Global players place their trust in Greater KL
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2 June 2021

Multinational corporations maintain their confidence in the potential, promise and opportunities that Greater KL brings to them. 

Malaysia has many things going for it, including a strategic location in ASEAN, a diverse and highly competent talent pool, as well as solid infrastructure and connectivity.

These are precisely why global multinational corporations have been drawn to establish their regional hubs on our shores, particularly in the Greater KL (Kuala Lumpur and Selangor) vicinity.

Three such corporations related their experiences establishing their respective regional hubs in Greater KL and how much they have progressed since.

Zurich is leveraging on talent and infrastructure for growth

Swiss insurance giant Zurich Insurance Group entered Malaysia in 2011, later establishing its regional hub here in 2014. It is incidentally the only global player in Malaysia that holds all four business licenses (life insurance, general insurance, family takaful and general takaful).

In a recent interview, the company said that the high competency levels among Malaysians led it to establish its IT and actuarial service centres here as well. “Moreover, Zurich is very much a values-driven organisation and we found that Zurich values and Malaysian values are very much in alignment, with a deep appreciation of diversity, inclusivity, focus on community and on making a positive impact on society as a whole.”

Zurich also pointed out that the insurance and takaful industry in Malaysia is in many ways quite sophisticated, especially in terms in terms of regulations and consumer demand. “This forces companies to always innovate and at Zurich we have stepped up our efforts in response to customer demand,” it said adding that it has introduced the MyZurichLife ecosystem, a country-wide initiative for its Malaysian customers.

The company also noted that Malaysia also has one of the most advanced Islamic finance frameworks, including takaful. “This is achieved by having in place a sound legal, regulatory and Shariah framework that promotes the rapid growth of the takaful industry.”

“With this well-structured environment in place, the two Zurich takaful entities in Malaysia have jointly become a centre of excellence for the Zurich Group, supporting the development of takaful and sharing of best practices across other markets in Asia Pacific (e.g. Indonesia), as well as elsewhere in the world, where takaful know-how and expertise are required,” the company explained.

The company also commended the government on the recently launched Digital Economy Blueprint. “This 10-year road map to transform Malaysia into a digitally driven, high-income nation will have an indirect spill over effect on many industries, including insurance and takaful. We expect the industry to adopt the latest technologies in data analytics and machine learning algorithms, to be more agile and offer tailor-made solutions that improve the customer experience.”

Leviat is building its regional presence by leveraging Malaysia’s geographical strengths

For global construction accessories company Leviat, establishing a regional office in Malaysia was crucial for its business in the region.

Malaysia has a central position in Southeast Asia and complements Leviat’s other locations in APAC, notably in China, Australia and New Zealand. Other factors included the cost and ease of doing business in Malaysia, the use of English as the main business language, the infrastructure (three international airports close to KL and an extensive network of metro-lines which is still growing), as well as local production capabilities.

Leviat has achieved several milestones since setting up a regional office in Malaysia, including a partnership with Universiti Malaya to develop the country’s young engineers. It is also the first company in Malaysia to receive a quality certification from the Construction Research Institute of Malaysia, for its ‘MOMENT JoinTec’ Reinforcing Bar Coupler in accordance with the ISO 15835 standard.

Furthermore, the company has launched a complete range of precast concrete accessories to support the increasing demand for Industrialised Building System (IBS) in Malaysia’s construction industry. “Being at the forefront of change towards a more efficient building process is important to Leviat,” Rob Van Haaren, Leviat’s country manager said.

Leviat’s contribution to improving construction safety and efficiency has also been acknowledged by the Institute of Engineers of Malaysia (IEM), who recognised Leviat (previously known locally as Halfen Moment) as the most active organisation in Malaysia for driving innovative change in the construction industry.

“By having a base operation in Malaysia, we can offer better support to our customers and local partners. This location allows us to stay closer to our customers, resulting in better insights into local markets that enable us to develop more relevant building products for the APAC region.

“With the establishment of an office in Kuala Lumpur, we can develop localised strategies and manage regional markets more closely, for example, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia,” he added.

ZALORA is tailoring its regional strategy from its KL base

Regional e-commerce player ZALORA (owned by global giant Global Fashion Group) set up its regional e-fulfilment hub and regional headquarters in KL in 2017 and has not looked back since.

The hub stores 70% of the group’s inventory, as well as houses its customer service, marketing, commercial purchasing, finance and human resources functions for its eight markets in the Asian region. Furthermore, the majority of its leadership team is also based in KL.

The company has said in previous media reports that it wanted the KL hub to be the main driver of its regional operations, supporting all its Asian markets.

“ZALORA brings its e-commerce to Kuala Lumpur through our KL HQ and our regional e-fulfilment hub. Our location in KL enables us to bring fashion and lifestyle products to our customers’ doorsteps across the region faster than ever. KL is also a fertile ground for us to continue expanding, with Malaysia at the centre of Southeast Asia’s biggest regional e-commerce operations. It has also allowed us to tap into the local talent pool, which is brimming with digital natives and capable high-skilled works able to operate in a multilingual environment,” said ZALORA’s chief commercial officer Giulio Xiloyannis.

“Moreover, we work closely with the supportive local government bodies to transform the city into a tech hub for the region,” he added.

ZALORA has also projected that the fashion and lifestyle market in emerging and developing economies will grow three times as fast than those in developed markets such as the United States and Europe.

The positive experiences of the above companies are testament to the fact that Greater KL remains the location that global multinationals can leverage on to cultivate a strong presence in the region.

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