Malaysia’s Economic Transition: From Plantations & Palm Oil To Tech & Green Energy

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Industry observers, investors and pundits have mused for years how Malaysia leveraged its natural resources in palm oil and large plantations (and embedded corruption to inhibit changes) which produced strong cash flows in a low beta investment environment. However, over the past couple of years, to paraphrase Bob Dylan... "the times they are a changin” for Malaysia.

This short 20 minute slide presentation tracks the changes from nearly complete domestic M&A/equity investment in 2020 to strong cross border FDI inflows and ODI outflows across several continents over the past 2 years. We also examine important infra projects coming on stream over the prior two years and next two years and financial effects.

We set out how the Malaysian Government has managed the balance: strong Chinese inflows for several years up to 2019 have seen a return to East Asia (led by Japan but also including Korea and Taiwan), USA and more recently GCC, especially UAE and Saudi Arabia. East Asia has led on green energy; 35 Japanese companies across numerous industries are currently collaborating to have the economics work on converting green algae to biofuels/food- an area which Malaysia aspires to be a world leader. The USA and EU have been investing heavily to leverage their existing semiconductor presence – as well as expanding into 5G, cloud computing and data centres. China is focused on converting Malaysia into an important ASEAN regional logistics hub –led by rail, ports. GCC just launched its leading green packaging business in Malaysia earlier this year.

While these companies are all pouring investment into Malaysia and Malaysia is doing the same into the UK – the UK has actually withdrawn investment to Malaysia during the past decade…Why?

Find the full report here


Henry Tillman has enjoyed a 30+ year career in Global Wholesale Banking including Executive Board positions at Barclays and ABN AMRO and a NED ‎ role at Wells Fargo UK/EU when Wells was the world's largest bank. From 2003-2018, Mr Tillman chaired Grisons Peak LLP, which advised on over €25 billion successful M&A and capital raising assignments. Through Grisons Peak Services, Mr Tillman focusses on capital raises for biotech and renewable energy projects globally.

In 2008, Mr Tillman created a unique China focused database which has since been extended to include below Fdi, ASEAN and SCO, Abrham Accords and GCC inbound/outbound flows. The database has also served as a basis for two macro research publications: China Investment Research and Asia Investment Research.

Mr Tillman speaks frequently at global forums, including most recently Eurasia Forum (Budapest] and BRI Board of. Governance - both on geopolitics/rise of the multipolar world. Mr Tillman also lectures as an Associate at Churchill College, Cambridge.

Tuesday, 13 December 2022

10:00 - 10:45 GMT


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  • Henry Tillman
    Henry Tillman
    Founder and Editor, China Investment Research
    Grisons Peak Services
  • Mike 3 (2)-min.jpg
    Mike Wardle
    CEO & Head of Indices
    Z/Yen Group