Kuala Lumpur– The recently concluded Trade and Investment Mission (TIM) to the Republic of Korea (ROK) has secured a staggering RM24 billion in potential investments for the country.
The TIM, held from 14 to 17 March 2023 was led by Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI), YB Senator Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul Bin Tengku Abdul Aziz. It was also joined by high-level officials from MITI, MIDA, MATRADE, and various Investment Promotion Agencies, as well as representatives from regional development corridors and Malaysian companies.
Datuk Wira Arham Abdul Rahman, CEO of MIDA, expressed his excitement in facilitating these investments, stating, “The remarkable achievement of securing RM24 billion in potential investments for Malaysia through the Trade and Investment Mission to the Republic of Korea (ROK) stands as a testament to our country’s steadfast commitment to attracting top-tier investments and augmenting the participation of local companies in the global supply chains.”
He also expressed his enthusiasm for the longstanding strategic partnership between Malaysia and the ROK, forged through the Look East Policy over the past four decades. Thanks to this collaboration, the ROK has become one of Malaysia’s top 10 major investors.
“We are eager to welcome even more investments from the ROK. The focus will be on new growth areas such as high technology, innovation, and knowledge-based and
skills-intensive industries, which will create vast opportunities for the sustainable and green agenda advocated by both nations. The Malaysian Government is also placing a strong emphasis on energy and high-value manufacturing activities, including transport technology, such as the electric vehicle and its ecosystem, which is poised to deliver significant economic potential and long-term sustainable growth,” he added.
SKC, POSCO Holdings, Coway, and LOTTE Fine Chemical were among the companies that expressed interest in investing in Malaysia.
SKC is exploring the possibility of making additional investments in the EV segment in Malaysia. Mr. Jae Hong Yi, Chief Executive Officer of SK Nexilis, shared, “Due to the increasing demand for Li-ion batteries in various industries worldwide, SKC is exploring the possibility of making additional investments in the EV segment in Malaysia. Malaysia is a strategic location for rapid global expansion of EV investments as it has started to develop the necessary infrastructure and materials to support the expansion of EV battery production.”
POSCO Holdings reaffirmed the company’s potential investment in Malaysia. POSCO Holdings is planning to develop a Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) project and further expand its steel processing plant in Malaysia to support new business segments such as EV, batteries, and green energy. Mr. Yoo Byeong-Og, Senior Executive Vice President and Head of the Green Materials & Energy Business Team at POSCO Holdings, said, “Malaysia has a high potential for carbon storage, which is in line with Malaysia’s commitment towards the ESG agenda, including achieving net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 at the earliest.”
Coway’s CEO, Mr. Jangwon Seo, expressed the company’s confidence in the country’s economic fundamentals and the pro-business environment by announcing their decision to establish their first manufacturing hub and R&D facilities outside of ROK. The establishment of the R&D center is aligned with Malaysia’s National Investment Aspirations (NIA) to develop high-value, innovative, and advanced technology products, creating high-income and knowledge-intensive jobs for Malaysian. Mr. Seo said, “We are confident that the favorable business climate and talented workforce in Malaysia will be key drivers in enhancing our market presence and contributing to the growth of the nation’s economy.”
Mr. Yong Seok Kim, President and CEO of LOTTE Fine Chemical, shared, “LOTTE Fine Chemical sees great potential in diversifying its investments in Malaysia. The chemical industry is a crucial sector in Malaysia, ranking fourth in terms of industry size and third in terms of imports. The country offers a resilient supply chain, a skilled local workforce, and a strategic business ecosystem that can further support the company’s expansion plans. With this proposed project, LOTTE Fine Chemical aims to enhance local production capabilities, enabling the transition of the industry’s value chain to produce more advanced and high-value products”.
In 2022, MIDA announced approved investments in various economic sectors totaling RM264.6 billion (USD59.9 billion). Of this amount, a total of 15 manufacturing and services projects under MIDA’s purview with Korean participation have been approved with a total investment worth USD1.42 billion. These projects generated potential employment for 1,389 people and the ROK is now ranked as the 7th largest foreign investor in terms of approved investments for 2022.
The TIM mission kicked off with a seminar titled “Malaysia: Your Profit Centre in Asia” which attracted more than 250 distinguished business leaders from ROK and Malaysia. The main aim of this mission was to attract investments from various sectors, including electrical and electronics (E&E), environmental, social & governance (ESG), transport technology, metal, hydrogen, and chemical and chemical products.
The continuous investments by investors from the ROK validate the success of the nation’s ongoing efforts in attracting quality investments and in enhancing the participation of local companies in high-value global supply chains. The strong interest shown by ROK companies garnered during the mission serves as a major catalyst in expanding the bilateral trade and investment relations, most notably in areas that support the sustainable and green agenda advocated by both nations.