The British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (BMCC) gathered local and foreign stakeholders in this special keynote address to shed light on the ongoing and upcoming efforts of China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), one of the largest infrastructure and investment mega project in history encompassing over 68 countries. The panel was made up of Datuk Zainal Amanshah (Chief Executive Officer, InvestKL), Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Michael Yeoh (Co-Founder & CEO, Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute) and Datuk David Chua (Board Director, Malaysia-China Business Council and Managing Director, DC & A Group of Companies). Andrew Sill (Chairman of BMCC) moderated the session.
China and the BRI can play a vital role in achieving the ASEAN Master Plan of Connectivity which focuses on five key areas: sustainable infrastructure, digital innovation, seamless logistics, regulatory excellence and population mobility. China’s relationship with the ASEAN countries will be able to speed up the process to achieve the goal. Investments to Malaysia are expected to increase as well simultaneously boosting the economy.
Local SMEs will be able to benefit from the BRI provided they grab the opportunity. For it to be an opportunity or a threat, it is important to understand that China has a “go global” plan. China is no longer what it used to be 20 years ago where it was mostly cheap manufacturing. Now China is home to mega brands such as Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu where they have successfully built an international presence and influence. It is predicted that by 2025, China will lead the way in Artificial Intelligence.
In Malaysia, many businesses have been able to participate and partner in infrastructure projects with the Chinese. Local SMEs are capable of providing local knowledge and expertise to the Chinese and business opportunities are predicted to increase for our local SMEs. Businesses need to be proactive and open-minded in order to benefit from the BRI.