Entrepreneurs from Malaysia and China were urged on Tuesday to strengthen cooperation and to tap into the opportunities in the post-COVID-19 economic recovery and the continued opening up of China.

In his speech to the virtually held 10th Malaysia-China Entrepreneur Conference, Malaysia’s Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Lim Ban Hong said the historic friendship between Malaysia and China was further elevated when both countries came to each other’s assistance during the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.

Among the efforts to facilitate recovery from the hit of COVID-19, the Malaysian government has unveiled a number of initiatives to further improve the country’s investment environment for foreign companies.

“Malaysia could be a gateway for Chinese entrepreneurs to tap into the Southeast Asian markets. The Malaysian government welcomes Chinese businesses and companies to prioritize Malaysia as an investment destination,” Lim said, pointing out that China has been Malaysia’s largest source of investment in manufacturing sectors for four consecutive years.

“I hope entrepreneurs of both countries could deepen cooperation in the digital economy, big data, high-tech, innovative economy, the industrial revolution, and agriculture modernization,” he said. “I believe the cooperation would further facilitate economic exchange between Malaysia and China and to bring fruitful results.”

In his speech at the forum, Long Yongtu, China’s former chief negotiator for entry into the World Trade Organization, urged China and Malaysia to strengthen cooperation areas including COVID-19 response, manufacturing, digital economy and the Belt & Road Initiative.

Long also urged Malaysian companies to seize new opportunities as China is now embarking on a “dual circulation” development pattern in which the domestic economic cycle plays a leading role while the international economic cycle remains its extension and supplement, which will see growth in China’s demand for import and cooperation in the supply chain.

“I am very optimistic that foreign entrepreneurs, including those from Malaysia, could find new opportunities in China’s ‘dual circulation’ development pattern,” he said.

The 10th Malaysia-China Entrepreneur Conference, organized by the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce, gathered government officials, entrepreneurs from the two countries to discuss issues related to bilateral economic ties including e-commerce, digital economy, financial cooperation, among others.