THE majority of the Chinese business community have expressed optimism in the country's economic outlook for the next 2 to 3 years, although they do not see much cheer in the 1st half of this year.
Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) secretary-general Tan Sri Soong Siew Hoong said this in Kuala Lumpur yesterday in announcing the report on the ACCCIM's survey on Malaysia's economic situation for the second half of 2002.
The respondents of the survey were mainly from the manufacturing, wholesale and retail, professional and business services and construction sectors. About 73% were small- and medium-scale industries, 69% of them involved in domestic-oriented businesses.
The Asean Free Trade Area (Afta) and the entry of China into the global arena had also brought challenges to the respondents.
Malaysian businessmen need to re-evaluate their business plans and strategies to take into consideration the challenges and opportunities brought about by China's entry into the global business arena, Soong told the media briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
He said Malaysian businessmen could take advantage of China as s source cheap components for their manufacturing facilities in Malaysia.
Soong said Malaysia could capitalise on its good standing in the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Commonwealth to access new markets where China was unable to sell its goods.
We should also build up our resource-based industries, such as palm oil, which we can export to China, he said.
He suggested a new Malaysian trading concept where manufacturers lower their costs by marketing their products direct, bypassing the middlemen.
I have seen Malaysian-made furniture in Namibia being marketed by a Singaporean firm. The Singaporean company which is selling the furniture is probably making more money than the Malaysian manufacturer, Soong said.
ACCCIM commerce committee deputy chairman Chua Tia Guan said the survey would help the government and the National Economic Action Council in evaluating the economic situation faced by the Chinese business community.
The report said the Malaysian economy was stagnant in the 2nd half of last year and attributed domestic competition and increases in operating cost and raw material prices as the major factors affecting business performance.
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