KUALA LUMPUR, November 21 — Companies from Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) countries and China will invest RM100 billion over the next five years in Malaysia to accelerate its digital and green economy transformation.
The acceleration will occur via the RCEP Innovation and Digital Ecosystem (Ride) Madani initiative, said the Malaysia-China Digital Economy Cooperation Council (MCDC).
The announcement was made today at the Pikom Leadership Summit 2023 (PLS2023), jointly organised by MCDC and the National Tech Association of Malaysia (Pikom).
MCDC co-chairman Datuk Wei Chuan Beng said apart from attracting investments, the goal of Ride Madani is to achieve the “Three 100s” initiative, which includes proposing that 100 enterprises jointly initiate the Ride Madani Alliance, investing RM100 billion in Malaysia over the next five years, and nurturing at least 100 young leaders each year.
MCDC had already gathered about 20 companies via the initiative and attracted between RM2 and RM3 billion in investments.
“Among them, a collaboration between Kairous Capital and Comcom International to establish the world’s first dual-currency fund (in RM and renminbi), the Malaysia-China Digital and Green Development Fund with a RM1 billion capital, and a RM600 million investment by RunJian Corporation to establish an artificial intelligence (AI) data centre in Malaysia to develop the AI ecosystem in Malaysia and RCEP (countries).
“A few companies like the Silk Road Development Fund, Shenzhen Bot Space Time Technology, and Leax US, are also set to establish their Asian and RCEP headquarters in Malaysia,” he told the press on PLS2023’s sidelines.
Wei said the strategic partnerships, forged at the heart of Malaysia’s Information and communications technology (ICT) industry, are set to propel the nation’s digital aspirations and environmental sustainability goals.
The Ride Madani initiative was also launched at the PLS2023, witnessed by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof with Ambassador Extraordinary And Plenipotentiary of China to Malaysia, Ouyang Yujing, as one of its witnesses.
“This is an industry-led initiative supported by the government and was initiated following Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s recent visit to China. China has well-developed ecosystems in the digital economy, which we feel Malaysia could benefit significantly from by replicating the ecosystem.
“However, with a 33 million population, the market (in Malaysia) is quite limited. Therefore, the collaboration will not be confined to the Malaysian market but must benefit the whole of Asean and RCEP,” he said.
MCDC co-chairman representing China, Lijin Yan, said the Madani concept does not only apply in Malaysia but could also be applied to all RCEP countries, which means Malaysia could become the hub of regional as well as the hub to link to the world, particularly the Middle East.
Chinese investments in Malaysia’s technology sector grows
Meanwhile, in his opening speech, Fadillah said that in acknowledging the transformative potential of digital technologies, the Malaysian government is dedicated to nurturing an environment conducive to innovation and creativity.
“Our initiatives in accelerating the digital economy’s growth include MyDigital, which was launched in 2021, and the National Digital Economy Blueprint (NDEB), which delineates our strategy in cultivating a globally competitive digital economy by 2030, the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP), as well as the New Industrial Master Plan 2030 (NIMP),” he said.
Chinese investments in Malaysia’s technology sector have steadily grown over the last few years. Notably, in 2022, Chinese investors contributed RM55.4 billion, constituting 55.6 per cent of Malaysia’s total foreign direct investment, the largest source.
The top three technology sectors attracting Chinese investment in 2022 were information and communication (RM11.2 billion), electrical and electronics (RM10.3 billion), and machinery and equipment (RM7.4 billion).
“Malaysia’s strategic location within Southeast Asia is well positioned as a gateway to the expansive Asean market.
“The Asean region, boasting a population exceeding 650 million, presents an extensive consumer base and a diverse technology market. Therefore, strategically establishing a presence in Malaysia enables businesses to harness this vast market and extend their reach across the entire Asean landscape,” Fadillah added.