Selangor Journal
Invest Selangor Berhad (Invest Selangor) chief executive officer Datuk Hasan Azhari Idris. — Picture by Invest Selangor

SIBS 2021: The spark to jumpstart the region’s economy

By Nasuha Badrul Huzaini

THE Selangor government-backed conference and exhibition series, the Selangor International Business Summit (SIBS) 2021, is back again this year, bringing together an assembly of prominent industry players from Malaysia and around the world.

With the theme ‘Selangor the Gateway to Asean’, the event will take place from November 18 to 21 in a hybrid format. The physical event will span across 13,000 square metres at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and will feature about 500 booths, while its virtual form can be accessed via and will showcase about 800 booths.

As the organiser, Invest Selangor Berhad (Invest Selangor) has compelling reasons why it has chosen to hold a business event of this scale amidst the backdrop of a pandemic.

In an interview with Selangor Journal, Invest Selangor chief executive officer Datuk Hasan Azhari Idris said with the current global health and economic challenges, Selangor’s aim is to ensure fast economic recovery while minimising the risk of another outbreak.

“Being the major economic engine of the country, Selangor is taking the lead in pushing for a jumpstart to Malaysia and the region’s economic growth.

“Even before the pandemic happened, SIBS had already functioned as a great platform to bring together global brands and congregate industry players from around the world.

“This year’s edition hopes to provide networking opportunities for its local and international participants,” he said, adding: “We strongly feel that continuous efforts to connect local businesses to new markets are essential to ensure many of these businesses will survive the pandemic and rise again sooner than later.”

Tried and tested

SIBS 2021 will feature dedicated expos on four main sectors, namely food & beverage; medical products and services; research & development and innovation; and industrial parks.

The event will also conduct conferences and talks onsite on topics on Asean; innovation; smart city and the digital economy; vaccination; aged-care; industrial parks’ operations and others.

Hasan Azhari explained that last year, SIBS 2020 had tested out its virtual format for the first time via its food & beverage expo, and “we were not sure how the audience would accept it”.

However, it garnered some 286 exhibitors from 12 countries and chalked up 282 online meetings involving 76 buyers from 24 countries.

The meetings generated approximately RM1 million worth of sales. As for the conference events, they recorded a total of 175,000 digital viewers.

“For this year’s SIBS,” said Hasan Azhari, “we are pushing for all nine programs to be held in both physical and virtual formats so that more activities and networking can take place.”

Out of our comfort zones

Among the list of events that will be showcased, the 5th Selangor Asean Business Conference stands out as an opportunity for its participants to discuss key economic issues affecting Asean countries in the light of a post-pandemic world.

The theme, ‘Sustaining Growth within Asean through Innovation’ is aptly chosen to highlight the need to step out of our comfort zones in order to reinvigorate businesses.

Said Hasan Azhari: “The outbreak has restricted physical movement and the enforcement of lockdowns has pushed the domicile to stay at home. At one end of the spectrum are its adverse effects visible on the overall economies, but at the other end, it was a testing time where ‘survival of the fittest became a new norm. Eventually, only the innovative ones survived the overwhelming crisis.”

SIBS is also proud to introduce two new events this year — the Selangor International Expo (SIE Medic) and the Selangor Industrial Park Expo (Spark) 2021.

“The idea to include a life sciences sector in SIBS came about a few years ago,” said Hassan Azhari.

“This sector contributed to a quarter of Selangor’s total manufacturing Gross Domestic Product at a total of RM13.9 billion. In addition, Selangor’s rich biodiversity provides a solid foundation for the biotechnology industry, offering abundant business opportunities, particularly in research & development.”

Meanwhile, Spark 2021 will be showcasing Selangor as the preferred destination for investment in the region.

“Over the years, we have managed to attract key investments into the country and the state. Invest Selangor believes that it is crucial to bolster the aftercare aspects of its services to foreign investors to restore confidence and retain their presence.

“We believe in providing the best services to our current and potential investors in the state. And it is key for us to ensure that the facilitation process will not stop once the investors decide to invest in the state.”

Providing the best experience

As the event draws closer, there are expectations to meet. Hasan Azhari said from the feedback they received last year, many exhibitors have expressed their appreciation for the virtual events.

“But once business events are allowed to convene again, SIBS 2021 will be able to provide effective face-to-face relationship building as well as product sampling. As we all know, trade expos are meant to offer exhibitors the opportunity to introduce their products and brands and meet new customers.”

Hasan Azhari added that they are also working to improve the virtual experience of their trade visitors.

“We are happy to also inform that the portal will be open to everyone for a year, starting from November 2021 until October 2022, thus providing continuous opportunities for our participants to utilise SIBS as their digital reference and platform to do business in the region.

“We hope that our visitors will have more flexibility when they wish to review particular sessions at their preferred timing.

“We also hope that this will attract new visitors to our portal and simultaneously retain our exhibitors and buyers.”

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