CHANGSHA, Nov 29 — Mention Hunan, the first thing that comes to the mind of those who know history is that it is the birthplace province of the People’s Republic of China’s founding father, Mao Zedong.
Hunan is the 10th largest province among the 33 Chinese provinces and is slowly making its mark as another business and manufacturing hub of China.
For the companies here, Malaysia is of interest to them especially in fledging their wings in Southeast Asia and beyond.
During a recent media tour to the manufacturing sites in the province, Bernama observed of the keen interest shown by the companies here in doing business or investing in Malaysia.
Some are already in Malaysia
For companies like CRRC Zhuzou Locomotive Co Limited, being a part of Malaysia’s development in mass rapid transit (MRT) is a proud achievement and part of the company’s vision of making greater inroads into the region.
Their appreciation for Malaysia is obvious. As soon as the visiting media stepped into the company’s manufacturing plant in Zhuzou, about 50 kilometers from here, a promo video featuring Malaysia’s KTM Komuter trains appeared on the big screen.
Zhuzou is the birthplace of the many rolling stocks operating with the Klang Valley’s rail services today. The company stated that it had captured more than 80 per cent of the transit rail market in Malaysia.
“Until October 2016, CRRC has delivered over 300 units of various products comprising EMU (electric multiple units), DMU (diesel multiple units) and locomotives, “ said Luo Chongfu, the company’s Vice President.
KTM Komuter and KLIA Transit are among names in the CRRC’s list of customers.
Due to CRRC’s huge market share in Malaysia, it opened a rolling stock centre in Batu Gajah, Perak in October 2015. The facility that serves as the company’s manufacturing centre for Southeast Asia has 300 workers, mostly locals.
Malaysia a strategic location
Like CRRC, construction and equipment rental outfit Zoomlion International views Malaysia as an important market as the country is going through rapid infrastructure development.
Its Deputy General Manager Geoffrey Tao noted that the company is eyeing a larger share in construction and equipment rental business in Malaysia especially in road and seaport construction.
For Don Xu, Global Business Group Director of Hunan Farsoon Hi-Tech Co Ltd, the company’s decision to open an office in Kuala Lumpur was partly influenced by the location and the sizable local Chinese population that made communications easier.
Having entered the Malaysian market in the first half of 2016, the company emphasises on its eco-friendly 3-D printing machine. Currently they have approached higher learning institutions and automotive industry players.
On the same note, Tidfore Heavy Equipment General Manager Danial Zhang believes the company’s success in supplying equipment to Kuantan Port serves as a stepping stone in embarking on bigger projects in Malaysia.
Xu and Zhang agreed that Malaysia is a unique proposition for their business due to the country’s strategic location that provides easy access to all Southeast Asian countries. Moreover, Malaysia is a very attractive destination for investors from Hunan due to the country’s resilient economy and the influx of other players as well.
Welcoming Malaysian companies
Speaking to Bernama, Director of Publicity Office of Hunan Provincial Party Committee Propaganda Department Wu Wenhai said the door is wide open for Malaysian companies to operate in Hunan.
He stressed that as much as Hunan wished to see its home companies flourish overseas, overseas investments were very important to the province too.
“I think Malaysia’s advantage lies in food industry and tourism while Hunan is strong in agriculture and tourism. In this regard I welcome enterprises from Malaysia with expertise and rich experiences to Hunan, “ he said.
As of August 2016 companies from Hunan had invested in 86 countries. They have also entered into 470 areas of international cooperation since the first overseas initiative in year 2000.
Located in the south central China, Hunan is blessed with Yangtze River in the north, Hong Kong and Macao in the south and Yangtze River delta in the east. Yangtze connects this inland province to the open sea.
The road link ensures smooth connection to six neighbouring provinces via 21 expressways.
Its capital, Changsha is connected by two high-speed rail lines namely the Beijing-Guangzhou and Shanghai-Kunming service.
The Changsha Huanghua International Airport offers biggest cargo handling capacity in central China and had been serving over 10 million passengers annually since 2010.
In short, Hunan has everything to offer for businesses of various categories that wish to make central China their base. — Bernama