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Greater KL: A bright spot for future-forward companies

To remain relevant in the current volatile business arena powered by digital technology and new industries, we at InvestKL have embraced a new era in investment promotion focused on digital transformation and new innovative strategies to engage and attract foreign companies to Greater Kuala Lumpur.

As reported by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti), Malaysia recorded RM164 billion in approved investments in 2020. Greater KL (comprising Selangor and Kuala Lumpur) recorded the highest number of investments approvals, totalling RM55.8 billion. InvestKL aims to build on this success through our continuous efforts to position Greater KL as a leading and strategic hub in this region. InvestKL has a symbolic target of attracting the next 100 multinationals and fast-growing companies and hope that, together with other government stakeholders, we will secure RM20 billion in new foreign investments over the next 10 years.

These new investments will steer our national agenda and give positive contribution to our ecosystem, talents and local businesses, among others, which is why we have deepened our scope of the types of companies that we aim to attract. Apart from looking at hard financial figures such as investment value, number of jobs created and knock-on economic impact, we also want companies that are driven by inclusive policies and are able to complement Greater KL as a location for future-forward companies. By collaborating with other companies and industries, the corporate sector is well positioned to support Malaysia’s inclusive post-pandemic economic recovery and long-term goals.

For example, to realise Malaysia’s digital ambitions encapsulated in the MyDIGITAL initiative, we must enable fast-growing companies — particularly those focused on innovation and digital technologies such as big data, actuarial services and analytics — to establish their regional activities in Greater KL and contribute towards nurturing our talent pool and capacities. They too will support the growth of the country’s new tech-related industries and facilitate traditional long-servicing industries that are looking to reinvent and redefine themselves as they face current challenges.

Traditional industries include the vital maritime shipping sector, the main player that powers the movement of goods around the world including critical medical devices and personal protective equipment (PPE). Leading container and shipping companies Hapag-Lloyd and the CMA CGM Group have recently expanded their operations in Greater KL to better serve their global clients. Both companies aim to increase the technical capabilities of their local operations in line with the government’s ambition to be a digitally driven, high-income nation. We are proud to showcase the growth of our many multinational companies (MNCs).

We are also cognisant of rising global trends such as the Covid-19 vaccination programme that is taking place all over the world, new multilateral trade agreements and other factors that will define the new post-pandemic environment. Factors such as environment, social and governance (ESG) elements and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are growing in importance and we highly support companies that have incorporated these aspects into their operations.

Earlier this year, we introduced the Greater KL (GKL) Live Lab, an initiative that provides opportunities for foreign companies to collaborate and create synergies with local companies and academia. The GKL Live Lab creates a virtuous cycle that spurs innovative ideas and facilitates a greater transfer of knowledge. In such an environment, companies will eventually expand and hire, thus creating more jobs and boosting productivity which, in turn, contributes towards economic growth.

It is heartening to note that several trends have emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic, which speak of Greater KL’s supportive and conducive ecosystem. First, we have found that MNCs have been able to continue operating even with a large number of their workforce working from home. Their ability to continue business-as-usual in an unknown environment can be credited to their robust business continuity plan. However, from a country perspective, their ongoing operations have enabled at least 2,000 local small and medium enterprises to thrive in a challenging environment.

" The GKL Live Lab provides opportunities for foreign companies to collaborate and create synergies with local companies and academia. "


Azmi

A number of MNCs also moved to hire more local talents during this period as their operations in other countries had stalled due to the pandemic. This speaks of the strength of Malaysia’s infrastructure and the adaptability of our talent pool. Furthermore, many companies that we have supported over the years also reached out to us to assist the wider society affected by the pandemic. Driven by their corporate social responsibility initiatives, these companies worked with us to distribute PPE as well as monetary donations and food to the less fortunate.

Much like everyone, the team at InvestKL rose to the occasion to meet extraordinary challenges quickly and supported our MNCs to continue their business operations. We adapted to the new environment and the team stayed in constant communication through virtual channels to ensure seamless operations. While we wait for the world to come to a near normal state, our efforts to capture the attention of foreign companies continue and this is where the InvestKL team has adopted new ways of thinking and showcased various capabilities that indicate we can indeed keep global interest in Greater KL alive.

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