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Malaysia Briefings: Western Digital pledges MYR 2.3 billion investments in Malaysia

05 Nov 2020

Global data storage equipment manufacturer Western Digital’s (NASDAQ:WDC) Malaysian subsidiary Western Digital Sdn Bhd, has decided to invest an additional MYR 2.3 billion to upgrade its facilities and expand production capacity in Malaysia. In a statement, the PMO said this was agreed upon during a meeting between Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Western Digital group chairman Datuk Dr Syed Hussian Aljunid today.

The new investment will be channeled towards the expansion of facilities and factory capacity at Western Digital Media Penang, and Western Digital Sarawak. The additional investment brings Western Digital’s cumulative investment in Malaysia to MYR 18 billion, and would create job opportunities for more than 2,000 people according to the Prime Minister’s Offce (PMO). Western Digital noted that the group’s export value amounted to MYR 18 billion in 2019. 

Nikon Malaysia will cease operations starting January 1, 2021

05 Nov 2020

Nikon (M) Sdn Bhd, the Malaysian subsidiary of Japanese optical products brand Nikon (TYO: 7731), will be shutting down operations in Malaysia starting January 1, 2021, under a proposed restructuring plan that will see the company’s sales, marketing, and after-sales services being handled by two business partners on behalf of Nikon in Malaysia. Nikon has appointed Futuromic Photo AV Sdn Bhd to be their authorized distributor in Malaysia. QES (Asia-Pacific) Sdn Bhd will continue to be the authorized distributor for Nikon’s industrial metrology products in Malaysia. 

Fintech startup CapBay teams up with Kenanga to form Malaysia’s first Islamic supply chain finance fintech

04 Nov 2020

Malaysian fintech startup CapBay has entered into a joint venture with Malaysian Investment Bank Kenanga Investment Bank Berhad (KLSE:KENANGA), to form Malaysia’s first Islamic supply chain finance fintech. The JV comes after CapBay acquired 49% stake in Kenanga Capital Islamic Sdn Bhd (KCI). Following the acquisition, CapBay co-founder Xing Xian Ang will serve as KCI’s CEO. 

Malaysian cinemas temporarily suspend operations starting November

30 Oct 2020

Heavily impacted by the Covid pandemic, cinema operators in Malaysia, or the Malaysian Association of Film Exhibitors (MAFE), have decided to temporarily suspend all cinema operations nationwide starting in November. GSC Cinemas and TGV Cinemas will cease operations from November 2 onward, while other cinemas will suspend movie screenings and/or concessions operations at their locations.

The Covid pandemic which saw Malaysia impose a Movement Control Order (MCO) from March 2020, required cinemas to close, causing heavy revenue losses for the sector with admissions dropping 90% year-on-year according to MAFE. 

Malaysian car listing network iCar Asia gets takeover offer from China’s Autohome

30 Oct 2020

Malaysia-headquartered car listing platform iCar Asia (ASX:ICQ) has received a non-binding proposal from Chinese automotive platform Autohome (NYSE:ATHM) to acquire 100% of iCar Asia’s shares for AUD 0.50 cash per share, in a deal that could be worth approximately AUD 216 million based on iCar Asia’s outstanding shares.  

Department store chain Robinsons ceases Malaysia operations

30 Oct 2020

162-year old Singaporean department store retailer Robinson Co (Malaya) Sdn Bhd is shutting down for good, as the Covid pandemic dealt a double whammy amid the ongoing struggles faced by department store operators worldwide to adapt to changing consumer behaviors as a result of rising e-commerce. Robinsons has had operations in Malaysia since 1928, and currently has two stores – an outlet at The Gardens Mall which has been in operation for more than 13 years, and an outlet at The Shoppes Four Seasons Place which opened its doors just two years ago.   

Robinsons will also be shutting down its Singapore operations after more than 160 years of operations in the country, with the closure of its last two stores  -one located at The Heeren, and the other at Raffles City Shopping Centre.

Catcha Group CEO launches new online home rental platform in Malaysia

28 Oct 2020

Tech company Catcha Group CEO Patrick Grove has launched an online home rental platform – Instahome – targeted at Southeast Asia. 

Telco Maxis Berhad Q3 net profit up 1.95% YoY

23 Oct 2020

Malaysian telecom company Maxis Berhad (KLSE:MAXIS) saw net profits inch up 1.95% year-on-year (YoY) in Q3 2020 to MYR 365 million from MYR 358 million in Q3 2019. This is despite a 3.2% YoY fall in revenues from MYR 2.21 billion from MYR 2.28 billion previously. Service revenue was unchanged from the MYR 1.94 billion reported in Q3 2019 with the loss of the wholesale business and international roaming due to the Covid pandemic, offset by the growth in enterprise and fibre businesses. Service revenue excluding wholesale revenue amounted to MYR 1.93 billion,  a 0.52% YoY increase compared to Q3 2019’s MYR 1.92 billion.

Postpaid service revenue decreased to MYR 956 million from MYR 979 million in Q3 2019, a 2.3% YoY decline.  Average revenue per user (APRU) decreased to MYR 84 in Q3 2020 from MYR 90 in Q3 2019, a 6.6% YoY decline largely due to the mobile termination rate reduction, dilution effect from Hotlink Postpaid and the lack of international roaming income.

Prepaid service revenue declined 9.7% YoY to MYR 717 million from MYR 794 million driven by the 6,6% YoY fall in Maxis’s prepaid subscription base to 5.91 million from 6.33 million due to the continued SIM consolidation, successful migration to the Hotlink entry point postpaid service and lower foreign worker base. Prepaid ARPU fell 2.43% to MYR 40 from MYR 41. 

Normalized earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization dropped 4.14% YoY to MYR 924 million versus MYR 964 million in Q3 2019, however, normalized profit was up 0.83% at MYR 364 million from MYR 361 million.

Capital expenditure for the quarter rose 31.81% YoY to MYR 319 million from MYR 242 million in Q3 2019. Investments were focused on protecting network performance and rebalancing capacity, 5G readiness and enterprise business.

UOB Malaysia launches AI-based digital banking service

22 Oct 2020

Singaporean bank United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd has launched Mighty Insights, believed to be Malaysia’s first artificial intelligence-powered digital banking service. The service aims to simplify and enhance customers’ ability to manage and  track their savings and expenses through personalized insights based on their banking and spending patterns.

Malaysia unemployment rate unchanged at 4.7% in August 2020

13 Oct 2020

Malaysia’s Department of Statistics said that the country’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.7% in August 2020. The number of unemployed persons however, dipped slightly by 3,500 people to 741,600 during August compared to July as employment continued to trend upwards driven by the gradual resumption of economic activities starting in June 2020 when the country shifted from a Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) to a Recovery movement Control Order (RMCO). The RMCO was extended by a further four months until to 31 December 2020. 

Under Armour launches official flagship store on Lazada Malaysia

30 Sep 2020

Sportswear brand Under Armour has partnered eCommerce platform Lazada Malaysia to launch its official flagship store online. Already maintaining an independent e-commerce store, the partnership will further expand Under Armour Malaysia’s online sales channels.  

Malaysia August trade surplus up 19.7% YoY

30 Sep 2020

Malaysia exports fell 2.9% year-on-year  YoY to MYR 79.14 billion in August after advancing 8.8% YoY and 3.1% YoY in June and July respectively. Imports contracted for a sixth consecutive month as it continued to be weighed down by weak domestic demand. These led to a 19.7% YoY growth in trade surplus to MYR 13.23 billion. 

Malaysia budget airline AirAsia’s fintech venture BigPay expands into Singapore

28 Sep 2020

Malaysia’s AirAsia’s fintech venture, BigPay, is expanding into Singapore. BigPay also plans to launch new business lines such as loans, insurance and wealth management in the coming months, as well as expand to other South East Asian markets in early 2021.

Cainiao partners with BEST Inc., to launch end-to-end logistics service between Malaysia and China

23 Sep 2020

Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, the logistics arm of Alibaba Group Holding Limited, has announced a partnership with BEST Inc., an integrated smart supply chain solutions and logistics services provider from China, to launch an end-to-end logistics service between Malaysia and China to shorten delivery time for cross-border e-commerce parcels and improve overall customer experience. Cross-border sea freight shipping duration will be reduced to as fast as six days after departing China, and thereafter customers can receive their parcels as soon as the next day upon clearing customs in Malaysia.
The cross-border logistics service will span first and last mile, sea freight forwarding, overseas warehousing and customs clearance, which means that e-Commerce parcels will be picked up from
China for international shipping to Malaysia where they will be delivered directly to customers.

Malaysian drone-based solutions provider Aerodyne expands into the Middle East

22 Sep 2020

Malaysian drone-based enterprise solutions provider Aerodyne Group has forged a partnership with Al-Babtain LeBlanc, the Middle East’s leading infrastructure provider and system integrator, to accelerate the adoption of drone-based solutions in the region.

Malaysia domestic tourism grows 12% in 2019

18 Sep 2020

Malaysia’s domestic tourism continued to record better performance last year, recording a double-digit growth of 12 per cent to MYR 92.6 billion, the Tourism Satellite Account 2019 reported.

Malaysia used car trading platform Carsome MY partners with Shopee Malaysia to sell cars online

18 Sep 2020

Used car trading platform Carsome MY has entered the eCommerce space through its partnership with Shopee in Malaysia. Consumers are now able to purchase an exclusive premium selection of used cars on the Carsome official store on Shopee.

Malaysian employees’ average monthly salaries and wages rose 4.4% in 2019

17 Sep 2020

The average monthly salary and wage received by employees in Malaysia increased by 4.4% from RM3,087 in 2018 to RM3,224 in 2019 according to data from the 2019 Salaries and Wages Survey Report published by the Statistics Department Malaysia.

Malaysian-owned halal marketplace platform Halal Street UK launches HalalExtra.com

17 Sep 2020

Malaysian-owned halal products marketplace Halal Street UK launched its e-commerce platform, HalalExtra.com, to enable Malaysian halal products to be sold in the United Kingdom (UK) and Europe.

Malaysia digital remittance service provider Valyou launches blockchain-based remittance services in Bangladesh

11 Sep 2020

Valyou, a Malaysian digital remittance provider, announced the launch of blockchain-based remittance services in Bangladesh in partnership with Standard Chartered and bKash, a mobile financial service provider, to facilitate instant transfers from Malaysia. The service is powered by blockchain technology from Ant Group.

Malaysia July manufacturing sales up 1.9% YoY, 2.1% MoM

11 Sep 2020

Malaysia’s manufacturing sales rise 1.9% year on year (YoY), 2.1% month on month (MoM), to MYR 119.3 billion in July 2020. The year on year growth in sales value in July 2020 was driven by the increase in the sales of food, beverage and tobacco products (24.9%), transport equipment and other manufactures products (14.3%) and electrical and electronics products (8.4%). Meanwhile, the sub-sectors that supported the month-on-month growth were transport equipment and other manufactures products (11.8%), non-metallic mineral products, basic metal and fabricated metal products (8.0%), and electrical and electronics products (3.9%).

Malaysia records highest percentage of digital consumers in Southeast Asia – study

11 Sep 2020

Malaysia recorded the highest percentage of digital consumers in Southeast Asia with 83% of its population (aged 15 years and above) according to a study titled “Digital Consumers of Tomorrow, Here Today” conducted by Facebook and Bain & Company.

Shopee e-tailers see more than MYR 200 million sales from Malaysia’s National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) vouchers

03 Sep 2020

Vouchers provided under the National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) generated more than MYR 200 million in sales by local retailers on e-commerce platform Shopee, as at August 31.

Malaysia’s Telekom Malaysia Q2 2020 net profit jumps 140.63% YoY

27 Aug 2020

Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) reported today that second quarter 2020 net profit jumped 140.63% to MYR 274.75 million from MYR 114.18 million a year earlier on lower operating and net finance costs. Revenue however, fell to MYR 2.59 billion in the second quarter ended June 30, 2020, from MYR 2.77 billion a year earlier. The drop was attributed to price adjustments to TM’s Internet service Streamyx, as well as restricted economic activities during Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO).

Budget carrier AirAsia’s e-commerce platform sees 118% YoY revenue growth in Q1 2020

21 Aug 2020

AirAsia Group Bhd revenues from its e-commerce platform AirAsia.com rose 118% YoY in Q1 2020.

Malaysia’s mean monthly household expenditure rose 3.9% pa in 2019

10 Jul 2020

In 2019, the mean monthly household consumption expenditure rose 3.9% per annum in tandem with mean monthly household income which rose 4.2% for the period 2016-2019. By value, mean monthly household expenditure rose from MYR 4,033 in 2016 to MYR 4,534 in 2019.

By state, in 2019, the highest mean monthly household consumption expenditure was recorded in W.P. Putrajaya (MYR 7,980). Five other states recorded household consumption expenditure exceeding the national mean (MYR 4,534) which were W.P. Kuala Lumpur (MYR 6,913), Selangor (MYR 5,830), Melaka (MYR 4,955), Johor (MYR 4,793), and Penang (MYR 4,630).

Sunway Group forays into agricultural technology (agritech)

5 Jun 2020

Sunway Group is venturing into agricultural technology (agritech) to help reduce Malaysia’s food import bill and encourage and reduce the carbon footprint on the food consumed in the country. It is building a 50,000 sq ft urban farming innovation hub, Sunway FutureX, to help urban farming professionals, tech companies, researchers and young talents collaborate and create solutions for food and agritech. The hub should be completed by the third quarter of this year. Sunway FutureX, an initiative led by Sunway Innovation Labs (Sunway iLabs), will be located in the heart of Sunway City Kuala Lumpur and it will feature FutureX Farm, an indoor and outdoor smart farming area, FutureX Talent, a research and development centre, and FutureX Campus, a training and collaborative space.

Malaysia’s internet penetration rises to 90.1% in 2019

10 Apr 2020

Malaysian households’ access to the internet rose by 3.1 percentage points to 90.1% in 2019 as compared to 87% in 2018 according to Department of Statistics. Five most popular activities among the Internet users were anticipating social network (97.1%), downloading pictures, movies, videos or music; playing or downloading games (84.7%), finding information on goods or services (83.5%), telephoning over the Internet/ VoIP (77.4%) and downloading software or applications (77.1%). Analysis of Internet users by age group showed that individuals in the age group 20 to 24 were more likely to use the Internet to find a job or submit a job application (49.5%) and watching television online (56.3%). Individuals aged 25 to 29 preferred the activity of Internet banking (61.5%) and ordering goods and services through e-commerce (45.1%). Individuals aged between 35 and 39 were more active on using the Internet to use services related to travel or travel-related accommodation (32.6%). As for individuals aged 45 to 49, they favoured posting opinions or voting on civic or political issues on the Internet (21.1%).

Malaysia airport operator MAHB reports 26.2% YoY net profit decline for 2019

02 Mar 2020

Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) net profit declines 26.2% YoY to MYR 537.04 million in the year ended Dec 2019 from MYR 727.3 million a year earlier.