Trade and investment delegations will trickle back over the next few months, but the second half of the year should see considerable return of business travellers. It was learnt that over 50 per cent of international business chambers and industry associations surveyed will consider sending exploratory teams to Malaysia during this quarter of the year with a view of sending full business delegations to the country in the second half of the year.
Most businesspeople have relied on virtual meetings to conduct business development activities over the last two years. At the same time, a similar percentage of senior level business development professionals believe that in-person meetings are more impactful to develop relationships. This was most prevalent in the services sector and with products that need technical support post sales.
Malaysia remains a popular business destination in ASEAN for several reasons, including flight or air connectivity, high-quality business accommodation at competitive prices, the business community speaks good English, the domestic economy will see growth in the coming years, and Malaysia offers access to the broader ASEAN market.
In terms of addressing gaps in understanding within international businesses looking to expand into Malaysia, the domestic political dynamic remains of interest. This features strongly coupled with market information and business intelligence on competitive suppliers from alternative countries with information on bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements (FTAs).
Communications and engagement with the international business community remains important to ensure that expectations around standard operating procedures are known as many will be travelling from countries with vast differences in terms of their COVID-19 response.
Moving forward, Kuala Lumpur should be continued to be positioned as a “business and lifestyle city” that should be the first port of call for businesses looking to expand into the high growth markets of Asia. Especially knowing that the initial cost of business development is low with considerable domestic and regional market upside.
Malaysia Global Business Forum
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The Star: Be ready for business delegations