China-ASEAN Monitor: Malaysia’s trading capabilities to be boosted through cooperation with China
Economy, Investment and Trade
Malaysia’s trading capabilities to be boosted through cooperation with China
(23 June 2020) Malaysia’s exports and imports capabilities are expected to be significantly increased through infrastructure development cooperation with China, a senior Malaysian official said on 23 June. Projects such as the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) will be part of a larger smart network to enable Malaysia to take advantage of its geographical location to drive trade. The future development of the MCKIP will focus on artificial intelligence to promote more intelligent logistics and the setting up a larger cold chain warehouse to facilitate the exports of agricultural goods to China. The ECRL, for its part, will help the government to promote greater connectivity.
Malaysia seeks re-examination of BRI-backed projects due to COVID-19
(11 June 2020) A consortium of companies that includes Singapore Telecommunications are building a high-performance submarine cable connecting the country with China (Hong Kong and Guangdong province), Japan, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Other members of the consortium called the Asia Direct Cable Consortium, include China Telecom, SoftBank, Tata Communications, and Viettel. At 9,400 kilometres long, the cable is designed to carry more than 140 terabits per second of traffic, enabling high-capacity transmission of data across Southeast and East Asia. Construction of the cable is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2022.
China’s Maple Leaf to buy one of Singapore’s largest international schools
(22 June 2020) Hong Kong-listed firm China Maple Leaf Educational Systems Ltd agreed to acquire one of Singapore’s largest international schools for US$487 million. Singapore’s Canadian International School is being purchased by China Maple Leaf from Southern Capital Group Pte and HPEF Capital Partners, with the firm agreeing to pay in cash and settle all of the school’s debts. Upon completion of the transaction, the school will become an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of China Maple Leaf. The Canadian International School has about 3,000 students in Singapore while China Maple Leaf operates 104 schools from preschool to high school in China and overseas, including in Canada and Australia.
MAS suggests Singapore and China work together to promote green finance in region
(23 June 2020) The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has suggested that China and Singapore work together to develop frameworks for green and sustainability-linked loans customised for Chinese and Singaporean SMEs. According to MAS managing director Ravi Menon, financial cooperation has been a highlight of Singapore’s 30-year bilateral relationship with China. Highlighting existing partnerships between Chinese and Singapore banks to finance green and sustainable projects, Menon suggested that the two countries work together to create frameworks for green and sustainability-linked loans, customised for Chinese and Singaporean SMEs. He added that such frameworks can help promote cross-border syndications in green loans, reduce the borrowing costs of SMEs, promote economic transformation and upgrading.
Beijing-backed AIIB approves US$1 billion worth of loans for Indonesia
(23 June 2020) The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved US$1 billion in two loans to help Indonesia combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The first loan of US$750 million, co-financed by the Asian Development Bank, will finance a project to boost economic support for businesses and vulnerable households, as well as support Indonesia’s healthcare system. The second loan of US$250 million, co-financed by the World Bank, will back the government’s response to the pandemic. Both loans are part of the AIIB’s US$10 billion fund to help the public and private sector fight the pandemic.