PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is inviting more French enterprises to set up their bases in the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) and use Malaysia as a hub to showcase French technology.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the number of ICT (information and communications technology) French companies in MSC did not commensurate with what the French industry had to offer.
He said according to latest statistics, out of the 848 registered MSC companies, only four were from France, of which, only one was active.
Abdullah urged the Malaysian French Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MFCCI) to encourage more French companies to take advantage of the ICT infrastructure Malaysia has put in place.
“Perhaps, French companies would consider using our infrastructure and public amenities to set up regional technology training centres.
“Using Malaysia as a hub, these companies can provide capacity building and enhance technical capabilities for countries in the region,” he said, when addressing the MFCCI gala dinner held at the Sunway Lagoon Hotel here yesterday.
Abdullah said bilateral trade between Malaysia and France had increased three-fold in the last 10 years and last year, the value of trade was close to RM9.5bil.
Malaysia is also France's number one trading partner in South-East Asia.
Abdullah also urged MFCCI to help promote tourism, adding the 27,000 tourist arrivals from France last year was relatively small.
MFCCI, which was established in 1991, has grown from the initial membership of 19 to 240 and comprises French-based or related companies with a yearly turnover of more than RM10mil.
Apart from providing assistance, consultation and networking for businesses, MFCCI had also at times stepped in to protect the image of the host country, such as sending a protest letter to French authorities and media following unfair and biased coverage of Malaysia after Sept 11.
Also present at the gala dinner was French ambassador Jacques Lapouge, who extended an invitation to Abdullah to lead a trade mission to France to forge closer co-operation between the two countries.
“More French companies have set up regional offices in Malaysia and use it as a gateway to Asean, or perhaps, the Asia-Pacific region.
“We are convinced that we can increase French involvement in various sectors ranging from food industries, telecommunications and services to tourism here.
“We will also try to attract more small and medium industries from France to invest here,” added Lapouge.
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