6 October 2021, Kuala Lumpur – In a virtual conference today, the Philippine Embassy received a courtesy call from the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) and discussed strategies to enhance trade and contacts between Philippine and Malaysian businesses.
Philippine Ambassador Charles C. Jose welcomed the opportunity to dialogue with the FMM and affirmed the importance of Malaysia as a trade and investment partner of the Philippines.
Despite the pandemic, there has been sustained interest among Malaysian companies to invest in the Philippines. Many have even explored new investment opportunities arising from conditions brought about by the pandemic, such as PPE manufacturing, industry 4.0 (e.g., automation and digitalization), infrastructure (e.g., cold chain facilities and ICT-related infrastructure), Information Technology-Business Process Management (IT-BPM), and healthcare (e.g., hospitals and vaccine manufacturing), among others.
These investment opportunities complement priority investment sectors specific to Malaysia, such as manufacturing; agribusiness (value-added processing and manufacturing of agricultural products/ downstream industry); services (high-value and value-added services); infrastructure projects; property development and construction services; and energy (especially renewable energy). Given Malaysia’s leadership in the halal economy and industries, halal-oriented investments are also encouraged, from food and beverage manufacturing to opening of Islamic banks.
Ambassador Jose shared that Philippine companies have also explored original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and outsourcing services (e.g., manufacturing, design services), mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and partnerships with companies in Malaysia.
Over the recent years there have been significant business deals between Philippine companies into Malaysian companies, such as: 1) the takeover by Ayala Land, Inc. of MCT Berhad with the acquisition of 72.3% shares in February 2018; 2) 100% acquisition by Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) of Singapore-based Gold Coin Management Holdings Limited in May 2019, which is a major producer of animal feeds and operates 20 livestock and aqua feed mills, including several facilities in Malaysia; 3) the much awaited opening of the Filipino fastfood chain Jollibee in peninsular Malaysia over the next 10 years; and 4) US$50 million-contract of Century Pacific Food Inc. to operate as original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for Linaco Group for a line of coconut products.
FMM President Tan Sri Dato’ Soh Thian Lai shared that as both countries are recovering from the economic impact of the pandemic, manufacturing industries in the Philippines and Malaysia would benefit from more engagement to explore mutually beneficial trade opportunities. Currently, FMM has 607 member companies with business operations in the Philippines.
FMM also recently signed a partnership agreement with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the Philippines’ largest business organization, to create an ASEAN-wide manufacturing network to serve as a platform for the manufacturing sector in Southeast Asia. The agreement was signed by PCCI President Benedicto Yujuico and FMM President Tan Sri Dato’ Soh Thian Lai.
Dato’ Soh Thian Lai agreed that the Philippines has a lot of resources that can be advantageous for Malaysian businesses, particularly its rich pool of IT expertise and the high level of English literacy among Filipino workers. The Malaysian food manufacturing industry can also tap the Philippine market for food products.
Ambassador Jose added that the Philippines’ 45 million, highly-skilled and educated, dedicated and cost efficient workforce has very low attrition rate. The Philippines also sits on a demographic sweet spot (i.e. 25 years old median age), which translates to immense potential in achieving breakthrough growth through greater productivity, higher savings rate, and increased creativity. Companies can also enjoy industrial peace in the country as the incidence of strikes and lockouts in the country has been very minimal.
FMM is the largest private sector economic organisation in Malaysia representing over 3,000 manufacturing and industrial service companies of varying sizes. Aside from its President, FMM was also represented at the virtual meeting by Vice President Dato' Gan Tack Kong; Vice President Dato' Goh Boon Kim; Vice President Datuk Noraini bt Soltan; Mr. Hiroyuki Imizu, Chair of FMM’s Export and International Business Committee; and CEO Dr. Yeoh Oon Tean.
Ambassador Jose expressed appreciation for the fruitful and productive discussion with FMM and extended to them an invitation to the 2nd Philippine Investment Forum for Malaysia to be held on 14 October 2021 via Zoom. The virtual event is hosted by the Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Trade and Investments Center in Kuala Lumpur to provide Malaysian businesses with updates on the Philippine economy and business landscape, investment opportunities in the Philippines, including in Philippine industrial and economic zones, as well as incentives for foreign investors.
For more information, please contact:
Embassy of the Philippines (Attention: Information Section)
1 Jalan Changkat Kia Peng, Kuala Lumpur 50450 Malaysia
Tel No. +603 2148 4233
Fax No. +603 2148 3576