HANGZHOU: DRB-Hicom Bhd should explore the possibilities of working with Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group to produce vehicles for the Asean market, says International Trade and Industry Minister II Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan.
He said the joint venture would allow the Malaysian corporation, which owns national carmaker Proton, to capitalise on the well-established research and development facilities of Geely.
“Our domestic market is currently not big enough to sustain good research and development activities,” said Ong during a visit to the Geely headquarters here in Zhejiang province yesterday.
Geely, a Fortune Global 500 firm, had earlier acquired London Taxi Company and Volvo Cars.
While DRB-Hicom and Geely would meet soon to work out the details, Ong proposed that their operations be based at Proton City in Tanjung Malim, Perak.
He said Malaysia also produced resources that were used in the automotive industry such as rubber and rubberwood.
“Instead of just exporting the raw materials, we can process them within our country to support the industry,” he said.
On Thursday, after a visit to the headquarters of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba here, Ong encouraged Malaysian businesses to utilise the online platforms to break through geographical barriers to reach an international clientele.
“Asean has 620 million people while China has 1.3 billion. E-commerce is the future trend,” he noted.
In a presentation, Alibaba said there were 200,000 Malaysian buyers and sellers on its online shopping platforms.
Of these, about 1,000 are premium users who have received positive ratings.
Ong said the Government hoped to facilitate the development of e-commerce in Malaysia by organising training for business organisations together with Alibaba.
He also said that Pos Malaysia Bhd was one of the key players that would decide the future of e-commerce in Malaysia.
“It is time for Pos Malaysia to play its national duty to facilitate an efficient transfer of goods, especially in the rural areas,” he said.
Ong’s five-day visit – his first to China as newly appointed MITI Minister II – was facilitated by the Prime Minister’s special envoy to China Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting.