Malaysia to leverage mutual collaborations with China for IR4.0, says minister

This will not only benefit businesses but is an opportunity to upskill and equip Malaysians with technological knowledge

By S BIRRUNTHA / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

MALAYSIA is keen to benefit from mutual collaborations with China in the technology sector mainly Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0), said Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming (picture).

“As the US-China trade war and Hong Kong protest drags on, more technology firms from those countries are keen to diversify into Asean.

“China has been known to be an innovation powerhouse and the market currently serves about 640 million consumers. There is no better place like Malaysia for them to expose themselves to the country’s vibrant ecosystem,” Ong said at the Intellectual Property Innovation and Entrepreneurship Contest (IPIEC) Global 2019 — Asean Chapter Finals in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He added that platforms like IPIEC offers great opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to tap the Chinese market with the necessary support from their government and local authorities.

“We believe this will not only benefit their businesses but is an opportunity to upskill and equip themselves with technological knowledge, as China is known to have competitive advantage.

“In this regard, Asean countries need to move from an input-driven growth to productivity-driven growth focusing on the efficiency of resource utilisation that yields more value,” he added.

To facilitate this shift, Ong said the industry may need to enhance innovation, identify new high value-added products and upskill the labour force while having the latest knowledge and technology.

Meanwhile, the IPIEC 2019 kicked off its third year yesterday since its debut in 2017 and the contest was officiated by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).

The contest aims to lay a solid foundation for business growth in China by building up an extensive network, with potential access to local funding and incentive policies.

Top projects were chosen to be shortlisted as semi-finalists and they were joined by contestants from all different countries to compete in semi-finals and finals in China.

BETA foundation was also launched during the event to develop ecosystems for technopreneurship advancement in South-East Asia.

BETA foundation CEO Lilyana Abdul Latiff said their primary beneficiaries are technopreneurs or start-up founders.

“Our role is to encourage secure reliable partnerships for local Malaysian companies with Chinese businesses. This is to make Malaysia as the technology business gateway to South-East Asia, by harnessing and curating a database of high-tech companies and start-ups that are home grown in Asean countries,” she said during the launch.

Last year, both Asean and China celebrated the 15th anniversary of Asean-China Strategic Partnership and the “Asean-China Year of Innovation”.

China maintained its position as Asean’s largest trading partner since 2009.

According to preliminary Asean data, the total merchandise trade between Asean and China reached US$479.4 billion (RM2 trillion) in 2018, an increase of 9.8% from US$436.8 billion in 2017.

Whereas, the foreign direct investment (FDI) flows from China to Asean amounted to US$10.2 billion in 2018, accounting to 6.6% of Asean’s total FDI.