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Orderbook boost for HSL with new contracts from Sarawak Energy

KUCHING: Hock Seng Lee Bhd’s (HSL) new contract from Sarawak Energy Bhd worth a total of RM54.3 million will boost its outstanding orderbook. To note, the contract is for Package C05A (earth works and common facilities) and Package C05C (operator’s residence) of the 2x312MW Balingian coal-fired power plant project. The contract period is 18 months […]


US Steel wins tax breaks from one of America’s poorest cities

GARY (Indiana), Feb 8 — United States Steel Corporation founded Gary, Indiana in 1906 – naming it after co-founder Elbert Henry Gary – and the city’s fortunes have been closely tied to the company ever since. When the firm started losing…


Slight uptick in unemployment in Q4, but Singapore's labour market improved in 2018

SINGAPORE, Feb 2 — Although labour trends in the final quarter of last year were mixed, with a slight rise in unemployment rates from the previous quarter and the same period a year ago, the labour market improved on the whole last year….


Foxconn ‘adjusting’ Wisconsin factory plans hailed by Trump

TAIPEI, Jan 31 — Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn said today it was reassessing plans to build a cutting-edge factory in Wisconsin, which Donald Trump once hailed as part of flagship drive to revive America’s manufacturing sector. Foxconn,…


Saudi signs US$54.4b of deals, offers manufacturing incentives

RIYADH, Jan 29 — Saudi Arabia said yesterday it had signed agreements worth 204 billion riyals (US$54.4 billion or RM223.4 billion) and offered fresh incentives to attract capital as part of a 10-year programme that would help diversify the…


China can no longer rely on real estate for growth. It’s now turning to railways and more debt

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Chinese authorities face an ever-growing list of challenges — be it an ongoing trade fight with the U.S. or headwinds in domestic demand — and it appears they don’t have many tools left to spur the economy amid a slowdown. The real estate market in China has traditionally played a major role in its economic development, household wealth and public sentiment. Real estate has been used by Beijing to stimulate growth during previous downturns, including one just three years ago. But along with a Chinese penchant for investing in houses, persistent expectationsRead More


Businesses struggle as cracks appear in China’s economy

BEIJING, Jan 27 — Cracks are opening in China’s mighty economy: Investors are backing away from deals, factories are moving abroad and companies are shedding jobs. The world’s second-largest economy is losing steam, hitting its slowest growth…


SME businesses: What are they anyway?

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 22 — Starting your own business is something we talk about quite often here on RinggitPlus. We cover topics from how to get started with making money off of your hobbies, the different kinds of business entities you can register…


Proton aims to double exports in 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Proton Holdings Bhd aims to double the export of its cars to at least 3,000 units this year from 1,388 units in 2018.

“In 2017, we exported 248 units. This year we want to export more,” its CEO Li Chunrong told a press conference in conjunction with the signing of a collaboration agreement between Proton’s vendors and their overseas counterparts today.

With the support from the Malaysian government, he said, the group could export up to 4,000 to 5,000 units this year.

Asked on the group’s plans to enter the Pakistani and the Middle Eastern markets, Li responded by saying that Asean will remain as the group’s focus for its export business, but it does not intend to abandon other markets.

“We don’t want to forget the other markets (as well). We are trying our best to enter other markets,” he added.

On response to the Proton X70 that was officially launched on Dec 12, 2018, the group said bookings for the sports utility vehicle have exceeded 15,000 units, with over 2,000 units delivered so far.

Earlier, Proton deputy CEO Datuk Radzaif Mohamed said the group expects to bring an initial investment of RM47 million into the country through the second set of collaboration agreements between its vendors and their overseas counterparts.

On Oct 10, 2018, Proton hosted its first signing ceremony where eight colla-boration agreements were signed and they are expected to help bring in an initial investment of RM170 million into the country.

Radzaif said the collaborative agreements will range from technical tie-ups and joint ventures to 100% foreign direct investments with foreign vendors investing into the Malaysian economy.

Aside from the investments in facilities and technology, he said, the collaborations are also expected to create about 450 new jobs in the automotive industry that range from assembly to design engineering.

Additionally, these vendors will supply parts to Proton’s manufacturing facility in Tanjung Malim, which is undergoing expansion at a cost of RM1.2 billion.

Meanwhile, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Ong Kian Ming, who witnessed the signing ceremony, said the government is targeting RM15 billion from exports of local automotive components and spare parts by 2020.

Malaysian Automotive, Robotics and IoT Malaysia (MARii) CEO Datuk Madani Sahari shared that the value of exports for automotive components and parts could have easily touched the RM12 billion mark by end of December 2018.


China to reduce curbs on foreign investment

SHANGHAI/BEIJING: China will reduce restrictions on foreign investment and address difficulties facing foreign companies investing in the country, the commerce minister said, according to a transcript of an interview he gave to state media.

Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said China would allow full foreign ownership of companies in more areas of the economy and would reduce the number of industries in which foreign investment was restricted or barred, according to the transcript posted on the Ministry of Commerce’s website today.

The comments appeared to be largely reiterations of past pledges by Chinese officials for further market opening.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China rose by 3% year on year to US$135 billion (RM554.8 billion)in 2018, Zhong said.

That would mark a slowdown from growth of 7.9% in 2017 and 4.1% in 2016.

But Zhong said China had maintained stable FDI growth “against a gloomy global climate,“ noting that total FDI around the world had slumped by 41% in the first half of last year.

China has been pushing to broaden opportunities for private firms and foreign investors to stimulate an economy that is slowing on the back of weakening domestic demand and a trade war with the US.

Zhong said “properly handling” trade frictions with the United States was a major task for the ministry in 2019.

The ministry would “conscientiously implement” the consensus to work toward a resolution of the trade row reached by Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in Argentina late last year, he added.

The two sides held three days of trade talks at a vice-ministerial level in Beijing last week.

Zhong said the Commerce Ministry would push for the introduction of a foreign investment law as soon as possible, improve the handling of complaints from foreign firms, and encourage foreign investment in manufacturing and high tech.

The ministry would also encourage foreigners to invest in central and western China, he said.

Separately, the official Xinhua news agency reported today, citing the country’s human resources ministry, that China will roll out a series of measures to maintain stable employment this year.

China is grappling with the impact of a slowing economy amid a damaging trade dispute with the US, its largest trading partner, and sources have said it plans to set a lower economic growth target of 6.0% to 6.5% in 2019, compared with “around” 6.5% in 2018.

In order to ensure employment, the Chinese government will reduce the burden on companies, officials from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said, according to Xinhua, adding that research on plans to cut their social insurance premium rate would be accelerated.

“Enterprises with fewer or zero layoffs can take half of the previous year’s unemployment insurance premium back,” Xinhua quoted an unnamed senior ministry official as saying, reiterating a policy that was flagged by the State Council, China’s cabinet, in December.

Xinhua said China’s urban unemployment rate was 3.8% by the end of 2018, with 13.61 million new jobs created in urban areas last year, up 100,000 from 2017.

In comments published on Saturday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said planned tax cuts targeting smaller companies would help support employment and economic stability.

“For 2019, China still faces large employment pressure, with more than 15 million newly-added job-seekers in urban areas, including a record number of 8.34 million college graduates expected,” the human resources ministry official added.

College graduates, migrant rural workers and veterans should be given targeted assistance in finding jobs, the official said, adding that more skills training channels should be opened for the unemployed.