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Strike Up Partnerships, Chinese & M'sian Auto Part Makers Told
Mikhail Raj Abdullah

GUANGZHOU (China), May 30 (Bernama) -- Malaysian auto part makers must
tune up their survival instincts via partnerships with firms from
Guangzhou and exploit opportunities arising from the port city's position
as the second largest passenger car manufacturer in China after Shanghai.

With top carmakers such as Toyota, Honda and Nissan having their
manufacturing bases in what was formerly known as Canton, International
Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz made a strong case for
firms in Guangzhou to form strategic partnerships with Malaysian firms,
especially with those making electrical auto parts.

Her selling point was Malaysia's strong foundation in the electronics
industry and electronic manufacturing services which offered a conducive
environment for the production of electronic automotive components.

Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province, is the economic centre for
southern China.

By joining hands, Guangzhou and Malaysia could cater for the fast-growing
regional and global markets, Rafidah said when addressing almost 1,000
participants at a seminar on Malaysia-China business opportunities at the
sprawling Shangri-La Hotel here which opened three months ago.

She said Guangzhou could also use Malaysia as a gateway to the Asean
market of 500 million people.

The minister also announced that the Malaysian Investment Development
Authority (MIDA) will open an office in Guangzhou before the end of this

Also present at the seminar were Guangdong Province's Foreign Trade and
Economic Cooperation Department director-general Ling Yao Wen, Guangdong's
Executive Vice Governor Tan Bing Quan, Malaysian Ambassador to China Datuk
Syed Norulzaman Syed Kamarulzaman, MIDA director-general Datuk R.
Karunakaran and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade)
chief executive officer Datuk Noharuddin Nordin.

Rafidah said Malaysia's push in the auto industry resulted in the
establishment of 590 automotive component manufacturers, but rising
competition pushed them to look for opportunities abroad, such as in
Guangzhou where the automotive sector is considered a pillar industry for
the province's economic development.

Rather than lamenting about the shrinking domestic market, she called on
them to exploit the links and network between Guangzhou and the rest of
China, Hong Kong, Macau and neighbouring countries in Asia.

Considered the starting point for the Sea Silk Road, Guangzhou is in
Guangdong, one of the most densely populated provinces with over 90
million people in fast-growing China.

Rafidah, who is here on the last leg of a trade and investment mission to
China with earlier stops in Shanghai and Beijing, said the mission wanted
to take advantage of the pivotal role of the city in the economic
development of China's eastern coastal region.

She said joint venture opportunities also abound in mobile and wireless
communications, business software application development, Internet-based
business applications, digital content development, shared services and
outsourcing, and bioinformatics.

The minister said Malaysia was also the recipient of growing investments
from China, whereby to date, Chinese firms have invested US$952.6 million.

They have ploughed money in sectors such as paper, printing and
publishing, basic metal products, electrical and electronics, wood and
wood products, and transport equipment, with MIDA leading the way in
facilitating investments.

Rafidah also called on Chinese companies, businesses, entrepreneurs and
industrialists to participate in International Trade Malaysia 2007 and the
Kuala Lumpur International Trade Forum from Nov 12 to 15 organised by
Matrade, the agency responsible for promoting manufactured goods and

Total trade between Malaysia and China over the past decade increased by
more than 10-fold from US$3.79 billion in 1996 to US$27.50 billion last
year, she said.

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