News Scan: 5 April 2018

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Malaysia's Trade Minister Mustapa Mohamed speaks during an interview with Reuters during the APEC trade ministers meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam May 19, 2017. REUTERS/Kham
  1. Malaysia’s trade with US expected to remain positive
  2. US E&E companies have invested RM42 bln to date in Malaysia
  3. Securities Commission appoints Datuk Zainal Izlan Zainal Abidin as Deputy CEO
  4. Malaysia in the lead as a robust Islamic Economy
  5. 20 Bionexus firms to promote products at MIHAS 2018
  6. PropertyGuru Unveils Brand Refresh: Inviting All To ‘Look Forward To Home’
  7. China soon be world’s top film market
Malaysia’s Trade Minister Mustapa Mohamed speaks during an interview with Reuters during the APEC trade ministers meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam May 19, 2017. REUTERS/Kham

Malaysia’s trade with US expected to remain positive
Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said Malaysia’s trade with the United States is expected to remain positive this year, though growth may not be as robust as in 2017. According to the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation, the country’s trade with the US grew by 16.3 per cent last year to reach RM22.12 billion. “Electrical and electronics is the biggest component of trade with the US,” Datuk Seri Mustapa said. He added that Malaysia would continue to pursue bilateral ties with the US through the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

In a related development, the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM Malaysia) said about 24 electrical and electronics (E&E) companies from the United States have to date invested RM42 billion in Malaysia. According to AMCHAM’s 2018 Survey of American Investment in E&E Sector, the investments encompass foreign direct investments, job creation, knowledge transfer and support for local small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Executive Director, Siobhan M Das said after many decades, the E&E sector remains a core focus of US investments in Malaysia. “Investments in this sector are not only strong and ongoing, but are also of high-value with important economic benefits for the country, beyond the immediate foreign direct investments and job creation,” she told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. Meanwhile, the Chairman of AMCHAM’s Malaysian American Electronics Industry (MAEI), Datuk Wong Siew Hai said US companies in the sector are well integrated into the local economy in sourcing RM12 billion worth of goods and services locally in 2017 alone.

Securities Commission appoints Datuk Zainal Izlan Zainal Abidin as Deputy Chief Executive
The Securities Commission has appointed Datuk Zainal Izlan Zainal Abidin as its new
Deputy Chief Executive. Datuk Zainal Izlan joined the SC in 2011 as Executive Director, Islamic Capital Market and was appointed Managing Director, Development and Islamic Markets in November 2016. He is also Chairman of Capital Markets Malaysia, an entity established by the SC to promote the Malaysian capital market. Datuk Zainal Izlan, 50, holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics (dual concentration in Accounting & Finance) from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder. He has over 25 years experience in the financial services industry.

Malaysia in the lead as a robust Islamic Economy
Malaysia reaffirmed its position as the leading global Halal hub with an annual export value of RM43 billion for Halal products as of December 2017, and attracted investments worth RM13.3 billion in HALMAS Halal Parks. To date, a total of 28,000 jobs were created. These contributed approximately 7.5% to Malaysia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for last year. Speaking at the opening of the World Halal Week 2018 Deputy Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said “Malaysia once again leads the Global Islamic Economy Indicator (GIEI) for the fifth year in a row. This impressive lead reflects a robust Islamic Economy ecosystem, with Malaysia enjoying a substantial lead in Islamic Finance and Halal Food.” The 10th WHC 2018 will focus on five panel discussions namely on Game Changer: Economy Revolution; Emerging Trends of Global Economy & Implications to Malaysia’s Halal Industry; the Internationalisation of Islamic Economy: Global Integration & Strategic Collaboration; Halal & Science; and Managing the Brand.

Meanwhile, MyPITCH@MIHAS 2018, which is held for the first time at the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS), will see 20 BioNexus-status company pitch their products to access wider market. Bioeconomy Development Corp’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Mohd Shuhaizam Mohd Zain, said the event will see 20 bio-based firms pitch over 30 of their halal-certified products – cosmetics and personal care, agro-based and food, as well as nutrition and wellness – to over 40 local and international buyers. The buyers included those from Singapore, China, South Africa, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Russia, Italy and New Zealand, he said.

PropertyGuru Unveils Brand Refresh: Inviting All To ‘Look Forward To Home’
PropertyGuru Group, Asia’s leading online property group, has unveiled a brand refresh, with an invitation to property seekers to ‘Look Forward To Home’. This refresh builds on PropertyGuru’s 10-year industry experience and technology heritage, and marks a new phase in the company’s transformation journey from a regional property media powerhouse to a high-growth technology company. It includes revamped websites and mobile apps and a new brand identity. An industry first, the new websites and mobile apps, leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) to make every property search a highly personalised and intuitive experience. The Pricing Insight Intelligence widget, in collaboration with Property Advisor, a product of MyPropertyData, brings insight into past transactions records as the system auto-analyses big data on local market trends and helps consumers make more informed buying, renting and investing decisions; and the Location widget further brings consumers down to ground by showing optimised routes via different transportation means to selected destinations.

China will soon be world’s top film market
Hollywood says China will soon be the world’s top film market, as ticket sales overtake US-Canada in 2018. Global cinema box office sales reached a record high of US$40.6 billion in 2017 despite a downturn in audiences in the US and Canada, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) said in its latest annual report. Attendance at US and Canadian cinemas fell to a 22-year low. The growth was largely propelled by China, which accounted for US$7.9 billion in ticket sales in 2017. That fuelled a 7 per cent increase in overseas box office takings for US films. US and Canada ticket sales by comparison totalled US$11.1 billion, down 2 per cent. If not for a 4 per cent increase in the average ticket price to US$8.97, the drop would have been worse. “The Chinese film market is going to be the largest film market in short order,” said Charles Rivkin, a former US assistant secretary of state who in January took over from Christopher Dodd as MPAA chairman. “They’re building about 25 screens a day.”

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