Wednesday, 18 January 2017

(The Star) Wee: Chinese investments would bring opportunities to M’sian SMEs

KUALA LUMPUR: China is attrac­ted to Malaysia because of its quality products and services, language proficiency and knowledge in international trade, said Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
“I do not see any problem for SMEs from both countries to benefit from the Belt and Road initiative,” said the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department referring to small and medium-sized enterprises.
Dr Wee, who is also MCA deputy president, was speaking to reporters after the Malaysia-China Belt and Road SME Video Conference.
Sponsored by the Chinese Embassy in Malaysia, the first-of-its-kind forum gathered officials and industry players in both countries for an exchange of views, without them having to leave their respective locations.
Dr Wee, China’s ambassador to Malaysia Dr Huang Huikang and Malaysian SME players were in a hotel conference room in Kuala Lumpur while academicians and officials from Beijing and Tianjin municipalities, as well as Hebei province, joined in the discussion via teleconferencing from the Chinese capital.
Secretariat for the Advancement of Malaysian Entrepreneurs (SAME) chief executive officer Neil Foo was the moderator.
In his speech, Dr Wee said Chinese investments would bring opportunities to Malaysian SMEs which made up 97% of local businesses and employed 65% of the nation’s workforce.
He added that China’s rise has intensified development in Asean and Malaysian SMEs can help China enter this market of 600 million consumers for mutual benefit.
Dr Huang, in his speech, said China has always placed importance on also helping the other communities benefit when it makes foreign investments.
He said the bilateral trade between Malaysia and China totalled US$9.88bil (RM44.1bil) in December, a historical high, and that 2.2 million Chinese tourists visited Malaysia last year.
His advice to Malaysian SMEs was to strengthen links with their counterparts in China, heighten pragmatic cooperation under the Belt and Road initiative, and focus on sea port, aviation and railway infrastructure connectivity.
The bulk of the discussions during the video conference centred on tourism and financial policies on foreign investments.
Malaysia Chinese Tourism Association honorary secretary Nelson Lee was optimistic about achieving the goal of seeing four million tourists from China come here this year.
The king of fruits stole the limelight when Mega View Network Sdn Bhd executive director Louis Ong briefed the audience on how he marketed frozen durians in China.

He said there was a saying in China’s Guangdong province, that “one durian is equivalent to three hens”, showing that durians were very popular among the Chinese for its purported nutritional value.