Editor’s Picks: 27 September 2017

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  • Malaysia Climbs Two Spots in Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018
  • SME Bank’s TV Programme to Highlight SME Issues
  • Budget 2018 Will Be People-Centric, Equity Market-Friendly, Says RHB Research
  • ASEAN Members Need to Address Challenges Faced By Increase In Demand For Energy
  • China to keep lead over West in developing consumer technologies, says UBS
  • Hong Kong investors are snapping up flats in Southeast Asia

Malaysia Climbs Two Spots In Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018
Malaysia climbed two spots to rank 23rd out of 137 countries in the Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018 (GCR) compared to last year where it was placed 25th out of 138 countries. In the report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Malaysia has overtaken Ireland, Qatar and remained ahead of economies such as South Korea, China, Iceland and Estonia. The study, which uses 70 per cent survey data and 30 per cent hard data from 137 countries, took into considerations 12 pillars of competitiveness to determine the country’s ranking. Switzerland was ranked the most competitive economy in the world for the ninth consecutive year, ahead of the United States and Singapore, followed by The Netherlands and Germany.

Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC), which releases the data locally, said Malaysia’s performance remained strong and remarkably consistent as it retained its position in the top 25. “Among emerging economy in East Asia and the Pacific region, Malaysia maintains its position as the most competitive in the transition stage from efficiency-driven to innovation-driven,” MPC Director-General, Datuk Mohd Razali Hussien. He said the better ranking was due to improvements in the scores in 10 of the indicators in the 12 pillars which measured both macro and micro economic aspects of competitiveness. The 12 pillars are Institutions, Infrastructure, Macroeconomic Environment, Health and Primary Education, Higher Education and Training, Goods Market Efficiency, Labour Market Efficiency, Financial Market Development, Technological Readiness, Market Size, Business Sophistication and Innovation. “Malaysia performed most strongly in financial market development, followed by health and primary education, infrastructure and macroeconomic environment,” he said.

SME Bank’s TV Programme To Highlight SME Issues
SME Bank has produced a television programme, titled ‘SUKSES’ to highlight issues faced by small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Chief Operating Officer of Operations and Group Corporate Management, Datuk Razman Mohd Noor, said the programme would also feature the latest news in the SME industry, business aspects and stories on company management from the entrepreneurs’ viewpoint. “The show also includes interviews with SME Bank’s representatives on financing facilities, advisory services, guidance and activities,” he said in a statement today. The bank said the show would be a platform for entrepreneurs to promote their products and services to the public, and also act as a business management guide for future entrepreneurs. It will be aired every Friday at 8.30 pm on Astro Awani (channel 501) and SME Bank´s website at www.smebank.com.my from 29 September 2017 to August 2018.

Budget 2018 Will Be People-Centric, Equity Market-Friendly, Says RHB Research
The Budget 2018 would be people-centric, equity market-friendly and emphasise on the country’s aspirations for the next 30 years under the Transformasi National 2050 (TN50). RHB Research Institute Sdn Bhd said, in line with the budget’s theme, ‘Shaping the Future’, the government was expected to lay the foundation for TN50 by implementing measures such as improving the Internet connectivity and expanding growth in the digital economy. “It would also incorporate ride-sharing services and provide a higher allocation for education,” it said. The research house said the budget would also focus on facilitating Industry 4.0, as well as promoting high-technology industries in areas of automation, robotic development, big data and cloud computing. “Among the initiatives the government may impose include introducing tax incentives targeted at Industry 4.0 and increasing the funding for the soft loan scheme for automation and modernisation.

ASEAN Members Need to Address Challenges Faced By Increase In Demand For Energy
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is gearing towards high economic growth and member countries need to also address challenges faced by the increase in demand for energy. Philippines’ Secretary of the Department of Energy, Alfonso Cusi, said as fossil fuels were depleting, there was a need to look for non-conventional energy sources to help provide competitively-priced, stable and sustainable energy. ASEAN, he said, has set a target of 23 per cent for renewable energy by 2025 to reduce dependency on traditional power supply which caused massive pollution. The target was achieved in 2013, he added.

China to keep lead over West in developing consumer technologies, says UBS
China will continue to lead the world in disruptive business-to-consumer technologies as it mines the commercial benefits of its vast e-commerce and social media platforms, according to UBS. Analysts at the Swiss global financial services firm said the country’s investments in research and development in those fields and other disruptive technologies are on track to surpass spending by the United States next year. “In a lot of these consumer-based technologies, China is far better than the West,” said UBS equity analyst Sundeep Gantori. Gantori pointed out that China’s e-commerce market leads that of the United States in the fast-growing online grocery segment. He estimated that China’s online grocery sales have penetrated about 5 per cent of the domestic market, compared with around 1 per cent in the US.

Hong Kong investors are snapping up flats in Southeast Asia
Hong Kong investors looking for a stable rental income instead of parking their money in a bank are setting their sights on Southeast Asian property, according to industry experts. Demand for investment property in the region – where prices are a fraction of those in Hong Kong – has stayed firm, with total transactions of completed properties up 19 per cent year on year in the first half of 2017 to around US$61 billion, according to Colliers International. The focus of Chinese investment in foreign property seems to be shifting from the US to Asia, says Colliers International.
“Despite capital controls, we expect continued Chinese interest in APAC [Asia Pacific] gateway cities in the near term. Thereafter we foresee material Chinese investment in Belt and Road markets in Southeast Asia. This should be a long-term trend,” it said.

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