Business Opportunities in Malaysia?
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Within this region, Saudi Arabia was Malaysia`s second-largest trading partner after UAE in 2018. Bilateral trade between both countries has increased by 57% from USD2.9 billion in 2010 to USD5.4 billion in 2018.
Major exports from Malaysia are palm oil, E&E, processed food, furniture, and healthcare products, while imports from Saudi Arabia are mainly chemicals and petroleum products.
Ola! As Pathways’ direction now supports women as much as possible, I have the privilege this month to interview the Trade Commissioner of Malaysia in Jeddah. To get some information on the business and trade opportunities for any women entrepreneurs here, let’s see what he has to say.
Q: A year ago, you became the Trade Commissioner / Consul for Saudi Arabia, and how do you assess the market?
- As you are aware, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the Middle East and among the top 20 largest economies in the world and it has huge potential to further develop in many areas in tandem with its Vision 2030.
- Through the Vision 2030, there has been an incredible amount of trade and investment potential in the country. It is a vibrant and exciting market to explore. I believe that there are opportunities for countries like Malaysia to tap into various segments that being offered by the country.
Q: How important is the Saudi Arabia market to Malaysia? Specifically, which sectors of the Saudi market are particularly important?
- Saudi Arabia is one of the key economic powers in the region and Malaysia’s crucial trading partner. Both countries have a long-established relationship, which fosters mostly through frequent visits of Malaysians for Hajj and Umrah, as well as other interests in businesses.
- The trade relations between the two nations are significant where trade value has steadily increased by an average of seven percent during the last ten years, reaching USD5.4 billion in 2018.
- Currently, Saudi Arabia is the second-largest partner for Malaysia in the Middle East, and business partnerships have emerged into various sectors, notably construction, oil & gas, F&B, education & training, manufacturing and hajj services, among others.
- In terms of exports from Malaysia, palm oil and palm-based products, electrical & electronics, machinery, equipment, and processed food are among Malaysia’s major exports to Saudi Arabia and in return, Saudi Arabia exports mineral fuels and oils, nuts, plastics, organic chemicals, aluminum, soaps and candles, copper, machinery and dried edible fruits to Malaysia.
Q: Could you please introduce the Malaysian Trade Commission closer to Saudi business communities?
- We are part of the Malaysian government under the Ministry of International Trade & Industry (MITI), responsible for assisting Malaysian companies in succeeding in the international market.
- In assisting Malaysian companies to go abroad, we are guided by 4 core functions, namely, exporters development, export promotions, trade advisory, and market intelligence.
- Similarly, our supports are also given to Saudi companies who are interested to source various products & services from Malaysia, or to expand their business in Malaysia.
Q: What are your goals for your current assignment in Saudi Arabia?
- My work here focuses on building and strengthening relationships with all stakeholders, in particular, those business communities who have an existing business engagement with Malaysia and those who have plan or interest to do business with Malaysia, either through trade or collaboration in many areas.
- Ideally, we want more Saudi companies to source from Malaysia, and we are also looking into opportunities for more Malaysian investors to joint venture with Saudi companies in both countries.
- To achieve that, our office will undertake active promotion activities, getting involved in various events, programs, and expanding our networking to work more closely and intensely with Saudi business communities and chambers.
Q: What is the current status and strength of Malaysia’s economy? What are Malaysia’s trade key achievements within Asia and the international arena?
- On the area of competitiveness, Malaysia has been consistently ranked among the top countries to do business, with continual economic growth, and it’s a transparent place to do business. We are one of the most open economies of the world.
- In the World Bank Doing Business 2018 report, Malaysia ranked at 24th best place in the world. The World Bank’s competitiveness criteria in the Doing Business ranking include ease of starting a business, licensing approvals, and ease of cross-border trading.
- Malaysia`s total trade, exports & imports have been robust for the first five months this year. In January-May 2019, total trade grew by 34% to USD2.7 billion.
- In terms world achievement, in 2018, Malaysia was the largest exporter surgical & non-surgical gloves, crude palm kernel oil, glycerol, semiconductors, assembled wood flooring panels, bituminous for natural asphalt, coffee preparations and also parts of electrical resistors and integrated circuits.
- Second world largest exporter for oscilloscopes (medical device), vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens, television, palm oil, and cocoa powder.
Q: Can you name what are the global brands that synonym with Malaysia?
- We are proud to tell you that our country has produced some of the very well-known and prominent global brands which have done well internationally and became the flagships of Malaysia.
- Air Asia, Jimmy Choo, Petronas, Proton, Shangri La, CIMB, Pensonic, Maybank and Spritzer are originated or founded by Malaysians.
- For Saudi market, some popular products that you can find in the country are Top Glove, Bonia, Ali Café, DXN, Julie’s, S&P, 100 Plus, Delico, Eureka and Munchy’s.
- Some Malaysian companies are also involved in supplying the meals-ready-to-eat (MREs) during this upcoming Hajj.
Q – What could your Government offer to Saudi companies, who are looking for new business opportunities?
- We have a very business-friendly government in Malaysia, a friend to investors and traders that intend to do business with Malaysia. Both countries have enjoyed long-established cooperation in trade and investment and are looking forward to more business cooperation with Saudi Arabia.
- Our office has the necessary knowledge and networks to assist Saudi companies who are interested to source Malaysian products & services or to expand their operations in Malaysia.
- We provide a range of information about importing from Malaysia through a comprehensive supports from the identification of products or services up to arrange one-to-one meetings with Malaysian companies.
- One of it is through our International Sourcing Programme (INSP) where individual business meetings with Malaysian businesses are arranged in conjunction with selected buying missions during Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS), APHM International Healthcare Conference & Exhibition and others.
- We are also assisting visit by foreign trade delegations to Malaysia. Apart from organizing business briefings, MATRADE schedules an individual business meeting between Malaysian exporters and members of foreign trade delegations who are interested to source from Malaysia.
- Those who are interested in investing in Malaysia, the country offers a cost-competitive location for investors intending to set up offshore operations for the manufacture of advanced technological products for regional and international markets. It is one of the most technologically developed countries among industrializing nations in the ASEAN region, and its modern infrastructure is designed to serve the business community.
We are willing to see more Malaysian companies doing business here and similarly, more Saudi companies expanding their operation in Malaysia.
For any matters pertaining to importing products and services from Malaysia, Saudi companies can contact us at 966-12-6532143/198 or email at Jeddah@matrade.gov.my
MATRADE Jeddah is located at 1405, 14th Floor, Saudi Business Center, Almadinah Road, P.O.Box 20802, Jeddah 21465, Saudi Arabia
***Thank you Mr. Yusram Yusup, Trade Commissioner, Consulate General of Malaysia (Commercial Section-MATRADE), Jeddah, Saudi Arabia