SHENZHEN, China (Nov 6): Sabah offers vast investment and business opportunities for investors from China to thrive and succeed, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor.
Heading his maiden trade mission abroad to promote business and investment opportunities in Sabah, Hajiji said Sabah offers a conducive environment for investment.
“Sabah’s strategic location and commitment to fostering economic growth have paved the way for remarkable investment prospects, mainly through our well-established industrial parks: the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP), the Sipitang Oil and Gas Industrial Park (SOGIP), POIC Lahad Datu and POIC Sandakan.
“These industrial zones, coupled with Sabah’s natural advantages, created a multitude of investment opportunities. In 2022 alone, we’ve seen investments of USD 2.5 billion across 89 projects, promising to generate thousands of job opportunities,” he said.
Speaking at the “Business and Investment Opportunities in Sabah” Global Chinese Economic and Technology Summit (GCET) at the Futian Shangri-La here on Monday night, he said: “I invite all of you to visit Sabah and explore these investment and business opportunities for yourselves. I remain convinced that Sabah is an investment destination with significant untapped potential. Sabah is open for business.”
China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner since 2009, and in 2022, the trade value between Malaysia and China was about 17.1 per cent of Malaysia’s total global trade worth USD584 billion (RM2.8 trillion), while Sabah’s total trade with China from January to September 2023 was recorded at USD1.83 billion (RM8.29 billion), he said.
He said the State Government had taken proactive steps to ensure investing in Sabah was as seamless as possible by forming a dedicated task force.
“This task force is designed to provide comprehensive support, guidance and a conducive environment for investors like yourselves to thrive and succeed,” he said.
Among the exciting investment prospects that Chinese investors could look into, he said, are the energy sectors, low energy intensity industry, green technology-based products, biomass downstream products, food processing, medical devices, oil and gas and tourism.
Hajiji said Sabah also envisioned to harness the power of the digital revolution.
“We have been deeply inspired by China’s rapid advancements in technology and innovation. Borrowing from this, we’ve established the Sabah Creative Economy and Innovation Centre (SCENIC). SCENIC represents our commitment to integrating technology, creativity and innovation to drive economic growth.
“Under the Sabah Maju Jaya initiative, we have rolled out the Digital Internet of Things (IoT) Sandbox, launched in December 2022 as part of the Sabah Maju Jaya Plan. It is simply a safe environment for digital entrepreneurs and innovators to create their products and test their feasibility.
“We see the transformative power of digital technology in sectors like agriculture, mining and tourism and seek to emulate China’s accomplishments in IoT. By 2025, this initiative is expected to contribute USD 2.1 billion to our economy and create about 18,000 jobs.
“A noteworthy addition to our digital initiatives is BizSabah. Designed to enhance connectivity and ease of business, BizSabah embodies Sabah’s accessibility principles. Whether navigating governmental procedures or finding local partners, BizSabah is a comprehensive platform.
“Its unique Business Exchange system aims to foster B2B connections, reflecting the dynamism and efficiency of China’s thriving business ecosystems,” he said.
He said Sabah is the core of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area or BIMP-EAGA due to its strategic location in South East Asia and through this regional cooperation, Sabah has consistently championed deeper economic integration.
“I envision Sabah evolving into a regional nexus for manufacturing, maritime and transportation, catering to both emerging and established nations, especially China,” he said.
Also present were State Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship Minister Datuk Phoong Jin Zhe, Chairman of Invest Sabah, Tan Sri Anifah Aman, State Secretary Datuk Seri Panglima Sr Safar Untong and Chairman of the Sabah Economic Advisory Council, Tan Sri David Chu.
GCET, formally known as the World Chinese Economic Summit, was formed with the objectives of promoting high-level exchanges between government, business and Think Tank Leaders; developing business interaction and networking among entrepreneurs and the global Chinese Diaspora, encouraging learning between the East and West and strengthening partnerships between China and ASEAN, among others.