Malaysia has called on the Chinese government to jointly set up a sister industrial park in Malaysia, following the successful launch of the Qinzhou Industrial Park (QIP) in southern China on Sunday.
The QIP is a joint-venture project between Malaysia and China in the coastal area of Guangxi province.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said such a joint project in Malaysia would help Chinese companies develop a larger footprint in Southeast Asia."I would like to see a similar development in Malaysia," Najib said when he jointly launched the QIP with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao at the project site in Qinzhou.
Najib said a sister industrial park in Malaysia would provide new opportunities for Malaysian and Chinese entrepreneurs to do business.
Quoting a Chinese proverb, "One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade", the Prime Minister said the QIP's launch marked the beginning of "a new era of economic cooperation between our nations from which the next generation stands to profit".
The industrial park would serve as the entry point for Malaysian companies and products to access the Chinese domestic market, besides generating economic opportunities to entrepreneurs from both countries.
The project was strategically important, given its proximity to Asean countries, with the nearby Qinzhou Free Port providing convenient access to southwest China, particularly Kunming, the largest city in Yunnan province.
The project would also provide opportunities to other Asean countries. The QIP is the third such development project in China, after the Suzhou Industrial Park and Tianjin Eco-City between China and Singapore.
The QIP's first phase covers 15 sq km, with the next two phases eventually expanding this to 55 sq km. The whole project is expected to take 15 years to complete.
Najib said the initial start-up area of 7.87 sq km was estimated to attract investments of RM918.6 million. He also expressed satisfaction at the rapid progress of the project after the idea was first mooted during the Chinese premier's visit to KL last April.
"The rapid realisation of this project in just a year - the extraordinary speed with which the dream has become a reality - is a testament to the vibrancy, energy and commitment on both sides and to the ever broader and deeper economic ties between our nations," he said.
Najib described the ties between Malaysia and China today as the "strongest they have ever been".
"The bonds of family and friendship between this great nation and Malaysia's own Chinese community are there for all to see," he pointed out.
The Chinese Prime Minister said in his speech that both countries could face the global challenges by working together.
"We have to continue sowing the seeds of hope for a better future for both countries," Wen said.
For the past three years, China has been Malaysia's biggest trading partner, accounting for 13.2 per cent of our total world trade.
China also overtook Singapore as Malaysia's largest export market for the first time last year, with our exports to China soaring by 13.9 per cent in 2011.
By strengthening economic cooperation with China, Najib deserves credit for taking the right steps to continue this impressive growth.