Highlights:

  1. Malaysians stay positive towards real estate sector post GE14
  2. Commission proposed to help start-ups, venture capital industry
  3. Malaysia seeks more high-quality investments from S. Korea
  4. Trade war hurts China-US tourism
  5. 450,000 HK bank customers to benefit from instant QR-code-based money transfer system

Malaysians stay positive towards real estate sector post GE14
Four and a half months after the General Election, Malaysians remain positive for the local property sector. The PropertyGuru Consumer Sentiment Survey, Malaysia’s leading indicator in gauging the pulse of consumers and their appetite for properties, has seen consumers express a 42 percent satisfaction rating for the local property sector post General Elections 14 (GE14). The record high is a marked improvement from just 25 percent in 2015 and 38 percent in H2 2017. The rise in overall positivity comes even as Malaysia continues to face uncertainties attributed to various macro-economic and socio-political issues. PropertyGuru Malaysia Country Manager, Sheldon Fernandez believes that the rise in sentiment to breach the 40 percent mark is a reflection of changing perceptions among Malaysians towards the country and thereby the real estate market. “We have been tracking consumer sentiment for years and the present level of 42 percent is unprecedented. It doesn’t appear to be a temporary effect or kneejerk reaction. Clearly, more Malaysians are expressing optimism for the property sector and wish to transact. “People who previously were thinking of relocating overseas have changed their plans or have deferred them. Others who postponed home purchases are beginning to explore both primary and secondary markets again. Even Malaysians abroad are considering returning home,” shared Fernandez. The rise in positive consumer sentiment is further confirmed by more than half of those polled expressing desire to purchase a property or properties within the next six months. Of these, 37 percent are looking for homes priced between RM300,000-RM500,000. 27 percent are looking at below RM300,000. As a whole, 71 percent believe the property market continues to face oversupply issues – providing ample choice to find good deals from both developers and private owners.

Commission proposed to help start-ups, venture capital industry
The Ministry of Communications and Multimedia is proposing that a commission be set up to facilitate the development of start-ups and the venture capital industry. Its Minister, Gobind Singh Deo, said the commission would deal with challenges facing the industry and come out with solutions that could be turned into government policies. He added that the commission would also formulate solutions to streamline the industry and suggest initiatives that could be implemented by the government and undertaken by the commission.

Malaysia seeks more high-quality investments from S. Korea
Malaysia is seeking for more high-quality investments from South Korea, especially in areas of automation, green technology and robotics, said Deputy International Trade and Industry. Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming said more joint-ventures between local and South Korean companies would be sought to help Malaysia move up the global value chain. Dr Ong said that bilateral trade between Malaysia and South Korea increased 9.2 per cent year-on-year to RM65 billion in 2017 and would likely increase further this year due to the strong presence of South Korean companies in Malaysia. “To-date, there are approximately 259 South Korean companies operating in Malaysia and I believe that many more will come in the near future.

Trade war hurts tourism: Chinese flight bookings to US ‘down 42 per cent for National Day holidays
Separate report cites 5 per cent decrease in Chinese tourists to the US this year, with August showing 8.4 per cent fall in a downturn mirroring trade tensions Chinese tourism to the United States is set to fall in next week’s National Day holidays, with flight bookings down and analysts saying numbers for the year are slowing as political tensions accelerate. There has been a dramatic 42 per cent decrease in flight bookings from China to the US in next week’s holidays – known as “golden week” – compared with last year’s holiday week, according to travel fare search engine Skyscanner. The first three quarters of 2018 have seen a 16.7 per cent drop in flight bookings from China to the US, its figures show. Chinese visitors to the US are a small group overall, but their spending power is outsized, ringing up US$34.8 billion in 2016 in retail, accommodation, travel and educational spending, according to US government data.

450,000 Hong Kong bank customers to benefit from instant QR-code-based money transfer system
More than 450,000 bank customers will be able to transfer money, shop and pay bills by scanning Quick Response (QR) bar codes from Sunday, via a new Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) platform. The new platform is a key project within wider HKMA plans to globally promote the city’s burgeoning fintech sector. Individuals and companies, after registering a mobile phone number or email address with their bank or e-wallet operator, will be able to transfer money to others using a swipe of their mobile. The system also allows customers to pay in shops and restaurants using their bank accounts or e-wallets, and pay utility bills. Twenty one banks and 10 e-wallet operators have joined in, including all the major players including from HSBC, Citibank, and Bank of China (Hong Kong), Alipay, WeChat Pay, and the Hong Kong payment card, Octopus.