“Reduced lead time for starting business operations which is due to provision under the ETP of preferential treatment in the approval and licensing process, is a considerable benefit for us…Malaysia will contribute to future development of medical treatment and expansion of the medical equipment industry in Malaysia”
Yasuo Nobuta, Vice President , Toshiba Medical Systems
The firm pledged an investment, which will add 32.6 million Malaysian Ringgit (RM) to the country’s GNI by 2020. The young concept of community-based care and outpatient is one that Econ Medicare Hub is sure to exploit by building a retirement village-cum-nursing home facility in Cheras; a town in southwest Kuala Lumpur. This project will attract another 6.17m RM in GNI, by 2020. The concept offers great expansionary potential, promising some 4.3m RM more to Malaysia’s GNI. It is also a stimulating factor for the mobility of young adults as they pursue employment.
2020 and National Income are the common cries. With its Economic Transformation Programme (ETP); Malaysia planned to jump in the high-income game by its self-ruled target year, 2020. The World Bank currently lists Malaysia as an upper-mid-income country with a $4,126 to $12,735 income per capita. IMF analysts see the country as an emerging market with a $313bn GDP. These were not enough for the ambitious Prime Minister Najib Razak. Resourceful thanks to the Performance Management and Deliver Unit (PEMANDU), he had initiated the ETP on 25th September 2010, targeting all major growth drivers of an economy, namely savings/investment, demographic prospects, health, education, quality of institutions, policies, and trade openness.
Enforcement of mandatory standards is being carried out by the National Standards Compliance Programme (NSCP), since its launch in June 2014. Further standards are being set in the country’s cyber security to protect sensitive and valuable information, and services. The PEMANDU claims that 3,200 farms have, so far, been certified under Malaysian Good Agricultural Practices (MyGAP). Palm oil related entry point projects (EPPs), focusing on mechanising plantations, enforcing best practices to enhance yields, developing biogas facilities at palm mills, are being established.
Agriculture aside, there are 131 other EPPs identified, including megaprojects such has the high speed railway connecting Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. As part of the programme, the Malaysia Competition Commission was established in April 2011. Health, Travel, Technical Vocational Educational Training (TVET), private higher education and renewable energy are examples of the domestic sub-sectors that are being formally addressed to enhance competition.
Singapore and the other neighbour Hong Kong, bring about competition in the regional financial sector. Malaysia claimed that lack of economies of scale, poor liquidity, lack of diversity and low levels of financial knowledge were factors that proved its inability to keep up. To bulk-up, the country’s government is worked towards attracting and retaining talented professionals, reducing regulation, lowering taxes and making its business environment more attractive to international capital. As Toshiba Medical Systems, SteriPack pledged to bring its manufacturing base from USA to Klang, which caters for both medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturing.
By strengthening corporate governance and developing avenues for growth such as expanding the asset management business, Malaysia aimed to grow the contribution from its financial industry from RM 121bn to RM180bn by 2020; bringing the average compensation in the sector to $950 per month. After deep introspection, six policies supporting and maintaining such growths had been identified: Competition, Standards and Liberalisation (CSL),Public Finance Reform (PFR), Public Service Delivery (PSD), Narrowing Disparity (ND), reducing Government’s Role in Business (GRiB), and Human Capital Development (HCD). And they applied equally to all the growth sectors.
The plan was near perfection; build catalytic infrastructures, copy from the exemplary, stimulating the economy enough to turn the embryo into a living foetus. Bring targeted sectors to strength then let the great invisible hand trigger continual multiplier effects, taking the country to an income per capita of $ 15,000 and into the playground of grown-ups. Microcredit facilities were made available to encourage entrepreneurship. About 55% of Malaysians struck are no longer below poverty line. Even the country’s reliance on oil and gas has decreased. Of course, it is just near perfect; the “other” invisible hand is waiting for its push and we are only halfway. There will be enough windows of opportunity for self-dealings and nepotism to present themselves. Money that could shake this majestic transformation is at play.
Breakfast Briefing: Space Race, Google in China and Zuckerberg
Google to Open in Beijing
Alphabet announced that it will open an AI research facility in the Chinese capital yesterday.
Editor’s Remarks: Under CEO Sundar Pichai, Google has been recommitting itself to China after it had most of its services blocked in 2010 when it refused to censor search content. In recent months, the tech giant has been marketing its new TensorFlow AI tools to the Chinese market, which aligns with the state’s ambitions to become a world leader in AI by 2030. Google’s new facility will consist of a small number of AI researchers, supported by hundreds of Chinese engineers. Google expects to face stiff competition for talent given how local tech giants, Baidu and Tencent, are ramping up their own AI efforts.
Telegram Is Not for Sale
Telegram’s elusive founder, Pavel Durov, insists that his messaging service will remain non-profit.
Editor’s Remarks: Durov and his brother Nikolai founded VK, Russia’s answer to Facebook, before they were forced to sell their stakes to a Kremlin-friendly oligarch. The pair has since relocated and built Telegram, an encrypted messaging service that they insist will never be sold. A libertarian – having enabled Telegram users to even send messages that will self-destruct – Durov and his product have gained popularity among cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Durov himself is bullish about the prospects of cryptocurrencies and owns at least 2,000 bitcoins. Pundits, meanwhile, reckon that Telegram is worth in the region of $5bn.
Japanese Space Startup Raises $90m
Ispace Inc raised $90m from Japan’s largest corporates in a bid to reach orbit by 2019.
Editor’s Remarks: Ispace is backed by Japan Airlines, Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings and also government-backed Innovation Network Corp. of Japan. The company plans to sell advertising space on its spacecraft, which will then feature prominently in distributed images. However, Ispace also envisages the use of rovers that will offer a “projection mapping service”, which will essentially produce a tiny billboard on the surface of the moon. This is the latest announcement in what is rapidly shaping up to be a wider commercialisation of space exploration. Elsewhere, SpaceX and Blue Origin are developing reusable rockets, while Planetary Resources intends to mine asteroids.
Roy Moore Loses Alabama
Moore, who was backed by Trump, narrowly lost to Doug Jones, a largely unknown Democrat.
Editor’s Remarks: Moore’s election efforts appeared to have succumbed to allegations of child abuse that were made against him last week. Newcomer Jones won 49.9% of the vote against Moore’s 48.4% in deeply conservative Alabama, marking the Democrats’ first Senate victory in the state since 1992. Moore is a household name in Alabama but the accusations recently levelled against him have ruined his once impeccable reputation. Reluctant to concede defeat in his home state, Moore has said that Alabama must “wait on God and let the process play out”. Meanwhile, Democrats are jubilant that they have managed to reduce the Republican majority in the Senate to 51-49, which could impact Trump’s tax reform.
Zuckerberg Backs VR Firm
Dreamscape Immersive, a virtual reality (VR) company, is backed by 21st Century Fox, Warner Bros. and Mark Zuckerberg.
Editor’s Remarks: Dreamscape is developing new VR arcades for shopping centres and has just closed a $30m Series B funding round – 50% more than planned. Among its initial backers were Steven Spielberg, 21st Century Fox and Warner Bros. The company has now added to that impressive list the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Nickelodeon. Dreamscape is capitalising on Hollywood’s interest in VR, which the film industry reckons will draw in greater numbers of viewers and provide an opportunity to raise margins. Dreamscape intends to open seven VR centres in locations across North America and the UK.
Google to Open Artificial Intelligence Centre in China
Google will be opening its first artificial intelligence (AI) research centre in China, despite many of its services being blocked there.
Fei-Fei Li, Chief Scientist of Google Cloud, said:
“I believe AI and its benefits have no borders. Whether a breakthrough occurs in Silicon Valley, Beijing or anywhere else, it has the potential to make everyone’s life better for the entire world. As an AI first company, this is an important part of our collective mission. And we want to work with the best AI talent, wherever that talent is, to achieve it.”
The research centre will focus on basic AI research, and will consist of a team in Beijing, who will be supported by Google China’s engineering teams.
Google’s search engine and its Gmail are banned in China. However, the country has 730 million internet users, making the market too large to ignore.
Google is not the only tech giant facing restrictions in China. Facebook is also banned, while Apple’ App Store has been subject to censorship. In order to comply with government requests, Apple removed many popular messaging and virtual private network (VPN) apps from its App Store in China earlier on this year.
China has recently announced plans to develop artificial intelligence, and wants to catch up with the US. However, human rights groups are concerned by China’s use of artificial intelligence to monitor its own citizens.
Europe Warns Trump on Tax
Finance ministers from Europe’s largest economies have said that Trump’s tax plans breach global agreements.
Europe’s leading finance ministers, including UK chancellor Philip Hammond, penned a letter to the White House in which they raised the possibility of retaliation if the Republicans push on with their tax reforms. Europe is worried that Trump’s “America First” doctrine will undermine global trade patterns and escalate ongoing tensions between the US and its key allies. With the UK looking to its closest ally for support post-Brexit, it is unlikely that Hammond’s latest move will sweeten any future US-UK trade deal. Meanwhile, Trump is unlikely to care about shaking up current trading arrangements, given that he ran for office on the platform of making the US more competitive.
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