The Malaysian Reserve

Selangor International Business Summit returns to tap Asean market

A RECENT United Nations report on the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2018 highlighted that global economic growth in 2017 was estimated to have reached 3%, a significant acceleration compared to growth of just 2.4% in 2016. Policy changes, subsiding financial crises and rise in the labour market are all strong contributors in the improvement of the global economic landscape.

As the global economic situation recovers from challenges over the last decade, economic growth is expected to remain steady in 2018 — further regaining its strength as lingering fragility related to the global financial crisis continues to steadily subside.

The report also showcases a favourable growth outlook for the Asean economy. Underpinned by robust domestic demand conditions, I am excited to witness Asean’s continued growth in the global economic landscape.

Asean’s Integrated Market

Asean, as we know it, is an integration of 10 South-East Asian countries, of which its members collectively form the sixth-largest economy in the world — and is predicted to grow to become the fourth-largest market by 2050. With a total population of approximately 626 million people, targeting Asean is a logical and practical move for businesses. Even in the wake of global economic recovery, the region still remains resilient, with a projected gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5.1% this year — and to remain stable at a 5.1% rise in 2019.

The promising GDP estimates were derived from the Asean nations — from heavy lifters like Indonesia,

Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand to stimulating economies like Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

With the signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) deal in March 2018, trade flows across the region continues to stir positively — inducing stronger economic growth within the Asean Economic Community (AEC).

The question now is — with the CPTPP deal in place, coupled with the opportune economic prospects of Asean as a single market — how can the AEC further strengthen its place in the global arena?

Selangor — Gateway to Asean, Aspiring Global Trading Hub

With a solid vision of an integrated market, the AEC is unstoppable. However, what is missing now is a sweet spot that is able to propel this single market into greater heights. In other words, it needs a central point that connects Asean countries together — a place where businesses and nations can come together for a common purpose. While recognising the arsenals that each Asean country has to offer, we are honoured to be able to position Selangor as the gateway of facilitating trade and growth regionally.

With a track record of contributing to 22.7% of Malaysia’s GDP in 2016, Selangor has prevailed not only for its economic prosperity and diversity, but also for its resilience as a state. Subsequently, Selangor’s strategic geographical location, sound logistics and technological infrastructure, as well as its economic stability, allow the state to take precedence as a significant hub for domestic and international businesses that would like to build or strengthen its presence in Asean.

Our goal is now to double our efforts to enhance the state’s role as a global trading hub to conveniently connect businesses operating in nations from all over the world at one place, Selangor. With the Selangor International Business Summit (SIBS) series, I am confident that we can achieve just that.

Back for its second edition this year, SIBS 2018 is positioned as a solid platform for local and foreign multinational corporations, small and medium enterprises, and entrepreneurs to showcase their products and services. Subsequently, it is also a strategic avenue for marketing, collaborations and partnerships, and providing exposure and information on the latest technological developments globally.

Through this summit, we aim to spearhead business opportunities and potential areas of collaboration — not only for Selangor or Malaysia as a country, but for the united community of Asean. SIBS 2018 will run from Sept 6-16, 2018, at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre.

The 10-day summit will comprise three main events:

• Selangor International Expo 2018 (Sept 6-9)

• Selangor Asean Business Conference 2018 (Sept 6-7)

• Selangor Smart City & Digital Economy Convention (Sept 13-15)

When you think of diversity and resilience, these are Selangor’s strong traits as a state — but what will make this state great is the ability for Selangor to stand together with other Asean countries as one. This summit can do just that by hosting a rich network of trade industry players — allowing us to connect nations globally and bring businesses, both domestic and international, into Asean.

Datuk Teng Chang Khim is a Selangor state government senior executive councillor.