Building Bridges: CCIFM’s Efforts in French-Malaysian Corporate Relations

1. Can you provide an overview of CCIFM's mission, objectives, and key focus areas?

Established in 1991, the Malaysian French Chamber of Commerce and Industry or CCIFM is a non-profit, self-funding organisation affiliated with CCI France International. With its head office in Greater Kuala Lumpur (Greater KL) and representatives across various regions in Malaysia and France, CCIFM represents over 300 member companies from diverse sectors. As a bilateral chamber, CCIFM facilitates and promotes economic and business relations between France and Malaysia. It aims to support French companies in their development within the Malaysian market and assist Malaysian companies interested in expanding their presence in France.

2. How does CCIFM perceive the current economic prospects of both Malaysia and France?

CCIFM views Malaysia's economic prospects positively, noting its strategic position as a hub for the Asia-Pacific region, which attracts many French companies. This advantageous location supports business expansion and regional connectivity. France, being the top destination for foreign investment in the EU for the past five years, offers an easy entry into the European market. The anticipated EU-Malaysia Trade Agreement is expected to further strengthen these economic ties, benefiting the economic prospect of both nations.

3. In what ways do you see Malaysia and France collaborating and leveraging opportunities in the evolving economic landscape?

Malaysia and France can collaborate by leveraging Malaysia's strategic position as a hub in the Asia-Pacific region. Many French companies in Malaysia, facilitated by CCIFM's corporate support services, use it as a regional base. Malaysia should highlight its cost-effective advantages over Singapore to attract new investors, emphasising its strategic location, skilled workforce, and robust infrastructure. This collaboration can drive growth in sectors like technology, trade, renewable energy, and education, enhancing bilateral ties and economic opportunities.

4. Can you share any specific examples of successful collaborations or partnerships between Malaysian and French businesses?

Airbus, for example, recognises and lists Malaysian companies such as CTRM and SME Aerospace as top suppliers, a testament to their commitment to meeting global aerospace standards.

Another example would be DORIS Engineering and MMC Oil & Gas Engineering, who have established a Malaysian Joint Venture named “DORIS MMC Sdn Bhd” to provide quality engineering services at highly competitive rates for oil & gas projects, as well as state of the art engineering services for low carbon and new energy projects. As such, they have been awarded with CCIFM Excellence Awards in 2023.

Left to right : H.E. Axel Cruau, Ambassador of France to Malaysia ; Datuk Muhammad Azmi Zulkifli, CEO of InvestKL ; Tan CS, Group Vice-President & General Manager STMicroelectronics Malaysia, Shahrom Tumin, Senior HR Manager STMicroelectronics Malaysia ; Richard Fostier, President of CCIFM ; Datuk Zainal Amanshah, Chairman of CCIFM

The CCIFM Excellence award 2023 for “Corporate Social Responsibility” was granted to STMicroelectronics

5. What industries or sectors do you believe offer the most potential for collaboration between Malaysia and France?

Aerospace development: France’s expertise in aerospace can support Malaysia’s ambitions to develop its aerospace industry, including manufacturing, maintenance, and training. For example, Safran Landing Systems, the world's leading supplier of carbon brakes for commercial airplanes, will be expanding its production facility in Sendayan, Negeri Sembilan.

Healthcare collaboration: France’s advanced healthcare system, pharmaceutical industry and biotech capabilities can complement Malaysia’s growing healthcare industry in healthcare services, medical research, and drug manufacturing. A French Healthcare Club was launched in June 2024 by H.E. Mr Axel Cruau, Ambassador of France to Malaysia.

Energy & Sustainable Development: Malaysia’s solar energy potential can be enhanced with French technology and expertise in renewable energy. French companies such as Engie and TotalEnergies collaborate with Malaysian firms to develop renewable energy projects. Collaboration in waste management, water treatment, and sustainable agriculture can help both nations achieve their environmental goals. Veolia in Malaysia has played a pivotal role in implementing advanced waste management and bioconversion solutions, fostering sustainable practices and reducing environmental impact.

E&E sector: As Malaysia’s deep integration into the global semiconductor supply chain, more companies on top of ST Microelectronics and Eolane will be looking at Malaysia as a hub for manufacturing.

Hospitality, lifestyle & retail: The Accor Group has a strong presence in Malaysia with about 20 hotels in operation in, ClubMed Sabah is set to open in Q4 2024. Decathlon continues to open new stores across Malaysia with more and more products sourced and manufactured locally.

6. How does CCIFM support French companies interested in exploring and expanding their business ventures in the Asia Pacific region?

CCIFM plays a crucial role in supporting French companies interested in exploring and expanding their business ventures in the Asia Pacific region. Many French companies establish themselves in Malaysia as a hub for their regional operations, leveraging the country's strategic location, and business-friendly environment. CCIFM acts as an incubator for these companies, providing a range of services to facilitate their growth and success.

  • Company setup, including visa applications
  • Administrative, fiscal, and legal support
  • Office space rental with CCIFM Business Centers
  • Market intelligence & business matching
  • Organisation of business or governmental delegations to France or Malaysia
  • Networking opportunities with regular events

7. Are there any initiatives or programs facilitated by CCIFM to promote bilateral trade and investment between Malaysia and France?

Yes, CCIFM plays a significant role in promoting bilateral trade and investment between Malaysia and France. One key initiative is the Malaysian Investment Day, titled "La Malaisie, votre tremplin pour l'Asie" which CCIFM organises in collaboration with Malaysian stakeholders in Paris. This event aims to promote Malaysia as a strategic investment destination for French companies looking to expand their operations in the Asia Pacific region. Additionally, CCIFM also regularly brings local states agencies on investment missions to France and manages the itinerary and B2B meetings.

Presentation of Malaysia’s business opportunities to Versailles Business Club members

8. What challenges do you anticipate for Malaysian and French companies seeking to collaborate or expand their operations across borders, and how do you overcome them?

Talent acquisition is by far the biggest challenge faced by French companies. CCIFM assists in connecting Malaysian students who studied in France with French companies in Malaysia, through an annual career fair organised together with Campus France.

The France Alumni Day Career Fair 2024 that was co-organized with Campus France and Embassy of France in Malaysia

9. How does CCIFM envision the future of economic relations between Malaysia and France, and what role does the chamber play in shaping this future?

CCIFM envisions a bright future for economic relations between Malaysia and France bolstered by the much anticipated EU-Malaysia trade agreement. French companies will be able to capitalise on Malaysia as a gateway to Asia Pacific. The Chamber plays a crucial role by facilitating business connections, at both corporate and institutional levels, promoting investment opportunities in collaboration with MIDA and state agencies, and supporting French companies in Malaysia by being a one-stop destination offering tailored corporate support services.

10. Are there any upcoming events or initiatives organised by CCIFM that aim to facilitate networking or collaboration opportunities between Malaysian and French businesses?

Yes, CCIFM will host its Excellence Awards & Gala Night in Kuala Lumpur and the Malaysia Investment Day in Paris, both in Q4 2024. Additionally, regular networking events are planned in Greater KL and various regions, including East Malaysia, to facilitate ongoing collaboration and networking opportunities between Malaysian and French businesses.

The Malaysian French Chamber of Commerce & Industry / CCI France Malaysia (CCIFM) held its Gala Night on 2nd November 2023 in JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur celebrating the business relationship between the two countries.

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