BERLIN: Having established strong ties with Germany’s multinational companies, Malaysia is now keen to also attract the country’s mid-sized manufacturers, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Tuesday.
Studies show that no other country has as many mid-sized global market leaders as Germany, which has a population of about 80.6 million and is the world’s fourth largest economy.
Malaysia’s small and medium enterprises can therefore learn much from German mid-sized companies especially in terms of their entrepreneurial spirit, their competitive strategies and their adaptation and innovation in advanced technology, he said.
Accounting for a substantial number of companies and known collectively as “Mittelstand”, they are the backbone of the economy, supplementing the bigger well-established industrial and manufacturing giants.
“We look forward to more investments from Germany, particularly in new growth areas, in emerging technologies, and in capital-intensive, high value-added, knowledge-based, skill-intensive and export-oriented industries, he told German business leaders at a dialogue session in Germany’s capital Tuesday.
Companies participating in the dialogue included Atotech, AWS Schafer, BMW, Daimler, Osram, Volkswagen, Infineon, Bombardier Transportation, Ensinger, B. Braun, Green Sugar and Biesterfeld International.
He said there are also huge opportunities in the vibrant services sectors such as information and communications technology, oil and gas services, private healthcare, private high education, tourism and professional services.
Germany is Malaysia’s largest investor from the European Union with a total of 552 manufacturing projects to date, and these investments, which total US$11.4bil (RM47.1bil), have created more than 63,500 new jobs.
Notable German firms which have already had a strong presence for decades include Volkswagen, BMW, BASF, Osram, Mercedes, Audi, Deutsche Bank, Siemens AG, Bosch and Infineon.
Last year, Germany was Malaysias 12th largest trading partner globally, with total bilateral trade of US$10.3bil (RM42.5bil).
Najib, who is also Finance Minister, is on a three-day official visit to Germany on the invitation of its Chancellor, Angela Merkel.
Also present were International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, Representative of Asia Pacific Committee of German Business and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of B. Braun Melsungen AG Prof. Datuk Seri Dr Ludwig Georg Braun, Malaysian Ambassador to Germany Datuk Zulkifli Adnan and Malaysian Investment Development Authority Chief Executive Officer Datuk Azman Mahmud.
Besides investing in Malaysia, Najib told the business leaders that they could use the country’s strategic location to tap into the Asean market, which is poised to become the world’s fourth largest economy by 2050 at the latest.
“With our pro-business, prudent and pragmatic policies Malaysia is your ideal partner for doing business in the region. We are committed to ensuring that the needs of investors who wish to do business in Malaysia are met, he said.
He said Malaysia also has incubated home-grown stars such as Globetronics, Inari, Unisem and Vitrox.
“These domestic players have moved up the value chain by intensifying their research and development activities, and also through technology diffusion between them and their global partners,” he said.
This upcoming group of local players is more than capable of meeting the stringent demands of both original equipment manufacturers and the international market, he said.
In further fostering Malaysia-Germany relations, the Prime Minister expressed Malaysia’s strongest interest in hosting the 16th Asia Pacific Conference of German Business in Kuala Lumpur in 2018.
On the Malaysia-EU Free Trade Agreement negotiations, Najib said he was sure of Germany’s continued support for relaunch of the talks. – Bernama