UOB Malaysia projects approved investments to increase by 13 per cent in 2021, almost 40 per cent to come from foreign direct investment

Bank collaborates with MIDA to facilitate foreign investments into high-value-added sectors; China, Europe and the US expected to remain main sources of foreign investment


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 19 May 2021 – UOB Malaysia has projected approved investments in Malaysia to increase by 13 per cent to RM185 billion in 2021, of which close to 40 per cent will be attributed to foreign direct investment (FDI)1. China, Europe and the United States (US) are expected to remain among the top sources of FDI, while capital is likely to be channelled mainly into the high-value-added sectors, including electrical and electronics (E&E), chemical, manufacturing and industrial.

Despite the challenging economic environment in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Malaysia recorded RM164 billion in total approved investments, of which RM64.2 billion were from FDI sources. China was Malaysia’s main source of FDI at RM18.1 billion, equivalent to a share of 28.2 per cent. Other contributors included Singapore which recorded RM10 billion in FDI, the Netherlands with RM7.0 billion, as well as the US at RM4.3 billion2.

In 2020, the Bank successfully facilitated an increase of close to 20 per cent in FDI inflows from China, compared with the year before. It also supported a steady flow of new investments from European companies, particularly from France, Germany and the United Kingdom, which grew close to 10 per cent annually3.

Ms Ng Wei, Wei, Managing Director and Country Head of Wholesale Banking, UOB Malaysia, said, “Amid the impact of the pandemic on business and supply chains worldwide, it is encouraging to see that Malaysia is still attracting companies from around the world as they expand into Southeast Asia. We believe that Malaysia’s diversified economic potential, strong fundamentals, accommodative policies and favourable demographics will continue to appeal to foreign companies looking to expand into the region.”

To ride on the encouraging FDI trend, the Bank is collaborating with the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) to facilitate inbound investments from both China and Europe’s major companies of high-value added sectors in the E&E, chemical, manufacturing and industrial sectors. Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with MIDA on 10 January 2020, UOB Malaysia has been working closely with MIDA to help companies from Greater China, Europe and within Southeast Asia expand and invest in Malaysia and across the region.

As part of the collaboration, virtual roundtables were organised with business delegations from Germany and China on 15 and 28 April 2021 respectively. At these sessions, participants gained insights into Malaysia’s latest economic developments, policies and potential investment opportunities post-pandemic.

Ms Ng said, “We believe that the reconfiguration of supply chains into ASEAN due to geopolitical uncertainties, including US-China trade tensions, continue to be a catalyst for growth in key sectors such as industrial, consumer goods and telecommunications, media and technology. The growth expectation is also supported by the global 5G network roll out-that will boost the E&E, electronics manufacturing sectors and enhance the country’s digital infrastructure. In addition, with the Malaysian government’s push to drive the country’s environmental, social and governance agenda, we see a rise in interest for renewable energy-related projects, such as those in solar power. As the country makes the transition to renewable energy and enhances its infrastructure with cleaner sources of energy, it will attract more investments from multinationals looking to expand their operations in a sustainable manner.”

Since 2013, UOB’s FDI Advisory Unit has supported more than 500 foreign companies establishing or growing their operations in Malaysia, as well as local companies venturing across ASEAN. The support enabled these companies to develop their market entry strategies and to navigate the complexities of doing business in a new country, as well as provided them with access to UOB’s financial products and services.

To find out more about UOB’s FDI Advisory services, please visit


1 Source: UOB Global Economics and Markets Research

2 Source: MIDA Report, 4 March 2021

3 Source: UOB Malaysia’s data on number of deals facilitated from 1 January to 31 December 2020