Malaysia has what it takes to be tech hub linking China to Southeast Asia
15 May 2023
Malaysia has what it takes to become the connecting hub for technology, innovation, investment and entrepreneurship that links China to Southeast Asia.
Co-founder and chairman of pan-Asian venture capital firm Gobi Partners, Thomas G. Tsao told the New Straits Times at Beyond Expo here that Malaysia has a lot of potential in tapping into China’s Greater Bay Area.
He said the world was going through “re-globalisation” where the economy does not only revolve around the western countries such as the US or Europe, and that the market and the investment focus has shifted towards Asia.
“We are in the midst of ‘re-globalisation’ and I believe that Southeast Asia is definitely the beneficiary of what is going on right now. Southeast Asia is right at the crossroads, we can learn from the Western countries, China and India.
“With a growth rate that is faster than any other countries in the world which stood at five per cent, Southeast Asia is fitting to become part of the Greater Bay Area that China has initiated to foster more growth within tech and innovation,” he said.
On Malaysia becoming a hub, Tsao commended the government’s efforts to jumpstart the technology industry to be more progressive.
He said with different initiatives that the government has pumped up into the industry, it has provided a tremendous boost of confidence for entrepreneurs as well as investors in the technology ecosystem.
“Malaysia is unique in Southeast Asia and its biggest key strength is its diversity. Malaysia has a huge Chinese and Indian community that allows it to tap into the market especially the Greater Bay Area in China and also, India.
“Apart from that, being multicultural, multi-religion, and multilingual, it gives the country leverage and serves as a stepping stone for other businesses to engage with the Indonesian market, while English is widely spoken which facilitates many international entities to conduct business,” he said.
Echoing the same sentiment, iStore iSend Sdn Bhd co-founder and chief executive officer Joe Khoo said Malaysia has the upper hand compared to its neighbours such as Singapore and Indonesia.
“As a logistical company and speaking from our experiences, Malaysia is definitely the best place to be the international hub for technology and businesses. We have the capability and resources to offer to other international companies and the potential to expand.”
He said Malaysians ability to speak other languages such as Bahasa Malaysia and English as well as understanding the cultural nuances in this region makes Malaysia even more appealing.
“Other than that, with reasonable cost, great talent and excellent connectivity, I truly believe Malaysia is the best place to make that first step before any international companies can expand to other countries in the region.
“I also think the government also played a huge role in this matter, where a lot of policies have been crafted and implemented to ease and stimulate the technology and startups ecosystem which I believe is a good thing as well. I hope they continue making progressive policies to encourage more entrepreneurs to step up their game,” he said.
Founder and group chief executive officer of Aerodyne Ventures Sdn Bhd (Aerodyne) Kamarul A said Malaysia has the potential to produce products and services that are recognised by the global standard and eventually step into becoming one of the world’s tech giants.
“As a Malaysian based company that employs Malaysian talents, we have been working very hard to prove that we can grow and make world’s class technology and participation in this tech festival like Beyond allows us to explore new ideas, networking and connect with investors,” Kamarul added.
The drone solutions provider company is aiming to raise US$200 million by this year and setting its eyes to be publicly listed in the next few years.
Gobi Partners has invested in both iStore iSend and Aerodyne.