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Container maritime cargo ports

ECONOMIC NEWS

Singapore Developing Interoperability Framework For Digital Trade Documentation

Singapore  -  March 2019

Singapore is seeking to develop an interoperability framework, called “TradeTrust”, for the exchange of digital trade documentation, in order to enable a more seamless and efficient flow of goods between digitally inter-connected trading partners. TradeTrust consists of a set of governance and legal frameworks, standards and a digital infrastructure, to facilitate the interoperability of electronic trade documents exchanged between different digital ecosystems. This is supported by the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) or blockchain to provide participants with proof of authenticity and provenance for these documents. The technical infrastructure will be hosted on the Networked Trade Platform (NTP), Singapore's national trade information management platform, as a value-added service (VAS) to enable the exchange of electronic trade documents.

TradeTrust can reduce the risk of receiving fake documents/information as sources are intended to be accredited. This would remove the need for repetitive checks by the various trade ecosystem parties to ascertain the legitimacy of the documents/information received.  It is also expected to eliminate costs associated with printing, handling and transportation of hundreds of pages of documentation, by digitising certain documents which are handled in paper form today.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) will partner the Maritime Port Authority (MPA) to lead TradeTrust development for electronic Bills of Lading (eBL), with support from Singapore Customs and the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA). Through close cooperation between government and industry, the initiative will focus on developing the TradeTrust digital infrastructure, promoting the digitalisation of Bills of Lading and conducting technical trials to demonstrate the interoperability of eBLs across different digital ecosystems. In January 2019, all four parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding to affirm their support for the initiative. IMDA will also be organising industry consultation workgroups with key stakeholders from the maritime trade, logistics and finance sectors to seek feedback on the initiative. Subsequently, a Request for Proposal willl be issued to invite the industry to submit proposals on the technical implementation of the TradeTrust infrastructure.

(Sources: Straits Times; Ministry of Communications and Information, Singapore)



 

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Telecommunications

ICT

Singapore Plans To Roll Out 5G Networks By 2020

Singapore  -  March 2019

Singapore plans to commence the roll out of 5th generation mobile networks (5G) by 2020.  With 5G, businesses and citizens can experience peak data rates of up to 100 times faster than 4G - with up to 25 times lower latency and the ability to support up to 1000 times more devices per square kilometre.  5G is expected to fundamentally transform how businesses operate, in view of its capacity to handle many high-demand applications simultaneously such as the connectivity of autonomous vehicles, industrial automation, the deployment of IoT and nationwide sensor networks. The Infocomm Media Development Authority (MDA) will launch a public consultation to help develop the right regulatory framework and policies for 5G including the allocation of spectrum.

The announcement regarding 5G was made by Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information, at the Committee of Supply (COS) Debate on 4 March 2019. In his remarks, Minister Iswaran also revealed that the Singapore Government is going to allocate a further SGD 300 million (USD 220 million) for research in the Services and Digital Economy domain, almost doubling it from the current budget.  This increase is part of the next phase of the National Research Foundation’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 Plan (RIE 2020) plan.

Minister Iswaran said that Digital Services Labs will be established to unlock value from R&D investments. This programme will work with technology providers, research and industry partners to co-develop cutting-edge technology to address business challenges.

The government is reviewing the Electronic Transactions Act to cater for new business models, new technologies and national projects. It is also reviewing our Personal Data Protection Act (or PDPA) so that it continues to safeguard consumer interests while enabling the innovative use of data.  

(Source: Ministry of Communications and Information, Singapore)

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Punggol digital district

ENERGY

ENGIE To Design District Cooling System For Punggol Digital District

Singapore  -  March 2019

French multinational energy company, ENGIE, has been selected by JTC Corporation, Singapore's principal developer and manager of industrial estate, sand Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) to design the district cooling system (DCS) for the upcoming Punggol Digital District. JTC Corporation is the Master Developer for Punggol Digital District

Punggol Digital District will be the first district in Singapore to adopt a single integrated masterplan approach that brings together a business park, a university and community facilities. This is to create synergies, enable close integration between industry and academia, as well as foster vibrant and strong communities. The district will house key growth sectors of the digital economy such as cybersecurity and digital technology to create an ecosystem of open innovation.

The interconnected DCS plants, which will be housed at SIT’s future Punggol Campus, will be designed by ENGIE to serve JTC’s and SIT’s development as well as the community facilities, delivering stringent energy efficiency requirements to the digital district, with a total cooling capacity of approximately 30,000 RT (105 MW).

In March 2018, ENGIE announced an SGD 80 million investment in Singapore to develop its Centre of Expertise for District Cooling over the next five years. The funds are expected to help develop new, innovative district cooling projects across Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region. ENGIE operates more than 320 low-carbon urban heating and cooling networks in 20 countries including Malaysia, Philippines and New Zealand. 

(Sources: ENGIE; Singapore Business Review)

(Image credit: JTC Corporation)

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Telemedicine

MEDICAL

Singapore And UK Telemedicine Companies Enter Into Partnership

Singapore  -  March 2019

Singapore-based telemedicine service provider, MyDoc, entered into a partnership with UK-based digital healthcare firm, Synergix Health, to jointly offer telemedicine services across Europe and Asia. Synergix and MyDoc plan to provide online and in-person medical advice to a combined user base of close to 500 corporate clients, through the integration of their digital platforms and patient networks. Users will be able to experience coordinated management of their health conditions, order repeat prescriptions, and connect to licensed clinicians. They will have 24 hour access to services in several languages including English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Bahasa and Hindi. 

MyDoc provides a fully integrated online-to-offline platform streamlining all aspects of primary healthcare into one easy-to-use solution connecting patients to doctors, pharmacies, diagnostic laboratories, clinical-grade health trackers, Fortune 500 and SME employers, and insurers. Its strategic partners in the region include global insurers Aetna, AIA and Cigna, the region’s network of healthcare providers like Fullerton, MHC, IHP and Acumed, leading regional pharmacy chains like Guardian Pharmacy and technology partner, Omron.

Similarly, Synergix provides a complete and integrated virtual and in-person healthcare system and works with business partners such as insurers, retailers and health providers.

(Sources: Business Times; sgsme.sg)

 

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Recycling

ENVIRONMENT

Singapore Government To Issue Zero Waste Masterplan

Singapore  -  March 2019

The Singapore government plans to release its inaugural Zero Waste Masterplan later this year. The Masterplan will detail the government's upcoming policies and plans, including in infrastructure and R&D. The Masterplan will cover the management of three waste streams:



  1. Electrical and electronic waste: From 2021, producers that supply covered electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) to the local market will be responsible for the end-of-life collection and treatment of their products. Suppliers of consumer EEE will be required to join a Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO), which will be appointed by NEA, to collect and send e-waste for recycling. A single PRO will benefit from economies of scale, and lower the overall cost of the system. Collection targets will be imposed on the PRO, but penalties for failure to meet collection targets will only be enforced from 2024 to allow transition time.


  2. Packaging waste: From 2020, producers of packaging and packaged products (i.e., brand owners, manufacturers, importers, and supermarkets) with an annual turnover of more than SGD 10 million (USD 7.4 million) will be required to report on the amounts and types of packaging they put on the market, and their plans to reduce, reuse and recycle them. This will lay the foundation for the introduction of an Extended Producer Responsibility framework which will be implemented by 2025. 


  3. Food waste: From 2024, large commercial and industrial food waste generators will be required to segregate their food waste for treatment. Such premises include large hotels and malls, and large industrial developments housing food manufacturers, food caterers and food storage warehouses. The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) and the National Environment Agency (NEA) will work with the public sector to take the lead in segregating food waste for treatment in large public sector buildings where a significant amount of food waste is generated, from 2021 onwards. From 2021, developers of new developments which are expected to be large food waste generators will be required to allocate and set aside space for on-site food waste treatment in their design plans. They will also be required to implement on-site food waste treatment from 2024.

The new regulations are intended to send an economic signal to producers to take into account environmental externalities and facilitate resource recovery. They are expected to incentivise them to design products to last longer, improve recyclability, and reduce packaging. 

(Sources: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore; Straits Times; Today)

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INFRASTRUCTURE

Singapore Continues To Invest For Enhancing Global Connectivity

Singapore  -  March 2019

Speaking at the Committee of Supply Debate 2019, Singapore's Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health, Dr Lam Pin Min, talked about how Singapore continues to invest in quality infrastructure to provide the needed capacity and strengthen Singapore’s global connectivity. 

Singapore is curently building urrently building Tuas Terminal, which is expected to be the largest container terminal in the world, with a facility that will be able to cater to mega-vessels. In addition, the mega-terminal will also have a total capacity of up to 65 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), more than the combined 50 million TEUs capacity of the current city terminals. It will also be a smarter port, with a higher degree of automation to improve efficiency, safety and service levels. Construction is on track to commence the first phase of operations in 2021.

Similarly, the development of T5 (terminal 5) at Changi Airport is expected to commence operations around 2030. Current airport infrastructure is also being enhanced. Terminal 1’s upgrading is nearing completion. Jewel, a mixed-use development with gardens, attractions, retail, dining, a hotel and facilities to support airport operations, will also open on 17 April. Its aviation facilities will improve the travel experience for passengers, such as early check-in facilities, integrated ticketing and baggage services for fly-cruise and fly-coach transfers. 

Upgrading works on Terminal 2 are going to start soon. Terminal 2 will be expanded and refreshed, with automated check-in kiosks, biometric-enabled bag-drops and automated immigration gates, to offer passengers greater convenience from check-in to immigration to their flight.

Ways to leverage technology to augment human capabilities are also being explored. For instance, with support from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), SATS, the largest ground handler at Changi, is experimenting with Autonomous Container Trailers. If successful, it would mean less physically straining jobs, and more higher-skilled jobs such as Autonomous Vehicle Operators and Fleet Managers. Sea port are being automated to raise productivity. Jurong Port previously used traditional forklifts and flatbed trailers to unload steel, which constitutes more than half of their handled cargo. It now deploys customised side-loaders, which has helped to reduce its manpower requirement for steel unloading by 60%.

(Sources: Ministry of Transport, Singapore)

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Food restaurant homecook

MANUFACTURING

SATS Opens New SGD 25 Million Kitchen Facility

Singapore  -  March 2019

On 11 March 2019, SATS Ltd. (SATS) unveiled a new SGD 25 million (USD 18.5 million) kitchen with food technologies that can preserve nutritional qualities and optimise taste while extending shelf life. The facility has an automated rice line capable of producing about 4,000 rice portions an hour, auto-fryers with the capacity to cook approximately 120 kg of rice or noodles in an hour, a thermoforming packing line, and the first commercially available pasteurisation and sterilisation technology in Asia.

The facility has digital twin technology that helps SATS to simulate different production scenarios and the cooking process for each recipe to optimise the use of resources in its kitchens. By harnessing digital twin, SATS can capture the culinary insights and experience of its chefs digitally and empower them to reproduce the same recipe faithfully.

A team of food technologists, dietitians, and chefs at SATS has worked to develop a variety of menus using the new technologies. It will offer a selection of these meals to aviation customers in the initial phase and extend the distribution of similar meals to non-aviation customers under its Country Foods brand at a later stage.

SATS is the chief ground-handling and in-flight catering service provider at Singapore Changi Airport. It is also a leading provider of gateway services and food solutions in Asia.

(Sources: SAT; Channel NewsAsia)

 

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DEFENSE / AEROSPACE / AVIATION

Bombardier To Quadruple Footprint Of Singapore Service Center

Singapore  -  March 2019

Multinational aerospace manufacturing company, Bombardier, announced plans to more than quadruple the current footprint of its Singapore Service Center with an investment of SGD 85 million (USD 63 million). It will transform the facility into a high-capacity, one-stop-shop super center, offering its customers a full gamut of maintenance, refurbishment and modification services required throughout an aircraft’s life, directly on site.

The area of the Service Center located at Seletar Aerospace Park which opened in 2014, will be increased from 100,000 sq. ft. (9,260 sq m  to approximately 430,000 sq. ft. (40,000 sq m) by 2020. The expansion will introduce exceptional new customer facilities, a full-service 37,000 sq. ft. (3,500 sq m) paint facility, advanced interior finishing capabilities, with key support functions, such as training, sales and customer support and an expanded portfolio of component, repair and overhaul (CR&O) services. It will also offer heavy structural and composite repair capabilities, in addition to a 10,000 sq.ft. (929 sq m) integrated parts depot. The new expanded center will be capable of supporting more than 2,000 visits annually. The groundbreaking of the expansion will occur on February 27, 2019 and the facility is expected to be operational in 2020.

The Singapore Service Center currently employs more than 150 staff, including 100 licensed engineers and technicians, and has received more than 20 certifications and authorizations from international regulators to service the full range of Bombardier Global, Challenger and Learjet aircraft including the largest, most luxurious and longest range business jet ever built, the flagship Global 7500 aircraft. In addition to offering scheduled and unscheduled maintenance and aircraft on ground (AOG) support, the Singapore Service Center is recognized as a centre of excellence for complex retrofit work, including avionics and Ka-band installations.

(Sources: Bombardier; Business Times)

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RETAIL / FMCG

Singapore Aims To Locally Produce 30 Percent Of Food Requirement By 2030

Singapore  -  March 2019

The Singapore government has set a target to locally produce 30% of Singapore’s nutritional needs by 2030. Currently, Singapore imports over 90% of its food requirements. To achieve this “30 by 30 vision”, the government will help the local agri-food industry to adopt new solutions to raise productivity, apply R&D, strengthen climate resilience, and overcome Singapore's resource constraints. This announcement was made by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, at the Committee of Supply Debate 2019, on 7 March 2019.

The Minister said that the Agriculture Productivity Fund (APF) has supported local farms such as Kok Fah and Ho Ka Clean to integrate climate control and automation into their operations, thereby raising their capacity and productivity. The APF administered by the Singapore Food Agency or SFA (previously by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore, whose food responsbilities have been transferred to the SFA) helps local farms to upgrade their farms and conduct R&D. More than 90 farms have benefitted from the APF. The government will work similarly with existing coastal fish farms. As an example of technological innovation, the minister cited  the adoption of closed containment aquaculture systems by Singapore Aquaculture Technologies. This protects fish production from sea-borne threats such as algae blooms or oil spills. The Singapore government's vision is to develop Singapore into a tropical aquaculture hub. One area being studied is deep sea fish farming, which can contribute significantly to local production.  A local first mover is Barramundi Asia, which uses large sea cages to culture Asian seabass in the deep waters off Pulau Semakau, Singapore's offshore landfill.  Using technology, Barramundi Asia can vaccinate 9000 fish in one hour, compared to just 600 manually. SFA will work with agencies and industry to open up more sites for deep sea farming with technology.

Singapore will also expand production in state-of-the-art indoor farms, using high-tech solutions like LED lighting and climate control. SFA will support the growing interest in urban farming, such as on rooftops. Such farms can also be used to test-bed innovative technologies for growing food. The Ministry is working with Singapore Land Authority (SLA), Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) to pilot this concept, re-purposing the former Henderson Secondary School into an integrated space comprising an urban farm, a child care centre, a nursing home and a dialysis centre. 

The government is aiming to grow an ecosystem of R&D players to support agri- and aquaculture industry development. SFA’s Marine Aquaculture Centre will contribute to this effort by sharing its expertise and providing facilities for R&D. The RIEC has also set aside SGD 144 million (USD 106 million) for this.  

The government has worked with higher educational institutions, Republic Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic to launch SkillsFuture Earn & Learn programmes or ELP for fresh ITE graduates, leading to diplomas in Urban Agricultural Technology, and Aquaculture. The ELP will emplace ITE graduates in industry and equip them with the knowledge and skills to become agriculture and aquaculture technicians. We will also partner universities to groom Agri- and Aqua- technologists and culturists, urban farming specialists, and researchers to meet future needs.

(Sources: Straits Times; Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore)

Malaysia

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ECONOMIC NEWS

Malaysia Targets MYR 200 Billion In Approved Investments For 2019

Malaysia  -  March 2019

The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) is targeting total approved investments worth MYR 200 billion (USD 49.2 billion) for 2019 with a continued focus on hgh technology areas. During 2018, approved investments in the manufacturing, services and primary sectors stood at  MYR 201.7 billion (USD 49.6 billion), nearly the same as the MYR 200.6 billion (USD 49.4 billion) during 2017. Domestic direct investments accounted for around 60% of investment in 2018. Foreign investments were 48% higher than 2017.

Approved investments in manufacturing came up to MYR 87.4 billion (USD 21.5 billion) in 2018, 37.2% higher compared to MYR 63.7 billion (USD 15.7 billion) in 2017. The services and primary sectors recorded investments of MYR 103.4 billion and MYR 10.9 billion respectively in 2018.

Foreign investments in approved manufacturing projects more than doubled to MYR 58.0 billion (USD 14.3 billion) in 2018 from 2017’s figure of MYR 21.6 billion (USD 5.3 billion), constituting over 66% of the total approved investments in manufacturing.  China, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Japan and the USA contributed 76.4% of the total foreign manufacturing investments approved during the period.  A new manufacturing facility in Penang by Pentax Medical, one of the top three endoscopic and surgical system manufacturers in the world and a facility for Jinjing Technology from China that will be located at the Kulim Hi-Tech Park were among notable approved investmetns in 2018. 

The petroleum products including petrochemicals industry with approved investments of MYR 32.9 billion (USD 8.1 billion) made significant contribution to manufacturing performance. A notable project in this industry is Sarawak Petchem which is part of the Sarawak State Government initiative to develop Bintulu as a petrochemical hub. This is in addition to investments by Pengerang Energy Complex and Petronas Chemicals Isononanol that will be located in Johor.

In the services sector, foreign investments contributed around 16%, while the remaining 84% were domestic.  total of eight new Principal Hub (PH) projects were approved, with committed business spending of MYR 7.1 billion. Among the approved PH projects were Smart Modular Technologies, Frencken Group, Onwards Media Group and Jobstreet.

Investments in the primary sector registered a decline of 12.2% largely due to lower investments in oil and gas exploration activities, under the mining subsector. 

(Source: The Star Online; The Sun Daily)

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Ict

ICT

Maxis and Huawei Collaborating On 5G Trial In Malaysia

Malaysia  -  March 2019

Malaysian telco, Maxis, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Huawei on 25 February to accelerate 5G technology in Malaysia. The MoU is about the two companies cooperating on a full 5G trial with end-to-end systems and services, was inked during the 2019 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Subsequently in the first week of March, Maxis initiated the first 5G live trials in the country to be conducted over six months in Cyberjaya. The trials will provide a deeper analysis of 5G characteristics, including the use of spectrum in higher bands, co-existence with current services, as well as use cases such as Gigabit high speed Mobile Internet and Ultra High-Definition Virtual Reality (VR) applications. As of 7 March, Maxis had recorded close to 3Gbps download speed. 

The trial also follows the recent announcement by the Government that Cyberjaya and Putrajaya will become the first smart cities in Malaysia to experience 5G technology. 

5G is expected to provide speeds up to 10 times higher than what 4G network can do today for applications such as Ultra High-Definition VR and 360 degree viewing. It will also open up new use cases in areas such as AI, robotics and drones. 

(Source: Digital News Asia; FMT News; Maxis)

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Renewables

ENERGY

TNB, PWD To Collaborate On Renewable Energy

Malaysia  -  March 2019

Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), the national utility company of Malaysia, is set to work with the Public Works Department (PWD) following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate in five areas earlier this month.

One of the areas being considered is to undertake a feasibility study on the installation of rooftop solar by TNBX Sdn Bhd, a TNB’s subsidiary, on PWD buildings under TNB Solar Energy Purchase Program. Through the MoU TNB is expected to invest, design, install and maintain the solar rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system on PWD buildings throughout a 20 to 25 year contract period. The TNB Solar Energy Purchase program would benefit PWD as it would obtain clean electricity to meet its carbon reduction target without incurring any capital and gain from immediate electricity cost reduction at minimal risk. PWD would be billed for the electricity generated from the solar PV system at a lower rate than the normal TNB electricity tariff, aside from being able to sell back to TNB any excess energy generated from the system under the Net Energy Metering scheme.

The non-binding, non-exclusive three-year MoU was signed by TNBX Managing Director Ir. Nirinder Singh Johl, and the Deputy Director General (Specialist Sector) of PWD Ir. Kamaluddin Abdul Rashid. The four other areas covered in the MoU are Promotion of Green Technology by focusing on joint intentions in public awareness and outreach; Smart Nation by embarking on Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0) smart city solutions; Precision Operation by optimising asset management; and Research Excellence by conducting continuous research initiatives in renewable energy technology.

(Sources: The Sun Daily; BERNAMA; TNB)

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MEDICAL

Malaysian Health Data Warehouse Completes Phase 2 Of Patient Data Collection

Malaysia  -  March 2019

A digital initiative by the Malaysian Ministry of Health, Malaysian Health Data Warehouse (MyHDW) system has completed its second phase of gathering information on outpatients from public and private facilities. The system collects data on people’s visits to any health care facility, inpatient visits, outpatient visits, visits to daycare unit services, as well as visits to clinical support groups like physiotherapy, speech, or audio. About 60 million visits have been recorded from 2.5 million inpatients. The anonymised data was collected from all government hospitals, military hospitals, and daycare unit services since 2017.

MyHDW was launched In October 2017 as a central system to house citizens’ health data. MyHDW was created with local technology developed by MIMOS, the national applied R&D agency for ICT in Malaysia. The data is structured for query and analysis purposes. MyHDW has the capability to generate reports, analyze and disseminate information through a dashboard, featuring disease-based KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

The Health Ministry aspires to make evidence-based decision making in identifying disease trends or deciding on the need for extra health facilities in certain areas by collecting and analyzing data via MyHDW. MyHDW is now in the process of creating a “virtual environment” for researchers to access the data, as part of its third phase. 

(Source: The Malay Mail)

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Highway

ENVIRONMENT

Study On Use Of Plastic Waste To Pave Roads Under Way

Malaysia  -  March 2019

The Public Works Department (PWD) of Malaysia, through its Centre of Excellence for Engineering and Technology (CREATE), is studying road pavement technology utilizing asphalt from waste plastic and latex, in its effort to reduce maintenance costs of retarring conventional asphalts roads which are prone to pothole formation across the country. Two sites of road stretches in Temerloh, Pahang and Chukai, Terengganu, have been involved in the study.

At the Temerloh site, a lane of 175m was paved with a mixture of plastic waste and asphalt, while another stretch of 645m was paved with latex asphalt in September 2017. Three types of paving materials were used at the Kemaman site resurfacing work completed in October 2018, with waste plastic asphalt covering a 615m stretch of road, latex asphalt over a 990m stretch of road, and another 1,330m stretch of road paved by latex mastic asphalt. The study is expected to be concluded after two years of monitoring, but thus far according to PWD the initial observation is positive.

The department is said to be taking the lead from India, which has started to use plastic as an additional component when retarring roads for the past 15 years and found that these roads, currently stretching to about 25,000km across India, are more resilient than the conventional asphalt-paved roads. Indonesia was reported to have started with a similar study in 2017 in Bali. Based on PWD’s account around 2% of the kind of plastic waste generated in Malaysia is usable for the road paving industry, and the country would need to import such waste from countries like Australia and the United Kingdom if it decides to use waste plastic asphalt as a resurfacing material on a wider scale in the future.

(Sources: The Malay Mail; FMT News)

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INFRASTRUCTURE

Malaysia Discussing Possible Port Klang Expansion With China

Malaysia  -  March 2019

Malaysia and China are discussing the possibility of port expansion plans according to the Transport Minister of Malaysia. The government had identified Port Klang as its focus for expansion, given its status as the primary port of the country. The port had two operators, Westports Holdings Bhd and Northport (M) Bhd

The government has talked about expanding Port Klang for some time. It recently gave Westport the green light to expand. 

The previous Barisan Nasional administration had initially planned a third port on nearby Carey Island, as part of an USD 34 billion industrial hub project. In July 2018, the new Pakatan Harapan administration said that it would carry out a feasibility study on the proposed Carey Island port project

(Source: Malaysia Kini; Malay Mail)

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Solar panel 1

MANUFACTURING

US-Incubated Solar Technology Launches At Hanwha Factory In Malaysia

Malaysia  -  March 2019

Massachusetts-based silicon wafer manufacturer 1366 Technologies with its strategic partner Hanhwa Q CELLS Malaysia Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of South Korean module manufacturer Hanhwa Q CELLS Co. Ltd. recently made a formal announcement of scaling plans for their wafer manufacturing plant in Cyberjaya, Selangor. The fab facility is expected to ramp up before September this year.

In what is set to be a cornerstone for multi-gigawatt-scale production facility, the world’s first production factory to feature Direct Wafer manufacturing process is erected next to Hanhwa’s existing cells and module facilities, where 1366 Technologies will utilize to manufacture its Direct Wafers on a gigawatt scale for less than USD 0.20 per piece. The products manufactured from the facility will be supplied directly to Hanhwa’s adjacent cell and module production lines, in keeping with Hanhwa’s effort to enhance products quality and innovate production process to deliver the most value to its customers.  

 (Sources: 1366 Technologies; PV Magazine; Solar Power World)

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DEFENSE / AEROSPACE / AVIATION

Selangor Unveils Action Plan To Develop Aerospace Industry In the State

Malaysia  -  March 2019

The Selangor state through its investment promotion agency, Invest Selangor Berhad (Invest Selangor) has outlined about 30 action plans under a Selangor Aerospace Action Plan, to be carried out by both federal and state governments in order to position the state as a major hub for the aerospace industry in South East Asia, focusing on Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO).

Selangor has been the main hub for Malaysia’s aerospace and aviation industry as more than 62% of the Malaysian aerospace players are based within the state. The industry is strongly supported by a great demand from players in the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for around 30% of the global aerospace and aviation activities and products.

Selangor has three main aerospace hubs located in Sepang, Subang and Serendah, housing more than 200 companies and two airports. The state plans to focus on these three existing hubs, as surrounding areas are still under-utilized. The state plans to provide a more conducive ecosystem for investors and evelop a fully integrated logistics system for the aviation and aerospace industry, leveraging IoT (Internet of Things). There are also plans to enhance the use of robotics in the sector. 

In line with the action plans, Selangor Berhad and UMW Development Sdn Bhd signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 5 March to attract local and international investors to the UMW High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Park in Serendah. The MoU is supposed to facilitate marketing and promotion efforts for the industrial park, and attract high value manufacturing industries, primarily in aerospace but also including other industries that require advanced manufacturing processes. UMW Aerospace has a fan case manufacturing facility for Rolls-Royce in the park, serving as a catalyst to draw in ecosystem stakeholders.

The state government is optimist that a combination of organic and inorganic growth could boost revenue from the aerospace industry in Selangor, in line with the Second Malaysia Aerospace Industry Blueprint 2030, to generate more than MYR 100 bil (USD 24.4 bill) by 2030.

(Sources: The Malaysian Reserve, The Star, The Malay Mail, The Sun Daily)

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RETAIL / FMCG

First Korean Themed Retail Zone Launched In Malaysia

Malaysia  -  March 2019

The largest shopping mall in Malaysia, 1 Utama Shopping Centre has soft-launched the first Korean themed retail zone in the country. The venture is driven by the popularity of K-Pop and K-Drama among Malaysians especially the youth. Dubbed as District K, the four-level retail zone is located at the “1 Utama E” new extension of the mall, which focuses on sports tourism, entertainment and F&B offerings. Phase one of 1 Utama E which was open to public in 2018 offers two sports tourism activities, first of its kind in Malaysia, known as FlowRider (a simulated wave generator featuring sheet wave technology designed in the US for flowboarding, bodyboarding and surfing); and AirRider (an indoor skydiving wind tunnel for simulated sky diving).

District K features an authentic Korean street experience across its 80,000 sq ft area, highlighting several attractions such as a Korean artiste meet and greet viewing gallery, performance and hologram theatre, augmented entertainment, famous Korean restaurants, retail, skincare and beauty. The retail zone is expected to be completed by end of 2019 with an investment value of MYR 120 million (USD 29.3 million). 

The Malaysia Shopping Malls Association (popularly known as PPK Malaysia) recently signed an MoU with the Korean Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) to enhance mutual trade collaboration and co-operation and help bring in new franchise opportunities of Korean companies to shopping malls in Malaysia.

(Sources : The Edge Markets, The Edge Property)

Indonesia

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Indonesia

ECONOMIC NEWS

Indonesia And Australia Sign Economic Partnership Agreement

Indonesia  -  March 2019

On 4 March 2019, Indonesia and Australia signed the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA). Indonesia, which is expected to be the world’s fifth-largest economy by 2030, was Australia’s 13th largest trading partner in 2018.

The purpose of IA-CEPA is to reduce non-tariff barriers to trade and increase investment between the two countries. The newly signed agreement would allow 99% of Australia’s exports to enter Indonesia duty free or with significantly improved preferential arrangements by 2020. Indonesia will guarantee automatic issue of import permits for key products such as live cattle, frozen beef, sheep meat, feed grains, rolled steel coil, citrus products, carrots and potatoes. All Indonesia’s exports will enter Australia duty free.

Market access outcomes on services and investment will provide increased certainty to Australian businesses and services suppliers in the Indonesian market, including guaranteed levels of Australian ownership. Indonesia will not be able to limit the level of Australian ownership – or require that ownership be divested – below the percentages agreed (with limited exceptions).

The IA-CEPA builds on commitments under the existing free trade agreement, the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA). Further steps are required to to bring IA-CEPA into force. For Australia, this will include tabling the text of the agreement in Parliament and an inquiry by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT).  

The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) predicts that textile and footwear industries in Indonesia will benefit most. In turn, Australia will be able to see an increase of wheat, fruits, vegetables, dairy and cattle export. Beyond free trade in goods, IA-CEPA would also open up the service industry in Indonesia, such as education, mining, power plant, hospital, telecommunications, tourism, construction, wastewater, transport and power plant, with possible Australian ownership up to 100%.


(Source: Reuters; Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia)


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Digital learning

ICT

Ping An's Fintech Subsidiary Commences Operations In Indonesia

Indonesia  -  March 2019

OneConnect, a subsidiary of China-based Ping An insurance group commenced operations in Indonesia on 20 February. OneConnect is a Fintech SaaS provider of advanced technology-enabled business solutions to small and medium-sized financial institutions. 

OneConnect has 101 products in four business disciplines including Digital Banking Solutions, Digital Insurance Solutions, Digital Investment Solutions, and SaaS Cloud Platform, covering sales, product development, risk management, operations and technology. It offers tested technology solutions which range from Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Biometrics Identification and other advanced technology solutions that were utilized by Ping An. 

Among the company’s highlighted technologies in Biometric Authentication is the Facial Recognition (FR) technology with 99.8% facial recognition accuracy. Financial institutions in Indonesia could use this technology to accurately and safely verify customers’ identities during the consumer onboarding process. The Blockchain technology could equip Indonesian banks and other financial institutions with end-to-end services that would increase their efficiency, enhance risk-control capabilities and reduce costs. 

OneConnect is partnering with Indonesia’s traditional market association (ASPARINDO) to conduct workshops and perform site visits at markets to help traders and kiosks digitize themselves.  


(Source: PR Newswire)


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Oil   gas drilling

ENERGY

Repsol Makes Largest Gas Discovery In Indonesia In 18 Years

Indonesia  -  March 2019

Repsol, the Spanish energy company, has made the largest gas find in Indonesia in 18 years. The discovery was made in the Sakakemang block in South Sumatra. The KDB-2X well in South Sumatra provides preliminary estimation of at least 2 TCF of recoverable resources or over 250 million barrels of oil equivalent. As an operator, Repsol holds a 45% working interest, while PETRONAS and MOECO owns 45% and 10% respectively.

The discovery is located 25km away from the Grissik gas plant which has the ability to gather and process production from ConocoPhillips-operated Corridor PSC. Corridor PSC is the main supplier of gas to Singapore and West Java. Repsol’s gas discovery came as a positive source for new supply to prolong the life of the Corridor PSC.

Repsol will continue the exploratory work in the coming months with an additional planned appraisal well. It has cooperated closely with SKK Migas on the exploration activity and continues to work on the next steps with Indonesian authorities.

SKK Migas, Indonesia’s upstream regulator, has been upbeat in its exploration efforts notwithstanding a decline in new investment activity. It is targeting of a discovery of at least one new giant field (500 million boe) by 2023.


(Sources: Energy Voice; Energy Global)


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MEDICAL

Indonesia Opens Up Universities And Hospitals To Foreign Investment

Indonesia  -  March 2019

The Investment Coordination Board (BKPM) of Indonesia revealed that government is considering revising its Negative List (Daftar Negatif Investasi) to allow foreigners to operate foreign universities and hospitals in the country.

Under the new proposed regulation, foreign universities could own up to 67% of shares. Those located in special economic zones (SEZs) are allowed to have as much as 100% shares. In response, BKPM has received interests from mainly Australian universities.

As for hospitals, the Indonesian government plans to relax foreign investment rules as the country is still dealing with hospital shortages. Currently, the country allows 67% ownership in foreign investment in private hospitals and 70% ownership if investors came from ASEAN countries. The number is expected to go up after the implementation which will take place after Indonesia’s election in April 2019.  


(Source: The Jakarta Post)


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Co2 emissions

ENVIRONMENT

Indonesia And UK Sign Low Carbon Energy MoU

Indonesia  -  March 2019

On 20 February 2019, the United Kingdom and Indonesia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on low carbon energy development. Under the MoU, the UK will provide a USD 19.5 million grant to fund programs across Indonesia over the period of four years, starting from June 2019.

The targeted programs are matchmaking between the private sector and the government, capacity building for stakeholders, policy making assistance and pilot projects focused on Eastern Indonesia.

In addition, the MoU will cover programs such as the flagship Prosperity Fund Indonesia Renewable Energy Programme and the Prosperity Fund ASEAN Low Carbon Energy Programme (Green Finance). The UK Cross-Government Prosperity Fund aims to foster economic growth through revamping infrastructure and energy in the country.


(Sources: Tempo; The Jakarta Post)


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INFRASTRUCTURE

Construction Of New Jakarta Airport To Start In 2021

Indonesia  -  March 2019

The state-owned airport operator, PT Angkasa Pura II, plans to build a new greenfield airport in Jakarta starting 2021. It is estimated that Indonesia would invest as much as USD 7 billion dollars for the project. The move is motivated by the unprecedented travel boom in the region, as well as in response to Indonesia’s president identifying tourism as a key foreign-exchange earner of the country.

Currently, PT Angkasa Pura II is carrying out a feasibility study. The new airport might be constructed near the existing Soekarno-Hatta International airport or built on 2,000 hectares land reclaimed from the sea. Moving forward, the airport operator will have to make the decision as to whether to construct the airport on its own or seek another’s firm collaboration.

PT Angkasa Pura II has been investing hundreds of million dollars in revamping the existing airport. A new terminal and runway were built to accommodate approximately 25 million passengers from about 9 million.

Other than Jakarta, PT Angkasa Pura is selecting a strategic investor for Kualanamu International Airport in Medan. Out of the 16 preferred bidders, the winning partner may own a maximum of 49% in the joint venture operating the newly built airport.


(Sources: Airport Technology; South China Morning Post)


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MANUFACTURING

IPhone Manufacturer Commencing Operation In Batam, Indonesia

Indonesia  -  March 2019

Pegatron Corporation, an Apple’s iPhones manufacturer, is looking to start production in April this year after it confirmed the rental of a 2-hectare factory in Riau Islands in Batam. The Taipei-based company’s investment is estimated to reach up to USD 300 million, including an initial investment of USD 40 million. The news came after Pegatron released statement that it has chosen Batam-based PT Sat Nusapersada to assemble electronic products for export purposes.

Pegatron’s decision came just as the deadline to resolve dual leadership in Batam looms. Earlier, there was a lack of clarity on issuance of business licenses, as both the Batam Development Industrial Authority, which reports directly to the central government and the Batam administration had the authority to issue them. The government took a decision to merge the two bodies but it was not supported by the ruling party's coalition partners. Hence, the implementation has been postponed till after the election in April. 

Furthermore, Batam is still waiting on the approval of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) set forth to incentivize foreign companies to relocate to the island as a consequence of the United States – China trade war. The development of two special economic zones (SEZs) on Batam has been proposed, offering bigger tax incentives for businesses, while retaining its Free Trade Zone status. 


(Source: The Jakarta Post)


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Aeroplanes in airport

DEFENSE / AEROSPACE / AVIATION

British Energy Firm BP Enters Indonesia's Avtur Market

Indonesia  -  March 2019

PT AKR Corporindo, Indonesia’s logistics and supply chain company operating in fuel and basic chemical distribution, has entered a joint venture with British Energy Firm BP to be a new player in Indonesia’s avtur or jet fuel market. This step was taken to curb the recent price increase of jet fuel in the market, with President Joko Widodo hinting the possibility of opening the market to private companies.

Currently, Pertamina, the state-owned oil and gas holding company, is the only supplier of jet fuel to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Their monopoly has received negative response from domestic airlines, such as PT Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air and PT AirAsia Indonesia, as the recent price increase from Pertamina had given them no choice but to pass it on to customers.

Backlash over the price hike has prompted the president to order a review on domestic jet fuel prices. In response, Pertamina has lowered avtur price by 3% to 56 cents per liter. The airlines have followed through by reducing the price of plane tickets by as much as 60% for certain domestic routes.

(Sources: The Jakarta Post; Bloomberg)

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RETAIL / FMCG

IFC Approves USD 275 Million Loan To Indonesia's Trans Corp

Indonesia  -  March 2019

International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a loan package of USD 275 million to PT Trans Corpora (Trans Corp), a wholly owned subsidiary of CT Corp. CT Corp is a diversified Indonesian-based holding company, active in the financial services, media, lifestyle & entertainment and natural resources industry. The aim of the financing is to support the growth of its retail, tourism and property operations across the country.

IFC’s investment will help Trans Corp to add new retail stores across 25 cities by 2025 which is expected to create over 30,000 new jobs in Indonesia. Furthermore, they are also working with over 6,000 suppliers in Indonesia, of which 70% are Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and create approximately 23,000 jobs in areas such as farming and distribution.

In terms of tourism, IFC’s investment will assist Trans Corp to expand its tourism operations. Trans Corp has an agreement with Accor, a global hospitality company, to develop 30 new hotels, creating another 6,000 rooms across Indonesia.

The loan would also help address Indonesia's housing deficit, as Trans Corp property operations as the company is developing more than 10,000 affordable apartments across multiple locations. The company is also committed to promote resource efficient building to meet IFC EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) Green Building Standard. The building sector is Indonesia’s third-largest energy consumer and made up as much as 27% of Indonesia’s total final energy consumption.


(Source: International Finance Corporation; Antara News)


Thailand

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ECONOMIC NEWS

Thailand Board Of Investment Approves 5 Large Projects

Thailand  -  March 2019

The Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) has approved investment incentives for five projects with a total investment of value of over USD 1.3 billion.

The projects include:

1. A W (Thailand) Co., Ltd., was granted investment promotion incentives for its automatic transmission production project worth around USD 230 million. Located in Chonburi Province, this project will produce and supply automatic transmissions to both local and overseas carmakers.

2. General Rubber (Thailand) Co., Ltd. was granted investment promotion incentives for its vehicle tires production project worth USD 305 million. Located in Rayong Province, this project will boost local rubber consumption in support of the government’s policy as it will use approximately 35,398 tons per year of natural rubber.

3. Mr. Xunning Ju was granted investment promotion incentives for a vehicle tire production project worth over USD 315 million. Located in Chonburi Province, this project will increase local rubber consumption in support of the government’s policy as it will use approximately 23,838 tons per year of natural rubber.

4. Flying Officer Ronnachai Wongcha-um was granted investment promotion incentives for an aircraft heavy maintenance and repair center, a joint venture between Thai Airways International Plc and a global aircraft manufacturer. The USD 200 million project will be located at the Eastern Airport City (EEC-A) in Rayong Province. The project will enhance the country’s competitive advantages, especially in terms of new aircraft maintenance. It will also provide local aviation technicians with an opportunity to enhance their skills to comply with international standards.

5. Thai Lion Mentari Co., Ltd. was granted investment promotion incentives for its air transportation project with a total investment value of around USD 220 million. The low-cost airline will operate domestic and international services, which will support Thailand’s aviation and tourism industries.

 (Source: Thailand Board of Investment)

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ICT

DEPA Thailand Partners With 6 IoT Companies To Support Digital Park Thailand

Thailand  -  March 2019

The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) of Thailand has entered into partnerships with several companies specializing in Internet-of-Things (IoT) technologies. These companies will colllaborate with DEPA to help forward the Thai government's Thailand 4.0 policy and support the planned Digital Park Thailand and the IoT Institute. DEPA is establishing Digital Park Thailand in the Eastern Economic Corridor aiming for it to be the next digital R&D hub of the ASEAN region. Eight digital clusters will be promoted in Digital Park areas including: Computer Hardware; Semi/superconductor; Smart Device, IoT, Robotics; Big Data & AI; Intelligent Platform & Auto System; Immersive Content; Satellite & Broadcast; Future Ultra High Broadband; and Digital Tech Startups. DEPA also plans to spend THB 1.6 billion (USD 50 million) to establish an IoT Institute as part of the Digital Park in the EEC by 2020.

The companies are as below: 


  1. Unity, a leading game development platform which also provides design services for automotive and other manufacturing industries and also enables real-time workflow to CG content creators in film and animation

  2. Spotwerkz, a Bangkok-based big data analytics company

  3. Willowmore, Asingapore-based company whose technologies include  Access Control Management systems, Enterprise Smart Locks, IOT gateways, Monitoring solutions, Robotics & Automation and Artificial Intelligence

  4. Gobi Partners, a leading early stage investors in IT in China and ASEAN, which manages 11 funds and has nine offices across China, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. 

  5. UnaBiz, an IoT network operator and the exclusive network operator of Sigfox’s low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) in Singapore and Taiwan

  6. Ascent Solutions, a Singapore-based IoT company that specialises in cargo security and track & trace for smart logistics and has deep domain knowledge in technologies such as NB-IoT, Satcom, GPRS, Active and Passive RFID

(Source: e27) 

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ENERGY

Thailand Is Building the Largest Floating Solar Farms In The World

Thailand  -  March 2019

Thailand is planning to build the largest floating solar farms in the world, aiming at boosting the country’s production of renewable energy. The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) is scheduled to launch 16 solar farms that will have a combined capacity of more than 2.7 gigawatts by 2037. EGAT declared that, once these projects will be completed, floating solar will account for one tenth of Thailand’s clean energy sources.

The bidding for the first floating solar project will begin in two months and will be open to international companies. The first 45 megawatt farm at Sirindhorn Dam in northeast Thailand will have a budget set at USD 63 million, and it is expected that the farm will come online in 2020.

Thailand has been moving towards generating more electricity from renewable sources. The country has set the goal that renewable energy will make up 27% of overall capacity by 2037, according to its latest power development plan.

(Sources: The Bangkok Post; Energy Live News)

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MEDICAL

Thailand takes steps towards legal use of medicinal marijuana

Thailand  -  March 2019

The government of Thailand has been taking steps towards the legal use of marijuana, following the proposal of amendments in October 2018 that would legalize marijuana production and establish licenses for possession and distribution. Recreational use still remains illegal. 

Regulations from the Ministry of Health legalizing possession of marijuana for medical, research and other purposes were published in the Royal Gazette in late February. They covered possession by patients who need marijuana for the treatment of the illness, and the criteria for legal possession by governmental organizations, professionals, private universities, farm community-based enterprises, international transport operators and patients travelling internationally.

Subsequently a 90-day registration period for legal possession of marijuana was opened, which will end on 19 May. Registration can be done at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) office in Bangkok and also at provincial health offices.

Meanwhile, the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) opened Thailand's first legal cannabis plantation on 27 February as the first step towards developing Thailand's own patented cannabis medicines. The plantation facility built with an investment of THB 100 million (USD 3.2 million) is equipped with advanced hi-tech closed-system aeroponics farming technology, which will ensure the crops meet the high medical-grade standard required to manufacture medicine from the plants.

Output from this facility will be used to produce cannabis oil which will be tested on selected patients, possibly by July. Extracts or "sublingual drops" will be administered to patients suffering from nausea and pain from chemotherapy, among other ailments.

(Sources: Chiang Rai Times; Straits Times: Channel NewsAsia; Thaivisa News)

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ENVIRONMENT

Thailand Plans New Taxes For Polluters

Thailand  -  March 2019

The Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) of Thailand and the Finance Ministry have drafted a law imposing new taxes and fees on polluters. According to the draft of the law, the Finance Ministry will be given stronger powers for fighting pollution, outlining seven key measures such as environmental taxes; management fees such as water treatment; taxes and fees on products that cause environment problems; deposits against environmental risks and damages; trading rights to use natural resources or to emit pollution; subsidies and support measures; and other measures.

Public awareness about environmental problems increased after the air quality in Bangkok and surrounding areas became toxic between late 2018 and early 2019.

(Source: The Bangkok Post)

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INFRASTRUCTURE

Thai Government Aiming For Completion Of Laos Rail Link By 2023

Thailand  -  March 2019

The government of Thailand is aiming for completion of the Thai-Sino high-speed railway project, linking Bangkok and Nong Khai, a Thai province on the border with Laos, by 2023, so that it can connect to another fast rail project in Laos, the Laos-China rail link expected to be completed in 2021. The route will ultimately connect with Vientiane, the capital of Laos, starting from Na Tha station in Nong Khai's Muang district and passing over the new Thai-Lao friendship bridge.

Upon completion, the high-speed railway with an estimated cost of THB 110 billion (USD 3.5 billion), will reduce travelling time between Bangkok and Nong Khai to around 3 hours from the current 11 hours. 

The project is divided into two phases. The first is a 253 km long section from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima, while the second phase will cover the 355 km from Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai. Work on the first phase has been dvided into into 14 civil work contracts. Under the first contract worth THB 425 million (USD 13.3 million), construction started on a 3.5 km section from Klang Dong to Pang Asok in Nakhon Ratchasima's Pak Chong district and it is around 45% completed. 

The second contract worth THB 3.1 billlion (USD 98 billion) covers an 11 km section from Sikhiu district to tambon Kut Chik in Sung Noen district in Nakhon Ratchasima. It was signed on 6 March and construction is expected to start in April. The remaining 12 civil work contracts for the first phase are expected to be signed in April. 

(Sources: Bangkok Post; Eleven Myanmar)

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MANUFACTURING

Scania Opens New Assembly Facility In Thailand

Thailand  -  March 2019

Scania, a Swedish manufacturer of commercial vehicles, launched a new assembly facility for trucks and bus chassis in the Bangkok Free Trade Zone. The new factory, which also holds a manufacturing facility for truck cabs, is the biggest investment in production that Scania has made outside Europe and Latin America. The facility covers a surface of 33,900 square metres and the total investment in the factory is THB 800 million (USD 26 million).

Scania Group Thailand is a fully cross-functional set-up and includes employees from Scania´s Production and Logistics, R&D, Purchasing as well as Sales and Marketing organisations. The facility will be working with around 15 main parts suppliers, including domestic Thai and international suppliers based in Thailand, as well as  other countries in South East Asia. 

In addition to the new facility, Scania has established a regional headquarters in Thailand, to support Scania’s distributors throughout Asia and Oceania in developing business in their markets.

(Sources: Scania; Automotive Logistics)

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DEFENSE / AEROSPACE / AVIATION

New MRO Joint Venture Launched In Thailand's EEC

Thailand  -  March 2019

BOSA-Thayaan Aircraft Service Company (BTAS) has become the first aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) organization to be approved under the Royal Thai Government’s (RTG) Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) initiative. The EEC’s vision for the aviation and aerospace community is to build the eastern seaboard of Thailand into a regional MRO hub.

BTAS is a joint-venture between UK-based BOSA (BOS Aerospace Ltd.) and Thailand-based Thayaan Consult’s Group.  BTAS currently holds Part-145 maintenance certifications, and can perform line maintenance on nearly all aircraft types except for the A380/A350.

BTAS is looking at expanding MRO operations within Thailand and Southeast Asia. The company is currently in negotiations with regional airport authorities to bring its line maintenance capabilities in the near future.

(Sources: BTAS; MRO-Network.com)

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RETAIL / FMCG

Companies Betting On Healthier Beverages In Thailand

Thailand  -  March 2019

Suntory PepsiCo Beverage (Thailand) Company Limited or SPBT, producer and distributor of the most popular beverages under Suntory and PepsiCo, is further expanding its array of refreshment products with the introduction of a new beverage, ‘goodmood’. The new product aims at capturing the growing trend of the new category ‘Water Plus’, which is a premium refreshing hydration with healthier proposition. Priced at around USD 0.6, ‘goodmood’ is available in two varieties: premium taste profile of “Blackcurrant” (available only at 7-Eleven stores) and for the first time of  “Yogurt” in clear form, available in a 450-ml PET bottle at convenience stores, supermarkets and traditional trade stores nationwide. ‘

In recent years, the beverage market in Thailand has been driven by a rising demand for healthier drinks. This has been reflected in increasing consumption of water and non-carbonated soft drinks, which now account for around 70% of the total market.

Another example of the growth of the healthier segment for the beverage market in Thailand is represented by the new strategic partnership that Sappe Holding Thailand Company Limited and Myen Pte Ltd (Danone), a 100% subsidiary of Danone, have entered into in 2019. The new joint venture, Danone Sappe Beverages Company Limited will develop, manufacture, market and distribute “healthier choice” beverages in Thailand.

In 2017, the government introduced a progressive sugar tax to nudge drink-makers to reduce the sweetness of their products. Drinks with a sugar content of under 6g per 100ml were exempt, but those with 18g of sugar content per 100ml faced a tax of THB 1 (USD 0.032) per liter.

(Sources: The Nation; Bangkok Post)

Vietnam

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Vietnam

ECONOMIC NEWS

Van Don EZ Being Developed In Vietnam's Quang Ninh Province

Vietnam  -  March 2019

The Vietam government is planning to develop Quang Ninh Provice's Van Don economic zone (EZ) into a dynamic economic hub with a focus on tourism, as well as the production of high-quality products and services. An international trade centre for the region will also be developed in the EZ, as part of the construction planning of the EZ until 2040 approved by Prime Minister. The plan th covers the development of industry, services, tourism, office buildings, housing, healthcare, education, culture and sports in order to meet the needs of the EZ and surrounding areas

As per the plan, the EZ is expected to reach Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) of USD 1.98 billion and GRDP per capita of USD 12,242 in 2030, which would be four times higher than the expected level in 2020 and create jobs for 106,000 people. The provincial People’s Committee has estimated that the Van Don EZ will require investment of around USD 70.2 billion by 2050. This investment will be sourced from the State budget, the private sector and foreign direct investment. 

Relevant ministries and agencies have been tasked with evaluating topographic features, climate, hydrology and geology, along with the natural and tourism resources of Van Don and its surrounding regions. An evaluation of the echnical and environmental infrastructure, including transport, water and electricity supply, waste water drainage and solid waste treatment, is also planne, along with an assessment of the socio-economic development, covering factors such as population development, occupational structure and employment rate and problems caused by urbanisation.

(Source: Vietnam News)

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ICT

Vietnam Government Launches National E-document Exchange Platform

Vietnam  -  March 2019

The government office has launched a National e-Document Exchange Platform that connects Vietnam government offices, ministries, agencies, and localities, and enables secure sharing of data to support progress towards e-Government, e-Cabinet and digital economy.

In July, the Prime Minister of Vietnam signed Decision No. 28/2018/QD-TTg prescribing the sending and receipt of e-documents among government agencies. According to the Decision, e-document refers to a document in the form of data message created or digitized from a paper document using a protocol or format specified by a competent state agency. E-documents that bear a digital signature in accordance with law and are sent and received via document management and administration systems specified in this Decision have the same legal validity as paper documents and may substitute for paper documents.

Every e-document is supposed to be sent on the day when it is signed or by the morning of the subsequent working day. After being received, incoming e-documents which are legally valid are supposed to be promptly processed without having to wait for paper documents (if any). Urgent e-documents shall be put in the priority mode clearly stating the urgency level, sent immediately after a digital signature is put on it and submitted or transferred for processing right after being received.

Currently, the Party Central Committee’s office, 31 ministries and agencies, and 63 provinces and cities have connected to the platform to speed up sending and receiving documents with a safer manner. The platform is expected to result in cost savings of more than VND 1.2 trillion (USD 52.17 million) each year and improve the state administrative bodies’ effectiveness and quality. The Government also hopes to put into use an information system to serve the Cabinet’ meetings and work processing (eCabinet) and a national public service portal to monitor online service delivery by ministries and agencies.

Relevant  stakeholders have been asked to continue working to complete national databases on population, insurance, finance, business registration, national land, electronic household registration, and specialised data, which will be connected with the platform during the 2020-2025 period. 

(Sources: Vietnam Ministry of Information and Communication; Vietnam News)

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ENERGY

Vietnam To Raise Retail Electricity Prices by 8.36%

Vietnam  -  March 2019

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)'s Electricity Regulatory Authority has raised the retail price for electricity by 8.36% to an average of 1,864.4 VND (USD 0.0804) per kilowatt hour, excluding VAT. According to the plan, the new prices are:


  • Retail prices for households now range from VND 1,678 (USD 0.072) per kWh to VND 2,927 (USD 0.13) per kWh depending on usage.

  • Poor households would still receive support equivalent to 30 kWh per month.

  • Power tariffs for businesses and industrial zones are now divided into two levels: VND 3,076 (USD 0.13) per kWh for peak hours and VND 970 (USD 0.042) per kWh for off-peak hours.

The decision is based on a review of input costs for electricity production including coal and gas  as well as interest rate differences in EVN’s foreign currency-denominated debts. The increased power tariff revenue of over VND 20 trillion (USD 0.86 billion) would be used to buy coal and pay gas suppliers and power plants.

Vietnam’s hydropower potential has almost been fully exploited, while oil and gas reserves are running low. Furthermore, the depletion of coal reserves has turned Vietnam from a net exporter to net importer of coal in the recent years. The government is simutaneously developing favorable policies for new investment in renewable energy such as solar and wind energy in order to meet the energy demand from the fast growing manufacturing industries in the contry.

(Sources: Vietnam News; EVN)

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MEDICAL

Satellite-Based Dengue Forecasting System Launched In Vietnam

Vietnam  -  March 2019

A dengue fever forecasting Model Satellite-based system (D-MOSS) was launched in Hanoi in March 2019. The early warning system created by D-MOSS is being piloted in Hanoi, Dak Lak, Khanh Hoa and Dong Nai. The project aims to develop tools which allows the government and public health authorities to: issue alerts for dengue, so that relevant agencies and communities can take appropriate actions to mitigate the impacts and damages caused by dengue outbreaks; and provide assessment of vector-borne disease risks under future climate and land-use chage scenarios. Vietnam witnessed a surge in dengue cases in 2017 experiencing over 170,000 cases of infection across the country. 

The system will take into account water supplies and precipitation that directly affect mosquito breeding sites along with other variables such as the number of dengue cases, land use and temperature. 

The project is funded by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme, and developed with joint efforts of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and a consortium led by HR Wallingford, a civil engineering and environmental hydraulics organisation created by the UK Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. The consortium comprises HR Wallingford, UNDP, WHO, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Met Office and Oxford Policy Management in the UK, Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Climate Change of the Viet Nam Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Pasteur Institute Ho Chi Minh City and the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology of the Ministry of Health. The International Partnership Programme is a five-year, GBP 152 million (USD 200 million) programme designed to partner UK space expertise with overseas governments and organizations to deliver sustainable, economic or societal benefits. 

(Sources: Vietnam News; United Nations Development Programme)

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Electricity bulb light

ENVIRONMENT

Vietnam Government Exploring Measures To Reduce Industrial Energy Use

Vietnam  -  March 2019

With the industrial sector account for 47% of Vietnam's total energy consumption, the country's Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) is reviewing businesses to explore reduction of energy usage by the high volume consumers of energy. 

MOIT has planned several policies, such as requiring enterprises to have staff specialising in saving energy and have an energy audit every three years. They will also have to report on their energy consumption and plans to save energy to authorities in their localities. In addition, the government is providing technical support for energy audits, conducting worker training and showcasing energy saving technologies, under the national programme on energy saving for the 2019-30 period. The national programme includes a target of reducing energy loss in the steel and cement sectors to 16.5%. This will be implemented in two phases, the first from 2019-25 and the second from 2026-30, and could reduce the country's total energy used by between 5 and 7% in the first phase.

The ministry has also received USD 6 million fund from Denmark for setting up a fund for brick manufacturers to upgrade their equipment and save energy. Within 2 years,  63 small- and medium-sized firms manufacturing bricks have accessed loans from the fund.

MOIT is also making preparation for an energy saving project which will provide technical support to businesses, with support from the World Bank through Vietcombank and BIDV.

(Source: Vietnam News)

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INFRASTRUCTURE

Smart City Plan Approved For Binh Duong Province

Vietnam  -  March 2019

A smart city plan has been approved for Binh Duong province. The plan will focus on applications of advanced technologies in the areas of electronic government and traffic management and training of high-quality human resources. It also includes the development of a hi-tech industrial park and LED lighting project, along with support for entrepreneurs. 

Many big projects are expected to be finished in 2019, such as a Centre for Community Initiatives and Start-up Support, two Fablabs at Thu Dau Mot University and Vietnam-Singapore Vocational College. In addition a project to build a Science and Technology Industrial Park is awaiting government approval. 

The province is inviting investors from foreign countries as well as experts from local and international business to help with the implementation of the plan. Related events are being organized since 2016. The WTA Summit in 2018 attracted 100 members from the World Technopolis Association (WTA) from nearly 50 countries and territories.

Source: Vietnam Net

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Solar

MANUFACTURING

Foreign Solar Panel Manufacturers Setting Up Facilities In Vietnam

Vietnam  -  March 2019

Vietnam is becoming a  favored destination for solar photovoltaics (PV) manufacturers, driven by the low costs of manufacturing in Vietnam combined with rising global demand and US tariffs of up to 165% on crystalline silicon PV solar imports from China and Taiwan to prevent dumping. 

In early March 2019, TTI Group from the US expressed interest in developing a solar panel manufacturing plant and an R&D center in Saigon Hi-Tech Park (SHTP) in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) with an investment of USD 150 million. First Solar, one of the US biggest solar manufacturers, is also set to return to Vietnam five years after leaving the country. It is moving forward on its plans for the initial factory, and has committed to a second factory in Dong Nam Industrial Park in Ho Chi Minh City. The two factories are expected to produce 2.4 gigawatts (GW) worth of First Solar’s Series 6 modules annually after becoming fully operational. The company is also looking into module supply agreements to support local projects.

Meanwhile, in the North of Vietnam, Chinese and Taiwanese companies are main investors. Bac Giang has eight projects which will form the largest solar energy equipment manufacturing chain in Vietnam, with a total capacity of 5,200 megawatts (MW) per year. One of those plants is being constructed by JA Solar with capital of investment up to USD 280 million. Some well-known Chinese manufacturers such as Trina Solar, JA Solar, and Bowerway Group have been shifting production to Vietnam for a while now. In 2019 Trina Solar announced a new 258 MW project located in Ninh Thuan, the central province of Vietnam. This is one of the largest solar power projects with investment capital of 220 million USD from Vietnam’s Trung Nam Group.

(Source: Vietnam Net)

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Passenger plane fly up over take off runway from airport

DEFENSE / AEROSPACE / AVIATION

New MoU Signed Between Vietnam Airlines And Sabre

Vietnam  -  March 2019

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed by Vietnam Airlines and Sabre, a leading provider of systems for air bookings, as part of efforts to take forward the implementation of the former's Digital Transformation Programme. This new agreement follows a USD 400 million renewed deal between Vietnam Airlines and Sabre in 2018.

Under the MOU, Vietnam Airlines would potentially pay USD 300 million for innovative technology from Sabre AirVision and AirCenter portfolio. The state-owned airline expects that its existing passenger service system (PSS) will be complemented by SabreSonic which helps to deliver cost savings and improve operational efficiency.

Vietnam Airlines is considering the application of a new, long-term domistic content distribution agreement through the Sabre Global Distribution System (GDS). One of the airline's subsidiary will also adopt the SabreSonic PSS. A deal is expected to be finalized within a few months to implement a single integrated passenger technology platform across both airlines.

(Source: Aerospace Technology)

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Supermarket

RETAIL / FMCG

Local Brands Continue To Dominate Vietnamese Market

Vietnam  -  March 2019

The lastest report from Nielsen on Vietnam's FMCG market has found that Vietnamese manufacturers earned 42% of the FMCG sector’s total revenues, in the four largest market segments -- food, beverages, home care and personal care products. A 2019 report from Kantar Worldpanel also found similar numbers, stating that local brands account for up to 71% market share in larger cities and 78% in rural areas. In the food and beverage segments, Vietnamese enterprises, have a market share of 69% and 45% respectively.

The local brands have the advantage of understanding consumers’ customs and tastes and having extensive distribution networks reaching into the remotest parts of the country. In addition, their quality has been improving recently and their prices have become more competitive and more and more modern retail chains are becoming distributors for local FCMG manufacturers.

However this has meant that foreign companies have been acquiring local brands as an entry point into the market. There is an increasing pace of M&A deals in Vietnam, mostly stayed with state-owned companies who are privatizing their businesses. Kinh Do, one of the largest food processing manufacturers in Vietnam sold its entire confectioneries business to Mondelez International. Thaibev acquired a controlling stake in Sabeco, the largest beverage company in Vietnam in terms of market share, in December 2017. South Korean CJ Corp acquired over 70% share of food processor Cau Tre Foods and 100% of kimchi distributor Ong Kim, in 2018. The same company also acquired 4% share in Vissan Vietnam's leading meat processors. 

(Source: Vietnam News)

Philippines

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City skyscrapers building

ECONOMIC NEWS

Philippines Secures Investment Pledges Of USD 1.24 Billion From Japanese Firms

Philippines  -  March 2019

Trade and economic relationship between the Philippines and Japan remains strong, as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippines and the Board of Investments (BOI) recently secured investment pledges of USD 1.24 billion from Japanese firms during its business mission to Japan from March 11-13, 2019.

These investments are in the areas of manufacturing, retail, real estate, automotive, agriculture, as well as education. Among the firms which have committed investments are the following:


  1. Mitsubishi Corporation, in a joint venture with a Filipino real estate company, will build affordable housing units with an investment of USD 76 million.

  2. Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd., together with Magsaysay Maritime Corporation, will inaugurate the MOL Magsaysay Maritime Academy for USD 5.3 million.

  3. Itochu Corporation, through its subsidiary Dolefil and in collaboration with Metro Pacific Investment Corporation, will invest in a waste-to-energy project worth USD 19.2 million converting fruit wastes into bio-gas.

  4. Sumitomo Wiring Systems will invest USD 46 million into a manufacturing facility to produce wire harness systems for automotive. The BOI will assist the company in identifying potential location of the factory.

  5. ISE Food’s USD 250 million will be poured into building a large-scale poultry farm composed of five integrated farms with a combined capacity of six (6) million layers.               

  6. Nomura and Isetan Mitsukoshi eye expansion and will open a Japanese retail concept mall which will offer 30,000 retail spaces and 1,400 housing units in Cebu or Davao.

  7. Tescom Denki aims to establish its manufacturing facility for beauty care products in the Philippines.

  8. NIDEC Corporation is interested to create an Automation Team in the Philippines in charge of mass production of devices for robots.   

  9. Terumo Philippines will develop new products in the Philippines.

These projects are expected to create 16,000 local jobs in the Philippines. Meanwhile, the DTI and BOI addressed the concerns of foreign companies on the new incentive system for foreign investors amid the newly-enforced TRAIN law as well as the second wave of taxation called the Tax Reform for Attracting Better and Higher Quality Opportunities (TRABAHO) Bill.

(Sources: Philippine News Agency; Manila Bulletin)

 

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Kids girl learning focus

ICT

Philippines Unveils National ICT Ecosystem Framework

Philippines  -  March 2019

The Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has launched a roadmap for national ICT development and policy formulation co-developed with a global non-profit organization, the Internet Society. The National ICT Ecosystem Framework or NICTEF succeeds the Philippine Digital Strategy of 2011-2016 and is envisioned as a comprehensive blueprint that will enable the consolidation and harmonization of the country’s ICT data, thereby transforming raw data in to valuable information. The NICTEF will be an authoritative reference source for the government's acitivities regrading ICT development, as well as a living document (https://www.ictecosystem.org.ph/) that shall be updated periodically with the latest plans, programs and projects, including recent indicators, accomplishments, outcomes and results.

Several interdependent framework elements have been identified in the National ICT ecosystem:


  • Human Capital: Talents and Skills – the individuals who access the applications, services, content and data that are provided by the players in the ICT ecosystem.

  • Affordable Access and Devices – the interfaces through which humans access the applications, services, content and data – these may include wearable devices, cellphones, laptops, desktop computers, internet cafes, and other similar devices or venues.

  • Platforms (Apps/Services and Content/Data) – these are the solutions (or portions of a solution) which are accessed by users in the ecosystem in order to achieve equitable, inclusive, and sustainable development in our society, and potentially to improve their quality of life.

  • Infostructure/Infrastructure – these are the physical and logical components which collectively perform the function of providing secure connectivity between the users, their devices, and the platform which they are accessing.

  • Standards, Regulation, and Policies – these provide the boundaries which will allow for the players and elements within the ecosystem to safely and productively inter-connect and inter-operate.

The framework has six strategic thrusts: (1) Participatory e-Governance (2) Industry and Countryside Development (3) Resource Sharing and Capacity Building (4) Improved Public Links and Connectivity (5) ICT User Protection and Information Security, and (6) Enabling and Sustainable ICT Environment.   

In order to measure the progress of the ecosystem, indicators have been selected: 1) Network Readiness Index (World Economic Forum); 2) ICT Development Index (International Telecommunications Union); 3) Digital Adoption Index (World Bank); 4) Freedom on the Net Index (Freedom House); 5) World Digital Competitiveness Ranking (IMD World Competitiveness Center); 4) Affordability Drivers Index (Alliance for Affordable Internet); 5) Inclusive Internet Index [Economist Intelligence Unit]; and 6) E-Government Development Index (United Nations).

(Sources: Department of Information and Communications Technology, Philippines; The Philippine Star)

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Oil gas petroleum ship platform

ENERGY

First Gen Receives Notice To Proceed With LNG Terminal Project

Philippines  -  March 2019

FGEN LNG Corporation (FGEN LNG), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Philippine energy company, First Gen Corporation (First Gen), has learned of the approval of its application for a Notice to Proceed (NTP) from the Department of Energy (DOE) as required by the Philippine Downstream Natural Gas Regulation (PDNGR). As per First Gen, they are awaiting the formal notice from the DOE. The application was for the construction of the FGEN Batangas LNG Terminal Project to be located in the First Gen Clean Energy Complex in Batangas City.

Japan-based utility company, Tokyo Gas, plans to hold a 20% stake in the project that is expected to commence operations in 2023. The project aims to construct and operate the first LNG receiving terminal in the Philippines. The FGEN Batangas LNG Terminal Project is intended to serve the natural gas requirements of existing and future gas-fired power plants of third parties and FGEN LNG affiliates.The new terminal will have an annual capacity of 5.26 million tons and investment cost is estimated to be USD 10 billion.

First Gen decided to build the gas import terminal due to the projected depletion of local supplies by 2024. The Philippine government has thus far approved 2 LNG hubs projects. The partnership with Tokyo Gas and First Gen is the largest in capacity size. 

First Gen is one of the biggest independent power producers in the country and the leading gas power generation company in the Philippines with approximately 2,000 MW in operating gas assets composed of four gas-fired power plants – the 1,000 MW Santa Rita Power Plant, the 500 MW San Lorenzo Power Plant, the 414 MW San Gabriel Power Plant and the 97 MW Avion Power Plant, all of which currently operate on Malampaya gas supply.

(Sources: First Gen; The Japan Times) 

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MEDICAL

Philips Partners With Ayala For Integrated Health Technology Solution

Philippines  -  March 2019

Philips Philippines and Ayala Healthcare Holdings Inc. (AC Health) signed a memorandum of understanding to build an integrated and advanced health technology solution.

The collaboration between the two firms, that aims to provide better and seamless healthcare services to the community, will include the expansion of primary care and other specialty clinics with a total solution proposition such as provision of medical devices, clinical workflow design, software and solutions. Part of the agreement is the necessary training that Philips will provide to AC health including its cutting-edge health technology solutions such as the Lumify ultrasound solution and sleep and respiratory care solutions.

With the healthcare sector clouded by challenges like aging population, rise of chronic diseases and resource constraints, Philips believes that building integrated health solutions can help clinicians better diagnose and treat their patients.

(Source: The Daily Tribune; Manila Times; The Philippine Star)

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Landfill

ENVIRONMENT

San Miguel Corporation To Fund PHP 1 Billion Cleanup Of Tullahan River

Philippines  -  March 2019

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has inked a five-year deal with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the Philippines to cleanup the Tullahan river. SMC has pledged to provide PHP 1 billion (USD 19 million) funding for a comprehensive dredging and cleanup program for the river. Cleaning of the 59.24-kilometer Tullahan river will play a crucial role in the rehabilitation of Manila bay, as the river traverses to several cities before reaching the shore of Manila bay.

For decades, SMC has been making efforts to make sure that only clean water is being disposed to the river through its wastewater facilities as well as dredging the Tullahan river. It has also donated backhoes and a barge to local government units for its cleanup programs in the past. To further its contribution, under the five-year agreement SMC will:


  • Implement dredging and clean-up plan provided by the DENR to reduce solid wastes and floating debris.

  • Lend equipment, manpower, and funding for equipment operations such as fuel and logistics costs.

  • Assist in the community mobilization activities of the DENR.

  • Install a trash trap, transfer dredged materials, and install signage in relation to the rehabilitation program.

The government hopes that the active participation of SMC would inspire other private companies to contribute to the rehabilitation of the river.

(Sources: Philippine Inquirer; BusinessWorld; Manila Standard)

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Suway station train infra

INFRASTRUCTURE

Philippine Infradev Subsisidary For Subway Projects Gets Approval From SEC

Philippines  -  March 2019

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the application of infrastructure and real estate company Philippine Infradev Holdings Inc to incorporate Makati City Subway, Inc., which will take charge of its underground railway project in Makati City. The subway is targeted to open in 2025, and expected to accommodate 700,000 passengers daily.

Philippine Infradev is the proponent of the USD 3.7-billion Makati City Subway Project, which aims to build an 11-kilometer intracity railway system in the business district. It will also link the Metro Rail Transit, the proposed Manila Mega Subway which is schedule to be completed in 2025 and the Pasig Ferry.

Philippine Infradev is joined by Chinese firms Greenland Holdings Group, Jiangsu Provincial Construction Group Co. Ltd., Holdings Ltd. and China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd., which signed a memorandum of understanding with the Makati City government in 2018. The 30-year concession agreement for the project is expected to be signed in 2019. In December 2018, the group started preparatory works for the project such as soil testing.

Furthermore, Philippine Infradev has also singed an agreement with China Civil Engineering Construction Corp (CCECC), under which CCECC will support the subway’s construction by investing USD 300 to USD 350 million into the company or its subsidiary, undertake engineering procurement and construction work for the project. Both Philippine Infradev and CCECC will have until 19 May 2019 to complete the entire due diligence process, prior to formalization of the CCECC’s investment and execution of the formal investment agreement.

(Sources: The Manila Times; BusinessWorld)

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Bakery production

MANUFACTURING

New PHP 1 Billion Plant Opened By Mindanao

Philippines  -  March 2019

Gardenia Bakeries Philippines Inc. announced the inauguration of its new 2.5 hectare plant in Mindanao.The PHP 1 billion (USD 19 million) production facility is located in PHIVIDEC Industrial Estate in Misamis Oriental with the capacity of producing 130,000 loaves and buns per day.

The plant has fully automated bread-making machines that will produce white bread, health bread selections, flavored loaf offerings and buns or pandesal products. Almost all equipment of the plant was imported from Germany, the Netherlands, United States, Malaysia and Japan.

With this expansion, Gardenia is forecasting a 35% increase in sales which will not only serve the growing demand in Mindanao but also to support the huge requirement in Visayas. The company is also preparing to start the full operation of its PHP 2 billion (USD 38 million) plant in Pampanga this year.

(Sources: The Philippine Star; BusinessWorld; Manila Bulletin)

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Mro hangar airplane repair

DEFENSE / AEROSPACE / AVIATION

Metrojet Begins Construction Of FBO/MRO Complex In The Philippines

Philippines  -  March 2019

Hong Kong based business jet operator, Metrojet, commenced the construction of a 26,000 square meter aviation parking and maintenance facility in the Philippines. The USD 25 million facility is located in Clark, Pampanga and is expected to be operational by 2020. It will have 11,000 square meter of taxiway and parking ramp for aircraft parking, MRO (maintenance, repair and operations) and FBO (fixed-base operator) services, 7,100 square meter of floor space that can accommodate a maximum of 10 long range business jets (Boeing Business Jet or Airbus Corporate Jet), and 2,500 square meter for customer accommodation and storage, engineering support workshops, and materials warehousing.

Metrojet has secured a 50-year contract lease and noted that the location, relative to its area of operation, Clark’s freedom of operation and freeport zones, and the support from government are the main factors behind choosing the location of investment. Singapore-based Aircraft Support Industries (ASI) will construct the facility while another Singapore firm, MERx Construction Management Pte. Ltd., will be responsbile for the design and build of the project

(Source: BusinessWorld; AIN Online; AviationPros)

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RETAIL / FMCG

Alfamart To Open 200 New Stores In The Philippines

Philippines  -  March 2019

Indonesian mini-mart chain company, Alfamart, is planning to open 200 new stores in the Philippines in 2019, according to a report by Fitch Ratings. Alfamart has partnered with Philippine conglomerate, SM Group, to aggressively expand its footprints in the Philippines, where it currently has 400 stories.

According to the Fitch Ratings report, the country’s mini-mart sector is untapped and has limited competition at present. Existing players only carry limited products, in contrast to Alfamart stores which offer fresh and frozen seafood, personal care and small household appliances, giving it a competitive advantage. 

Alfamart has chosen to expand in the Philippines as the company believes that the country has more potential compared to other South East Asian markets like Thailand and Vietnam. Fitch cites that the Philippines, like Indonesia, are consumer-driven markets with young population and an expanding middle class. Local consumers prefer to buy small amounts of bundled products rather than filling grocery carts.

Through Alfamart’s partnership with the SM Group, the company’s investment risk is mitigated by the strong presence of SM Group in the country. Alfamart will have access to SM Group’s large business network including its 1,729 retail stores nationwide and its strong brand.

(Source: Retail News Asia) 

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