Highlights:

  1. RM1.2 billion investments from China in first week reflects China’s confidence in new government
  2. Indian PM Modi calls on Tun Dr Mahathir
  3. Colony wins largest coworking tenant deal in Malaysia worth RM5.6 million
  4. SIA to launch world’s longest commercial flights on 11 October
  5. Global air-freight demand up 4.1 per cent in April
  6. Enterprise Singapore partners TiE to provide Singapore startups with access to India
  7. High-level U.S.-North Korea nuclear talks get underway in New York
  8. Hong Bao Media Savvy Awards 2018 launches in Malaysia

More Chinese firms invest in Malaysia after new government installed
Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia, Bai Tian said three Chinese enterprises have invested RM1.2 billion in Malaysia in the first week following the formation of the new government led by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He said this was a reflection of Chinese enterprises’ appreciation of good business environment and the confidence they have in the new Malaysian government. “China will work hand in hand with the new Malaysian government, to inherit and develop friendship of generations, expand the mutually-benefiting cooperation and support each other,” said the envoy. He pointed out that 44 years ago, Malaysia was the first ASEAN country to establish diplomatic relations with China, starting a new phase of cooperation between the two great countries. “Besides, leaders of the two countries have always maintained the general direction of China-Malaysia friendship while assessing the situation and complying with the trend,” he added. Malaysia has accumulatively invested US$7.58 billion in China, surpassing China’s investment in Malaysia. For nine consecutive years, China has remained Malaysia’s largest trading partner and is the largest investor in Malaysia’s manufacturing industry for two consecutive years, as well as, main construction contracting partner of Malaysia for many years.

Indian PM Modi calls on Tun Dr Mahathir
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for talks in Putrajaya today. Modi made a brief stopover in Malaysia to personally extend his best wishes and congratulations to Tun Dr Mahathir on Pakatan Harapan’s victory in the 14th General Election and Tun Dr Mahathir’s appointment as the prime minister. Modi tweeted in English and Bahasa Malaysia on his official Twitter account @narendramodi that he was glad to have met Tun Dr Mahathir. “I thank him for the warm welcome. We had productive discussions on further cementing India-Malaysia ties,” he said. Tun Dr Mahathir’s official Twitter account @chedetofficial also had a post on his meeting with Modi. Receiving courtesy visit by Prime Minister of India, His Excellency The Honourable Narendra Modi. Selamat Datang ke Malaysia. This is the first meeting between the two leaders. Modi last visited Malaysia in November 2015. Wisma Putra said in a statement that the meeting between the leaders of the two countries underlined the fundamental strength of the millennia-old relations between Malaysia and India. It said the visit also demonstrated the strong commitment of the two countries to further strengthen the strategic partnership. Malaysia and India enjoy close relations through cultural and historical linkages as well as in various key areas, particularly infrastructure development, education, tourism and defence. India is Malaysia’s largest trading partner in South Asia, with total trade amounting to RM61.43 billion in 2017. Prior to the stopover in Malaysia, Modi concluded a visit to Indonesia. He later left for Singapore.

Colony wins largest coworking tenant deal in Malaysia worth RM5.6 million
Luxurious coworking space and serviced office provider Colony has scored a RM5.6 million coworking tenant deal, making it the largest of its kind in Malaysia. The deal will see the undisclosed regional importer and distributor in the food industry move its regional headquarters to become the anchor tenant of Colony’s soon to be opened KL Eco City location, with over RM4 million in rental and another RM1.6 million for future expansion space that Colony is committed to provide. This potentially marks the beginning of a shift in the coworking space industry in Malaysia. Traditionally dominated by digital nomads, freelancers and startups, coworking spaces globally have in recent years see a surge in usage among corporates. This is expected to grow with a CBRE Enterprises Survey revealing that 65% of enterprise companies plan to incorporate coworking into their portfolio offerings by 2020. Large deals like this from Colony seem to indicate that the wave of corporates using coworking spaces has hit Malaysian shores.

SIA to launch world’s longest commercial flights on 11 October
Singapore Airlines (SIA) will launch the world’s longest commercial flights in October between Singapore and the New York area. SIA said in a news release that the 161-seat flights to Newark Liberty International Airport on the new Airbus A350-900ULR will cover about 15,329km, and travelling time will be up to 18 hours and 45 minutes. These will eclipse the 14,525km Qatar Airways flights from Doha to Auckland as the world’s longest, according to airline data provider OAG. For a start, the Singapore-Newark flight will operate three times a week from Changi Airport on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Daily operations will start from 18 October when an additional aircraft comes into service. “We are pleased to be leading the way with these new non-stop flights using the latest-technology, ultralong-range Airbus A350-900ULR,” said SIA CEO Goh Choon Phong.

Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said global air freight demand in April 2018, measured in freight tonne kilometres, was up 4.1 per cent. It said data showed a 1.8 per cent growth in annual demand recorded in March 2018. “April saw a strengthening from the abrupt slowdown in growth experienced in March. This is good news.” “We remain cautiously optimistic that demand will grow around 4.0 per cent this year. But the forecast appears to have increasing downside potential,” said IATA Director General and Chief Executive Officer Alexandre de Juniac in a statement today. He said risks to freight demand included the ongoing rise in oil prices and global trade protectionist rhetoric. “Borders open to people and to trade drive economic growth and social prosperity. We are all disadvantaged when they are closed,” he said. IATA said freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres, grew by 5.1 per cent year-on-year in April 2018, and this was the second time in 21 months that capacity growth outstripped demand growth. As for regional performance, IATA said all regions reported growth on 2017 levels, albeit at different levels of expansion. “Asia Pacific airlines saw freight demand recover in April 2018 to grow 3.9 per cent compared with the same period last year, while capacity increased by 6.7 per cent and seasonally-adjusted volumes were broadly trending sideways.”

Enterprise Singapore partners TiE to provide Singapore startups with access to India
Singapore startups can now gain faster entry to India’s vibrant startup ecosystem to form partnerships and co-innovate with Indian startups. This comes after Enterprise Singapore (ESG) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), one of the largest global entrepreneurship organisations. The MOU was signed ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Singapore. The MOU with TiE kickstarts the “Singapore – India Incubation Programme” by Startup SG1, led by Enterprise Singapore, with the support of Trade Associations and Chambers and startup partners. The Programme, which is currently supported by eight partners, aims to foster collaboration between Singapore and Indian startups through jointly-organised networking events, workshops and sessions with in-market mentors. As a start, TiE will be running a startup mission in July with 10 Singapore startups to meet with Indian startups, corporates, mentors and investors to partner and co-innovate solutions in fintech, e-services and deeptech. With a network of 11,000 members globally, India currently constitutes one third of TiE’s global membership.

High-level U.S.-North Korea nuclear talks get underway in New York
High-ranking officials of the United States and North Korea have met in New York in talks on the future of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program and a possible summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol, a close aide of North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, met for about 90 minutes over dinner and exited without providing any detailed remarks to reporters. It was not yet known whether the two men made any progress toward narrowing long-standing differences between Washington and Pyongyang that could end decades of hostile relations. Earlier in the day, the White House left open the possibility of a Trump-Kim summit on June 12 in Singapore.

Hong Bao Media Savvy Awards 2018 launches in Malaysia
Hong Bao Media, the homegrown provider of a new generation of communications services for a new era of communications, today officially launched the Hong Bao Media Savvy Awards 2018, to recognise local Senior Business Leaders for their media skills, and to showcase skilled and credible home-grown communicators. Each week until July 31, 2018, HBM will shortlist a local corporate figure who has demonstrated excellence in a media appearance. There are four categories: Best Broadcast Interview – this includes radio and television, Best Online Interview – for media interviews that only appear online, Best Conference Presentation and Best Live Webcast.