Malaysia plans major digital technology investment

Malaysia plans major digital technology investment

The Malaysian government has announced some ambitious investment plans to raise the country’s profile in digital technology in the coming years.

The most eye-catching headline comes in the form of plans to build Southeast Asia’s largest integrated circuit design park. Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, announcing the plans, said the proposed integrated circuit design park was part of Malaysia’s efforts to move beyond backend chip assembly and testing and into high-value frontend design work.

The park will be backed by Malaysia’s central Selangor state, a state on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, encircling the capital Kuala Lumpur. It will house world-class anchor tenants and collaborate with global giants such as chip maker Arm Holdings, according to the prime minister, though at this stage there appears to be no detailed outline of how the park will operate or how much investment will be involved.

However, we are told that there will be a number of incentives, including tax breaks, subsidies and visa exemption fees to attract overseas technology companies and investors.

Malaysia is already a major player in the semiconductor industry. According to reports from Reuters and Bloomberg, it, accounts for about 13% of global testing and packaging.

However, the news services say, the aim is now to turn the country into a regional digital hub, with the goal of being among the top 20 countries in the global start-up ecosystem index by 2030.

Anwar made the comments as the KL20 Summit, an event aimed at launching new policies to support Malaysian start-ups. He also said that Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the sovereign wealth fund of the Government of Malaysia and one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, will launch a fund to invest in innovative high-growth Malaysian companies, with an initial allocation of 1 billion ringgit (about US$209 million).

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