Editor’s Choice: 14 November 2017

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  • Malaysia can become hub for ASEAN market
  • Malaysia’s economy to grow at 5 per cent in 2018
  • Palm Oil Exports to Exceed RM70 bln
  • Chubb creates small commercial division for SMEs in Asia Pacific
  • French retail giant Auchan launches unmanned stores in China
  • E-commerce frameworks, ASEAN network of smart cities on the cards as Singapore takes over ASEAN Chair
  • Indonesian Minister says country not likely to achieve growth target

Malaysia Can Become Hub for ASEAN Market
Malaysia can become a hub for distributing products from overseas to the ASEAN market for which Hong Kong has grown itself into for decades. Hence, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) urged Malaysian investors to take advantage of the vast opportunities before them with the signing of the Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) between ASEAN and Hong Kong. He said Malaysian entrepreneurs and business sectors should translate the FTA to create investment opportunities between the two countries. He added that Hong Kong had become the gateway for goods from Malaysia to several countries, particularly its neighbouring countries. “I think this role of transhipment country can be expanded, not just being a channel and distribution centre for goods from our country. “But at the same time, Malaysia should be a transhipment country to channel products just like the role Hong Kong has played,” he told Malaysian media in Hong Kong. (Bernama)

Malaysia’s Economy to Grow At 5 per cent In 2018
The Conference Board, a New York-based global, independent business research association, has projected that Malaysia would record a five per cent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2018, slightly lower than the 5.5 per cent growth in 2017. In its latest Global Economic Outlook 2018 released on Monday, it said Malaysia was not the only ASEAN country to face a decline as Thailand’s GDP growth was also projected to decline to three per cent in 2018 from 3.8 per cent in 2017. The report attributed Malaysia’s economic slowdown to the decline in oil and other commodity prices, which were not likely to rise above their current levels next year. Nevertheless, the overall global economy’s momentum is expected to continue, producing a three per cent global growth rate in 2018. (Bernama)

2017 Palm Oil Exports to Exceed RM70 bln
Palm oil exports is expected to exceed RM70 billion this year compared with RM67 billion recorded last year. Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said the anticipated higher exports value would be driven by imports from European countries, India, China, ASEAN countries and new markets such as Iran. “Iran offers a big potential for exporters because this year, the country’s imports of Malaysian palm oil have shot up. This is why we are working hard to look at new markets.” (Bernama)

Chubb Creates Small Commercial Division for SMEs in Asia Pacific

Chubb has established a division in Asia Pacific dedicated to the risk management needs of Small, Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The new business division focuses solely on delivering a sustainable value proposition to SMEs through innovative products, tailored distribution strategies and convenient sales platforms. Chubb’s Regional Head of Property & Casualty, Jason Keen said, “The SMEs’ demands for risk management are rapidly evolving as they continue to play an expanding role in the local economies across the region. With Chubb’s superior underwriting expertise, award-winning claims and account services, we can provide SMEs a differentiated offering to help them thrive.” (Media Release)

French retail giant Auchan launches unmanned stores in China
French retail giant Group Auchan said it will roll-out unmanned supermarkets across China this year, in partnership with state-owned home appliance company Hisense. Europe’s eighth-largest retailer said it will open “several hundred” Auchan Minute stores and expects this number to rise quickly over the next few years. “We are very ambitious,” said Ludovic Holinier, the executive chairman of Auchan Retail China. “The Auchan Minute unmanned convenience stores will carry about 500 products, including fresh products and non-food impulse goods (drinks, snacks and fruits). Consumers will need to use the popular messaging app WeChat to enter a store by scanning a QR code at the entrance, which will be used to identify them. Once inside, all they have to do is to choose and scan the items they want, which will be automatically added to their virtual shopping basket. The payment will be made either through WeChat Pay or Alipay, two of the most popular payment methods in China, according to Auchan. (SCMP)

E-commerce frameworks, ASEAN network of smart cities on the cards
Singapore hopes to build up e-commerce frameworks, cyber capabilities and create an ASEAN network of smart cities as the incoming chairman for the regional bloc, the country’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said. It is important that the group finds innovative ways to harness the opportunities afforded by new technologies, he said, adding that the East Asian countries are already at the forefront of technology adoption, particularly in e-commerce and smart cities. “There is tremendous potential if we combine efforts and leverage on each other’s strengths,” he said. ASEAN’s digital economy is projected to grow by 500 per cent, to around US$200 billion (S$272 billion) by 2025, he added. (CNA)

Minister says government won’t achieve growth target
Indonesia’s National Development Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro has expressed his pessimism that the government will achieve its target of 5.2 percent economic growth. The estimation was made based on the 5.03 percent growth in the third quarter. “The government is struggling to achieve 5.2 percent economic growth,” said Bambang as quoted by tempo.co. Bambang, however, expressed his optimism that in 2018, the economy could grow above 5.2 percent. “But if investment grew similar to the level in the third quarter of 2017,” said Bambang. (Jakarta Post)

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