Headlines:
  1. Malaysia committed to woo high-tech investments
  2. Malaysian PM calls for high-tech investments from UK
  3. Malaysia listed top 10 wellness tourism markets in Asia Pacific
  4. Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand among Asia’s slowest growing ad spend markets
  5. US-China tech war will reduce trade and investment diversion benefits
  6. No quick turnaround in Singapore’s exports, more downside risks in 2019 growth
Malaysia committed to woo high-tech investments Communication and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said Malaysia remains committed to high-end manufacturing and industrialisation by identifying strategic partners that will help make the country a preferred destination for the high-tech industry players. He said that to do so, Malaysia must step up its efforts to attract research and development (R&D)-intensive foreign direct investments into the country. This included offering incentives to entice global information technology players to bring revolutionary technology to Malaysia, while at the same time encouraging local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to invest in R&D and automation. He stressed that the government was also committed to taking necessary steps to facilitate and advance the digital agenda. However, he said, the responsibility to grow and nurture the technology industry should be shouldered by all relevant parties working together to create a vibrant and sustainable ecosystem, not just by one ministry. “Businesses, particularly SMEs, cited various reasons as to why they have not jumped on the digital bandwagon, including lack of experience or know-how, fear of technology, lack of talents and budgetary constraint,” he said, adding that this kind of mindset must be changed as soon as possible to avoid being left behind. In London, Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia seeks investments in the high-technology sector in line with the country’s goals of providing high income for its people. “This is our need today…Our people are now better trained and many are graduates from universities and we cannot expect them to do manual work like assembling things like we used to do before. “We need them to be engineers who will be working with new equipment, new machinery and will be familiar with the need to maintain and repair the machines that do the work,” he said in his opening speech during a roundtable meeting with the British business community organised by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE). Representatives from 50 organisations including leading business corporations like Thales, Jardine Matheson, HSBC Holdings Plc, BAE Systems, Shell, Standard Chartered, and Prudential attended the event. Tun Mahathir was on a three-day working visit to the United Kingdom that began on Saturday. Dr Mahathir said Malaysia was very comfortable with UK investors as English is also spoken in Malaysia and this could help facilitate businesses. “I think British investors will find Malaysia a very comfortable place to invest and I hope to hear from you, what you would like us to do in order to make Malaysia more attractive,” he said. Malaysia listed top 10 wellness tourism markets in Asia Pacific Malaysia is listed in the top 10 wellness tourism markets in Asia Pacific with a positive growing trend in the future, said the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang  “Wellness tourism is the fastest growing travel sector globally and Malaysia is listed in the top 10 wellness tourism markets in Asia Pasific with expenditures standing at RM20.5 billion and 8.3 million trips with a growing trend for wellness vacations and packages especially to our country,” he said. To further promote the sector, MATTA and the Association of Malaysian Spas (AMSPA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) today to strengthen wellness tourism. He said the MoU was expected to unleash the potential of tourism sector and remain competitive in the global market, hence making Malaysia’s wellness tourism on par with other famous wellness destinations in Asia. “This collaboration also affirms both associations’ commitment to promote domestic tourism products and to attract more tourists to visit Malaysia,” he said adding that MATTA would also promote ‘wellness tourism’ for its upcoming MATTA fair in September 2019. The MoU explained the arrangement relating to promotional programmes and activities leading towards Visit Malaysia 2020, exchange of information, cooperation in capacity building as well as development in the area of ‘wellness tourism’, he added. Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand among Asia’s slowest growing ad spend markets Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand are among the slowest growing ad markets in the region while India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are among the fastest, according to the June update of the ‘Global Advertising Forecast’ report from Magna, the market intelligence unit of IPG Mediabrands.  India and Pakistan are expected to grow by 15% in 2019 and Sri Lanka at 14%. On the other hand, Malaysia and Thailand are expected to clock 2% growth in 2019 while Singapore grows at just 1%. In many markets in the region – prominently India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan – cyclical events like elections and the cricket world cup are boosting advertising spends. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to see ad spend increase by 7.4% in 2019 to reach US$186 billion, according to Magna estimates. This will be aided by an increase in linear advertising by 0.4% in 2019 and digital growth of 15.9%. Linear advertising revenues are still growing in the region; they are expected to be negative in Europe, Middle East and Africa as well as North America. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to increase its share of the global advertising market from 31% to 33%. by 2023. US-China tech war will reduce trade and investment diversion benefits Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Ong Kian Ming believes that the trade war between the US and China, could benefit Malaysia in the short run in terms of trade and investment diversion from sources originally going to China. or from sources that were coming out from China. “However, when it goes into technological warfare, this actually threatens to reduce aggregate demand in total. Therefore, he said, Malaysia needed to formulate a strategic engagement plan with China to properly coordinate the country’s response whether from the perspective of the government, government-linked companies or private sector. He said such a plan could also answer questions such as how to attract high-quality investment from China and not just investment that was being forced out of China because of environmental reasons. He added that the plan could also include how to increase Malaysia’s value of exports to China so that the country could move up the value chain and how to encourage local firms, both small and large, to invest and to venture into strategic markets in China. No quick turnaround in Singapore’s exports, more downside risks in 2019 growth: Economists Economists said the slump in Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports (NODX) may not be reversed anytime soon amid an unpredictable trade conflict between the United States and China. Two watchers of the local economy have cut their full-year forecasts for NODX – the most-watched figure in Singapore’s trade report – deeper into negative territory, after official data on Monday showed a double-digit decline for the third straight month. The decline in NODX adds to recent weak data, including a contraction in the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the month of May, signalling further downward pressure for Singapore’s economy ahead, experts added. Figures released by Enterprise Singapore on Monday morning showed NODX down by 15.9 per cent in May on the back of decreases in both electronic and non-electronic exports. May’s performance was a deterioration from the 10 per cent fall in April and an 11.8 per cent drop in March. It also marked NODX’s worst showing since March 2016.