Press Release 2012

Singapore SMEs eye Malaysia for expansion plans in 2012;
Iskandar Malaysia, Johor to benefit

Kuala Lumpur, 14 March 2012 - Malaysia is one of the most preferred locations for Singaporean SMEs with expansion plans, according to the United Overseas Bank (UOB) Mid-Sized Corporates Business Sentiment survey conducted in December 2011.

Thirty-seven per cent of the 1,600 mid-sized Singaporean companies surveyed expressed intentions to expand their business in Asia in 2012 because of continuing demand from countries in the region. Of these, 21 per cent are eyeing Malaysia as a potential location for business expansion. China is at the top of the list (27 per cent), while Indonesia and Vietnam are tied in third place (15 per cent).

"Prospects are positive for companies eyeing Malaysia as an expansionary destination," said Chan Kok Seong, Chief Executive Officer of UOB Malaysia.

"Malaysia's facilitative and open policies to attract foreign direct investment, such as the allowance of 100 per cent foreign equity holdings and funds repatriation to their base country, have made it attractive for companies to do business here.

"There is high interest from Singapore companies wanting to establish a presence in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor, which has a lot more potential for growth. We note that this trend is increasing and believe that the close proximity to Singapore is a key consideration as it allows Singaporean companies to manage their business from their doorstep."

Chan also attributed the increase in interest to the recent announcement made by Singapore in wanting to reduce its dependency on foreign labour. The extension of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system from Singapore to Johor Bahru within the next four to five years is another positive factor for businesses considering opening or moving operations to Johor Bahru.

In recent months, UOB Malaysia has received an increased number of enquiries from Singaporean companies about purchasing industrial factories and warehouses in Johor Bahru, especially from those in the food and beverage industry.

"With our network of banks across the South East Asian region, we are well poised to facilitate outgoing and incoming cross border deals through our UOB Global Business Development arm. We have industry specialists who are domain experts in the specific regulatory and legal policies, and are able to provide advisory on optimal financing and investment schemes for cross border deals," said Chan.


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