More French SMEs to set up R&D bases in M’sia

LUMPUR: A rising number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in
France are eyeing Malaysia as the destination to set up their regional
base and research and development (R&D) centres, according to a
senior economic official from the French embassy here.

Many SMEs
from various sectors in France were shifting to Malaysia after learning
that the China market is saturated, said Jean-Francois Bijon, the
economic and commercial counsellor of the French Embassy.

observed that there was an increasing number of SMEs setting up their
businesses including manufacturing plants here early last year,” he
said at the Malaysian French Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MFCCI)
luncheon yesterday.

“We’ve witnessed a slowdown in French
investments in this country in October due to the global financial
crisis but they are starting to come back, this time to set up their
regional base,” he added.

Nasarudin (far left) receiving the appointment letter from MFCCI
president Peer De Jong. Also present are (from left) First Counselor of
the French Embassy Charles Henri Brosseau and Deputy Minister of
International Trade & Industry Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir.

Currently, SMEs make up 70% of over 250 French companies operating in Malaysia.

SMEs who previously set up their regional base in Singapore and China
were now considering Malaysia as an alternative, Bijon said.

The total bilateral trade between France and Malaysia stood at 3.4 billion euros last year.

Total exports from Malaysia to France was 1.8 billion euros while imports to Malaysia from France was 1.6 billion euros.

about one third of the bilateral trade between France and Malaysia was
in the electrical and electronics sectors, the economic slowdown had
resulted in a sharp decline of about 30% in bilateral trade up to May
this year.

“We hope to attract more Malaysian companies to
invest in France especially in the sectors of agrofood, furniture,
information technology and Islamic finance,” Bijon said.

present at the event was Deputy International Trade and Industry
Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, who said Malaysian companies were
well-positioned to explore the sizeable halal market in France
considering about 10% of its population was Muslim.

The size of the global halal market was worth some RM7.6 trillion annually, with at least 20% growth each year.

Meanwhile, MFCCI has appointed Naza group of companies executive chairman and chief executive officer SM Nasarudin SM Nasimuddin chairman.

was established in 1991 to promote the development of business
relations between Malaysian and French companies and to assist its
members in liaising with the authorities of both countries to enhance
bilateral business.

To date, the total accumulated assets of French companies in Malaysia stood at US$10bil.