KUALA LUMPUR: China, which imports nearly 12% of all Malaysian export products, remains the country’s second biggest export market after Singapore, says Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said China had also been Malaysia’s biggest trading partner since 2009, with the total trade between the two countries hitting US$106bil (RM366.8bil) last year.
In the first 10 months this year, Malaysia imported RM571.9bil worth of products from China and recorded export sales of RM634.7bil, he said.
“(Even so), the two countries still have a huge potential for expansion in bilateral trade,” he said, urging businessmen to establish network and tap into China’s fast-growing wealth.
He urged Malay businessmen to also grab the opportunity to reach out to the Chinese market, which has a huge Muslim population of more than 30 million.
Dr Wee was speaking at the opening of the 11th Malaysia International Branding Showcase (IBS 2014), held in conjunction with the Fujian Export Fair and Zhejiang Export Fair, at the Putra World Trade Centre here yesterday.
The event, from now until Sunday, sees more than 100 exhibitors from South Korea, China, Taiwan, India and others showcasing a wide range of products such as machinery, electronic and building materials, household appliances, beauty products, clothes, food and beverage, among others.
Dr Wee said such events enabled Malaysia and China to forge closer ties and business cooperation as the nations celebrated 40 years of diplomatic relations this year.
“Malaysia is the first Asean country to establish diplomatic ties with China and this relationship has yielded great work, making us a favourite investment destination for the world’s second largest economy, China,” he added.
He said currently, Asean was China’s third biggest trading partner even though China was the biggest for Asean.
“This is going to change, as Malaysia takes the Asean chairmanship in 2015 to boost social and economic ties even further. Asean, which is one of the world’s fastest-growing consumer markets over the next two decades, is definitely going to be an economic powerhouse in the years to come,” he said.
He stressed that Malaysian businesses, being of a multi-cultural community, would be one of the best entities to provide the networking to reach most of Asean.
At the swearing-in ceremony of the village development and security committee (JKKK) for Tanjung Sepat, Sungai Pelek, Sepang, Salak and Dengkil, Dr Wee – who is also MCA deputy president – advised the committees to utilise the allocations wisely, adding that development and projects that would benefit the people should be carried out.
The Sepang parliamentary seat and Sungai Pelek state seat, which fell into the hands of the Pakatan Rakyat in the 13th general election, had been identified as the constituencies Barisan Nasional hoped to recapture.