Malaysia Still A Magnet For China Firms

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 (Bernama) -- Malaysia remains an attractive location for foreign direct investment under the new government led by Pakatan Harapan.

Three China healthcare-pharma companies are keen to invest in research and development (R&D) facilities, and to manufacture in the country by 2020.

Surgimed Medical Supplies Co Ltd, from Zhejiang, China said together with other investors, it was ready to sink US$300 million in a local R&D and manufacturing facility for catheters (medical equipment) in the coming years. (US$1=RM3.95).

Its managing director, Carl Jia, said the company was seeking a local partner and suitable location for developing the new catheter based on a component combination of super absorbent polymers (SAP) and Malaysian rubber latex, a formulation that was identified by Surgimed's R&D facility in Shanghai.

He said the new range of catheters would use SAP mixed with 70 to 80 per cent latex, which while enabling cost reduction, would still function well in allergy mitigation for hospital patients.

"We are planning to take five to 10 per cent of the global market share for SAP-latex products,” he said.

"The new manufacturing facility is expected to earn up to US$800 million in annual revenue through demand from Surgimed's ready customers in the US and Europe," he told Bernama on the sidelines of the three-day ‘21st Southeast Asian Healthcare-Pharma and Clean Room Show” organised by ABC Exhibitions Worldwide Network (ABCEx), which ends Wednesday.

He said Malaysia was chosen for its abundant latex raw material being a rubber-producing country.

Integral Medical Products Co Ltd (IMP), a Sino-Australian joint venture in the manufacture of urology, anaesthesiology, gastroenterology and respiratory products based in Zhejiang, China, also wants to set up an R&D centre studying catheter production in the country.

Its foreign sales representative, Michelle Cai, said her company was targeting to set up an R&D facility this year at a location in the Klang Valley.

"Malaysia has better resources in terms of local talents and materials, as well as availability of advanced catheter products – better than in China," said Cai, adding that the company had selected a local partner and begun hiring for its R&D facility.

Cai said IMP hoped to study how it could have better control over the cost and quality of catheters produced in the country to help enhance its manufacturing facilities in China.

She said the enhanced product, a result of R&D in Malaysia, would be produced for the global market, especially the US market.

"We would then need help in getting the product approved and registered in Malaysia. That could be the hardest part," she said.

A third healthcare-pharma company, Taiji Group's Zhejiang Dongfang Pharmaceutical Co Ltd (ZDP), said it wanted to test and establish a traditional oral liquid medication in the local market before investing in manufacturing the product here.

ZDP's deputy general manager, Li Jiankang, said the product called Huo Xiang Zheng Qi Kou Fu Ye – a by-product of research and formulation by Taiji Group and Chengdu Chinese Medicine University – had already been registered in Malaysia and was in the process of getting a halal certification.

"This herbal product based on a millennial-old recipe, does not contain alcohol.

"From Malaysia, we would like to bring the product to Indonesia and Thailand," he said, explaining that the medication could help with fever and stomach discomfort.

ABCEx honorary advisor, Than Tai Hing said the exhibition had strong participation from local players, well-known pharma companies from the Baltics to Macau, as well as 50 exhibitors from China.

The European Union (EU)-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry also brought in EU pharma companies to showcase their products, technology and latest innovations in the ASEAN region healthcare at the event.

Than said the Malaysian government had identified the medical device industry as a dynamic growth sector that could re-energise the manufacturing sector. He urged foreign companies that are keen to establish R&D and manufacturing facilities in the country to contact the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) to learn about investment and tax incentives.

ABCEx informed that the next exhibition would be from May 15 to 17 next year.

-- BERNAMA