by Mr. Michael Wu, Managing Director of 3M Malaysia Sdn Bhd

In the third quarter of 2013, 3M grew 7% across the Asia-Pacific with great business developments and good future prospects. As for the South East Asia (SEA) region itself, we believe that the market should grow from USD 1 billion to USD 2 billion within the next five years. With the country’s combination of a stable and business friendly market environment, positive Government-led development incentives, and strong base of talented human capital resources, 3M is eager to further re-invest into Malaysia as it is a key growth market with both domestic and export prospects.

In 2013, the Malaysian government’s focus towards developing R&D and adopting Green Technology alternatives has served as an impetus for the identification and implementation of more efficient and more sustainable technologies and practices. This in turn has catalysed the business eco-system towards paying greater attention to the opportunities created through both technological and process driven innovations, from increased productivity to upward movements along industry value chains.

To that end, we at 3M Malaysia are encouraged by the Malaysian government’s commitment towards inculcating a culture of science and innovation amongst Malaysians, as was done through the establishment of the new Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC). With global technological developments continuing to grow at a rapid pace it is crucial for Malaysians to not only be able to remain abreast of benchmark technologies but also for us to transform into a society of contributors towards innovation. This is the only means through which our industries, businesses, and people will be able to move upwards along the value chain. In doing so, Malaysia will also become a nation of high-income earners with all of the benefits which such a move would entail.

With that in mind, moving forward to 2014, we are confident that Malaysian businesses will seek to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the global market which sees continued growth in demand in the key fields of Oil & Gas, Electronics, Automotive, Metal Fabrication, Consumer and Healthcare.

 

Oil & Gas

The Malaysian government has committed to invest USD 100 billion into Offshore Deepwater Explorations, Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), New Refineries and Natural Gas Development, all of which will result in trickled down opportunities for Malaysian businesses. The business opportunities in technologically demanding areas such as enhanced oil recovery, asset integrity, integrated operations and deepwater exploration is thus expected to be significant and is a prime opportunity for local players to develop indigenous technology. To that end we at 3M are eager to work with Malaysian Oil and Gas companies as well as the government to capitalize on these opportunities. Through our technological capabilities we are able to assist partners in improving productivity and recovery, extending life of assets and ensuring that exploration is conducted in a way which protects people as well as the environment.

 

Metal Fabrication

The metal fabrication segment currently only represents a small portion of Malaysia’s manufacturing industry. However, it possesses strong opportunities for growth in Casting & Forging businesses associated to the growth of global Automotive and Medical industries as well as the local aerospace industry. The added benefit of this segment is that many Malaysian businesses already have the basic infrastructure in place and need only to upscale their assets through the acquisition of innovations such as those provided by 3M which have revolutionized grinding technology and which have enhanced performance, productivity and cost savings. We at 3M thus urge Malaysian manufacturers to seek new opportunities so as to be able to tap into this rising demand in high quality and precision made materials and components which will in turn further allow them to move higher up the value chain.

 

Electronics

The ongoing increase in demand for smaller and slimmer devices, from tablets to ever sleeker mobile phones, has driven component miniaturisation to an unprecedented scale with numerous JOEMs seeking to transfer manufacturing locations and volume away from Japan and into the APAC region as a means of achieving greater market penetration. As one of the world’s largest exporter of HDDs and semi-conductors, Malaysia is in a prime position to take advantage of this ongoing business trend. However, innovation in manufacturing processes are essential as it is the only means through which we will be able to ensure that Malaysia is able to tap into the higher value returns of this growing market. As such Malaysian businesses must look to acquire technology advancements which will allow them to gain a competitive advantage over local as well as regional or global competitiors.

 

Automotive Technology

With AFTA clearly on the horizon, Malaysia’s automotive industry will soon be exposed to the ASEAN population of 600 million as a potential market. With AFTA, we will also likely see a shift of share between local AOEMs and foreign AOEMs by the year 2017. In anticipation of the changing trends, Malaysian AOEMs simply must seek to enhance local capabilities through innovation so as to tap into relevant market needs which are driven by the demand for increased performance, energy efficiency, safety and aesthetic designs, all of which are areas which we at 3M have an extensive bank of technologies available. Malaysia must also recognise the emerging strength of the automotive industries of our neighbours in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines with whom we must be able to compete with if we are to gain value from AFTA and participation in the AEC.

With the wealth of opportunities to be found within these four industries alone, we at 3M are confident that Malaysia will be able to significantly enhance both its productivity as well as position along industry supply chains so as to move the country towards gaining significantly higher value. Innovation will be the key that allows the nation to unlock this untapped potential and  3M is ready to partner with both the Malaysian government as well as private enterprises to achieve our nation’s goal of becoming a successful, developed, and high income nation.