The recently concluded Trade and Investment Mission (TIM) to the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan from 31 March – 6 April 2021 led by YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Senior Minister, Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI), has successfully secured RM8.9 billion in committed investment for 2021.
SK Nexilis Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of SK Group from ROK, recently had announced its RM2.3 billion worth of investment into Malaysia to establish a thin copper foil manufacturing plant in Sabah. However, the expected investment has been revised to RM4.24 billion. The project is in line with the Government’s intention to develop a complete ecosystem of high-tech industries, especially in the automotive and telecommunication sectors. The manufacturing plant in Kota Kinabalu will be powered utilising 100 per cent renewable energy, where such operation will be the first for SK Nexilis outside ROK. Malaysia will be a major hub for a state-of-the-art for thin copper foil production with in-house technology, besides boosting Malaysia’s talent network and capabilities with the company’s presence. SK Nexilis is a global leader in thin-tech innovation for copper foil manufacturing controlling 16 per cent of the world market share for electric vehicle (EV) battery.
LG Chem Ltd., the largest Korean chemical company, recognised for the prestige and accomplishment as a Global Top 10 chemical company, has indicated its interest in developing the petrochemical cluster in Malaysia. LG Chem Ltd., an affiliate of LG Group (the 4th largest group in Korea) ranking 490th in the Fortune 500 in 2019, is the first ROK company to partner with Petronas, which will be LG Chem Ltd., first foreign platform outside Northeast Asia. LG Chem Ltd. has a globally competitive business portfolio, including Petrochemicals, Energy Solutions, Advanced Materials, and Life Sciences. The company will set up a joint venture with Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd. to produce Nitrile-butadiene rubber (NBR) Latex in Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex (PIPC) with a potential investment of RM600 million, where the operation is expected to commence in March 2023. The establishment of LG Chem Ltd. in Malaysia will complement the development of the petrochemical cluster in Pengerang, Johor and increase utilisation of feedstock from PETRONAS.
In addition, SPC Group, a large conglomerate producing food and confectionery products in ROK and also one of the oldest brands in the confectionery and bakery industry in ROK, with market-leading franchise brands such as Paris Baguette (Bakery), Shake and Shack (Bakery) and Baskin Robbins Korea (Donuts and Ice-cream) is planning to make Malaysia as a regional distribution hub for their halal dough with investment value estimated at RM91.2 million to cater the ASEAN market. The company also ready to work with Malaysian companies to bring the Paris Baguette franchise brand into the local market. Today, SPC Group is a leading company in the food industry in Korea with their advanced Research and Development (R&D) Centre, with 6,000 locations globally and plans to increase the number of the group’s outlets worldwide to 20,000 by 2030.
Another notable project from ROK is the manufacturing of Next Generation electric foil (Elecfoil) by ILJIN Materials. Elecfoil is a thin copper foil with a thickness of less than 10 micrometers for secondary batteries and printed circuit board (PCB). In 2018, the company has established its first overseas factory in Samajaya Free Industrial Zone, Kuching, Sarawak to manufacture its elecfoil. ILJIN will be undertaking an expansion project, to manufacture its next generation of elecfoil with additional investment of RM2.2 billion. The expansion project will be executed on 16 hectares of land adjacent to the existing project which is expected to materialise in 2025, where ILJIN will produce 40,000 tonnes of elecfoil annually. It is to be noted that 500 tonnes of elecfoil can produce 15,000 Electric Vehicle (EV) providing a great opportunity for ILJIN to capitalise the European market as the biggest market for EV in the world and utilising their operations powered by local talents in Malaysia, to significantly increase their production of the next generation of elecfoil for EV.
From Japan, Nippon Electric Glass Co., Ltd. (NEG), one of the world’s leading manufacturers of specialty glass, will invest at least RM1 billion for the new production of e-glass fibre. NEG is the leading glass manufacture for flat panel displays, controlling 20 per cent of the market share in the world’s production of glass for liquid crystal displays (LCD). The new E-Glass Fibre will be used to produce automotive parts and components in the production of wind turbine blades for wind power generation. The new project is set to begin operations in 2022, using improved manufacturing process by capitalising on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other futuristic technologies.
Moving forward, Mr. Arham Abdul Rahman, CEO of MIDA, said “ROK and Japan will continue to be major investor countries in Malaysia. MIDA will continue to welcome high-quality foreign direct investments from around the world, including ROK and Japan. These investments assume an important role in the development of Malaysia due to their multiplier impact on the economy and will continue to do so in the post-pandemic era. Through policy reviews and targeted approaches, the Government will ensure that Malaysia remains the preferred investment location with a favourable environment for quality investments in Asia.”