Kuala Lumpur among top 10 cities in Asia Pacific seen as leading technology innovation hub — KPMG

Market Sentiments | INVE$T 71

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According to Guy Edwards, head of technology, media and telecommunications sector at KPMG in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is ranked the ninth top city in the Asia Pacific and outside of Silicon Valley/San Francisco as a leading technology innovation hub over the next four years. In its global Technology Industry Survey 2021 involving more than 800 industry leaders, this was based on several factors both at a local level such as infrastructure and demographics and at a macro level such as the regulatory environment and potential national tax incentives. This is not all that surprising considering several studies have already recognised and identified factors that make Malaysia an attractive investment opportunity. 

There is definitely continued global confidence in the country’s potential as a development hotbed, thanks to the Malaysian government’s dedication to advance the country’s technology infrastructure with the introduction of initiatives such as the National Fourth Industrial Revolution policy. While government impetus could be just the thing to amplify Malaysia’s potential as a tech hub, more is needed beyond simply introducing newer policies. The survey showed that 61% of industry insiders believed the pandemic has changed their opinions of which cities would become leading technology innovation hubs. Only one third feel that Silicon Valley will maintain its innovation leadership position, while an equal number feel it will not. 

Agri-commodities export jumps 65% in second quarter 

According to Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali, agri-commodities and agri-commodities product exports jumped 65% to RM105bil in the second quarter of 2021 from RM64bil in the same period last year. As of June this year, palm oil-based products which were the biggest contributor with 43% of the total agri-commodities export, increased to RM46bil compared to RM33bil in the first six months last year. 

However, palm oil based products export quantity declined 5% to 11.5 million tonnes. Covid-19 pandemic continuously impacted palm oil production and exports not only in Malaysia but also other global palm oil producing countries. The implementation of the movement control order by the government up to the National Recovery Programme on a scheduled basis over the past six months has directly impacted the export of palm oil and agri-commodity-based products. Following the encouraging performance, he is optimistic that the RM75bil palm oil export target this year could be achieved even though the country is still facing a shortage of workers in oil palm plantations. Meanwhile, rubber products that contributed 42% of the total agri-commodities export recorded a surge of 150% to RM44bil from RM17.77bil in the same period last year. 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the value of latex-based products export such as rubber gloves and others rose 200% to RM37bil from RM12bil in the same period in 2020. Rubber gloves that are mainly for medical uses recorded more than threefold growth or 210%. On the other hand, wood-based products contributed 11% to agri-commodities export, increasing 21% to RM12bil from RM10bil in the same period 2020. Cocoa-based products export also posted an increase of 7% to RM3.4bil compared with RM3.1bil previously and pepper-based products export climbed 19.24% to RM62mil from RM52mil in the same period 2020. 

Eye On The Markets 

This week, on Friday (20Aug), the Ringgit opened 4.2375 against the USD from 4.2420 on Monday (16Aug). Meanwhile, the Ringgit was 3.1063 to the Sing Dollar on Friday (20Aug). On Monday (16Aug), the FBM KLCI opened at 1499.92. As at Friday (20Aug) 10:00am, the FBM KLCI is up 19.28 points for the week at 1519.20. Over in US, the overnight Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 66.57 points (-0.19%) to 34,894.12 whilst the NASDAQ added 15.90 points (+0.11%) to 14,541.80.  

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