for better geo-politics of the region vis-à-vis China and ASEAN.
Malaysia is one of the easiest countries in the world for investors to do business. It was recently announced that Malaysia has improved its ranking in the Ease of Doing Business Report 2014 by World Bank to 6th spot in 2014 from 12th place last year, joining countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Denmark.
Since 2007 to date, total investments in ECERDC amounted to RM63.58 billion, which have created over 65,000 job opportunities. Of this amount, RM10.6 billion is from China.