Embracing the Vibrant Charm of Greater Kuala Lumpur: A French Expat's Story

Welcome to Greater Kuala Lumpur (Greater KL/KL) - a place where a community of Global Citizens found a cherished home away from home.




Patrick Franchinard with his APAC team at Air Liquide. 

Among them is Patrick Franchinard, an experienced professional from France. As the Vice President of APAC Global Services at Air Liquide, a Leader in Industrial and Medical Gases, Patrick. Has not only achieved professional success but has also found a second home in this vibrant Malaysian capital.


From the warm hospitality of its people to the lively energy of its streets, Patrick's experiences inspire us to uncover the hidden gems, cultural treasures, and unparalleled quality of life that await those who choose to call Greater KL their home.

Discover Patrick's journey in this city and why Greater KL is an ideal destination for expatriates seeking urban sophistication and natural beauty.

Q1: Tell us about yourself.

"My name is Patrick Franchinard. I am French. I work for Air Liquide Group, a Leader in Industrial and Medical Gases. Air Liquide is an MNC with 29B EUR revenue with a presence in more than 70 countries.

My current position at Air Liquide is Vice President of APAC Global Services. As such, I supervise global functions such as D&IT and Procurement, as well as two Shared Service Centres for APAC located in Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur, with Greater KL serving as the primary centre in this region. I am also the CEO of Air Liquide Business Services Sdn. Bhd.

I am married and we live in Malaysia with our daughter who is 14 years old. She studies at the LFKL, a French school in Kuala Lumpur."


Q2: How long have you been living in Greater KL? What is your and your family's impression of living here?

"We arrived in Kuala Lumpur in September 2019, which was almost 4 and a half years ago. Greater KL is a great place for expatriates like us to live in. We have been pleasantly surprised by the infrastructure, the kindness of the people, the healthcare system, and the overall quality of living. We enjoy living in this country and we feel lucky to have been in KL during the COVID pandemic."


Q3: What has been your experience as an expat living in Greater KL? In what ways is life in this region different from your home country?

"From a business perspective, I appreciate the efforts made by state agencies to make Malaysia more business-friendly. InvestKL, in particular, is doing an excellent job of supporting us, despite the complexity of some procedures.

On a personal level, I'm impressed by how much Malaysians love food. As a French citizen, I thought we were the only ones who loved good food, but Malaysians are equally passionate about it. I'm also amazed by the beauty of the country, the city of KL, and the surrounding areas. The city of Kuala Lumpur offers the best of both worlds by combining modern living with easy access to nature. My family and I have lived in Bukit Damansara, a lovely suburb of KL, where we enjoy walking and meeting friends at Plaza Damansara.

Beyond this, there are many other places in Malaysia where we love spending our vacations or long weekends. Among the major cities, such as Melaka (my wife is Portuguese) and Penang. We fell in love with Langkawi too. We also frequently go diving at the Perhentian Island and Redang Island. On a different note, the Cameron Highlands is a distinctive destination too."




Pulau Redang, Terengganu

Q4: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when adjusting to life in Greater KL, and how did you overcome them? Were there any unexpected cultural or social differences that stood out to you?

"Compared to other countries where we have lived, our experience in Malaysia brought unique opportunities for personal and professional growth. While obtaining the talent pass took some time, we appreciated the journey, and once it was secured, my wife seamlessly transitioned into the workforce. Although hiring a helper posed some initial intricacies due to unfamiliar rules, we navigated through them successfully, ultimately contributing to a positive and enriching chapter of our time in Malaysia.

From a cultural and social perspective, we didn't have much difficulty understanding and adapting to the Malaysian way of life.

We take every opportunity to know more about the culture and interact with the Malaysians"


Q5: When deciding to open an overseas office, what factors should a company consider, and what advantages does Greater KL offer compared to other regional cities?

"There are several criteria that a company must consider when making important decisions. These criteria include ease of doing business in the country, access to infrastructure such as airports and trains, and accessibility from other countries. In addition to this, having access to a strong healthcare system is also crucial. It is also important to find highly educated talents with diverse skills and competencies, especially when building or opening a Regional Hub Shared Service Centre.

All of these factors are important when making a decision, and in the case of Air Liquide, we have found that Greater KL fits all of these criteria. We believe that it was the right decision to choose Greater KL as our regional hub."


Q6: Living in a new place often comes with memorable experiences. Could you share some anecdote or unforgettable moment that encapsulates your time in Greater KL?

"My first memorable experience was when I just arrived in Malaysia and took a Grab for my first trip to my office and when the Grab driver welcomed me and asked me if I enjoyed my breakfast this morning. Very funny!

Otherwise, swimming with the turtles in Redang Island, and observing the Colugo flying or the sea otters on the beach in Langkawi were great times as well."


Q7: Describe a typical weekend in Greater KL for you and your family.

"When we stay in KL, we usually plan our weekends around various activities such as walking in the morning, either in Damansara or in the Jungle (Taman Tugu), meeting our friends either at home or in different places around the city, and practising sports. We enjoy playing golf, tennis, and padel, and we find golf to be very accessible in Greater KL."

For expats considering a move to Greater KL, what advice would you offer to help them make a smooth and enjoyable transition to this diverse and vibrant region?
"If you're an expat planning to move to Greater KL, my advice would be to think outside the box and not limit yourself to the big condominiums where most expats stay. We made a different choice, and we are very happy with it."




Image credit. http://tamantugu.my

Q8: For expats considering a move to Greater KL, what advice would you offer to help them make a smooth and enjoyable transition to this diverse and vibrant region?

"If you're an expat planning to move to Greater KL, my advice would be to think outside the box and not limit yourself to the big condominiums where most expats stay. We made a different choice, and we are very happy with it."

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