InvestKL poised to attract more global tech companies to Greater KL

Over the past years, Southeast Asia has seen a rapid phase of digital transformation. The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic further propelled demand for digital services and many ecommerce platforms reported a surge in social media usage, ecommerce purchases, cashless payments such as the use of e-wallets, and many more in the first half of this year.

The new normal and changing consumer behaviour are clearly galvanising the rise of the digital economy in this region, which is expected to triple in size to US$300 billion by 2025. This puts Southeast Asia among the most rapidly-growing grounds for online commerce in the world. This trend also attracts global tech firms, which, in turn, present numerous investment opportunities for Greater KL with its robust ecosystem and vibrant community of multinational corporations (MNCs) and leading home-grown companies.

InvestKL, an agency under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), has attracted global brand names into the country — among them known technological behemoths such as Oracle and Zalora — to set up their regional activity hubs in Kuala Lumpur.

Oracle and Zalora are among the 91 MNCs that the agency had attracted to set up regional  headquarters in Kuala Lumpur between 2011 and 2019. These 91 MNCs represent RM13.95 billion in approved and committed investments and more than half of this amount, approximately RM8.1 billion, has been realised and has led to the creation of 12,584 regional high-skilled jobs in Greater KL alone.

“Having facilitated leading players from various tech sectors such as cloud computing, artificial  intelligence and Big Data has strengthened the overall ecosystem and enhanced opportunities in the e-commerce industry. At the same time, this brings significant investments and job creation to the country. The digital and ecommerce expertise also augments the local talent pool by providing them with invaluable exposure to cutting-edge technology as well as to their global clientele and team,” says Muhammad Azmi Zulkifli, CEO of InvestKL.

InvestKL looks to attract large global MNCs and unicorns to Greater KL. It prioritises companies with high-impact, high-value and high-tech activities that will create greater impact and uplift and support the national economic agenda. Digitalisation and disruptive technologies are imperative components of this agenda as Malaysiat ransitions towards becoming a knowledge-based economy.

The challenge now is to continue to attract foreign direct investments (FDI), especially from leading global companies as the world grapples with the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis. The UN Conference on Trade and Development expects global FDI to contract between 30% and 40% in 2020 and 2021.

Greater KL’s competitive advantage in the region boils down to not only its strategic location, exceptional local ecosystem and talent, but also the strength of close support and commitment that the InvestKL team offers to support MNCs that chose Greater KL as their hub for this region. Indeed, this was the deciding factor for Zalora and other ecommerce companies in choosing Kuala Lumpur.

“Foremost, InvestKL looks into drawing investments that will add value to our economy and fit into the Industry 4.0 agenda. Then we must ensure that there is a right fit between the MNC and what Greater KL has to offer. Our value proposition is in line with Greater KL’s fundamental strengths,” he says.

“If there is a good match, then we will commit our efforts to a win-win outcome for both parties. We take a long-term view. This means that we are not just looking for companies to offer employment for Malaysians now. We want opportunities for these Malaysians to continue to upskill themselves and grow their capabilities in line with global trends. This approach clearly benefits Malaysians and Malaysia — now and in the future,” adds Azmi.