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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Low Yat investing up to RM389mil in China-Asean SME centre

From left: CIMB regional group treasury Kua Wei Jin; Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce president Datuk Bong Hon Liong; Low Gee Teong; CIMB Asean Research Institute CEO John Pang; Low Yat Group director, group finance, corporate planning and business development, Hoi Siew Choo; and Datuk J. Jegathesan looking at a model of the centre.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Low Yat Group expects to invest 650 million yuan (RM316mil) to 800 million yuan (RM389mil) for all three phases of its China-Asean SME Trade (CASMET) Centre in Changshu, China.

The first phase, which cost about 300 million yuan (RM145mil) was completed in 2011.

“The second and third phases are expected to be completed in the next few years,” said executive director Low Gee Teong at an event to promote CASMET.

He said the second and third phases would have a total floor area of 92,500 sq m and would be developed for commercial and small-office-home-offices.

The centre was developed by the Low Yat Group as a free trade area that will serve as a one-stop centre, providing Asean companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the necessary facilities and support needed to explore opportunities in China.

Low said the first phase of CASMET spanning 31,293 sq m comprised seven blocks with 213 units of commercial retail and office space and was built on a gross floor area of 38,341 sq m.

According to CASMET director and general manager Rebecca Deng, the first phase of the trade centre has secured an occupancy rate of 40%.

“About 15% of the companies are from China and the remainder from Asean,” she said, adding that there were six to seven companies from Malaysia already trading in CASMET.

Deng said the Malaysian companies were from the palm oil, batik and coffee industries.

CASMET director Datuk J. Jegathesan said estimates that China's economy might not exceed its previous year's growth of 9.2% this year was “not worrying” and should not deter local SMEs to invest in China.

“Every industry in the world goes through an economic cycle. China is not exempt from that cycle and it should not be a concern,” he said.

Meanwhile, Low said CASMET would further enhance the social, cultural and economic relations, exchanges and co-operation among China and Asean countries Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.

By The Star

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