A slew of American and Japanese firms and fund managers are looking to invest in Malaysian startups, an executive in Malaysia’s finance ministry said.
Secretary-general of treasury Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah said he believes Malaysia’s steady economic growth continues to attract foreign investors and that there’s a developing trend showing investors moving towards unchartered areas.
“There have been many investment firms and fund managers emailing me to find out more about the Malaysian investment opportunities,” he said, “They want to invest here but don’t know the startups nor the ecosystem.”
Mohd Irwan, who is also the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) chairman, believed that Malaysia would blossom into a startup hub within the next five years.
“We’re just at the early stage but we are putting up the infrastructure and necessary regulations and liberalisation,” he said, referring to the Malaysia Budget 2015.
The national budget gave a set of perks to the startup and SME communities, including the encouragement of expatriates to based their companies here.
“I think in five years, we will be somewhere there,” he said at the launch of the MaGIC Startup Academy on Wednesday.
According to Khailee Ng, managing partner of US-based startup investor company 500 Startups, Malaysia may have already achieved the startup hub status.
“There is a lot of stuff we don’t see happening upfront but Southeast Asia’s largest success stories are from Malaysia. We might already be the startup capital of Southeast Asia though we just don’t know it yet,” Ng said.
To show that Malaysia has the quality and quantity of startups, he noted that six out of eight of the large regional e-commerce companies were from Malaysia.
“The biggest acquisitions, the biggest exits, the most recent Asian-based company to go listing on US soil can trace its roots back to Malaysia,” he said.
DEALSTREET has reported earlier this week that MOL Global Inc, a Malaysia-grown e-commerce company, had a lacklustre listing on the NASDAQ on October 8, raising $169 million far below the below the $300 million it was gunning to raise.
Ng further added: “Without all the activities that the government is doing, we are already doing so well. Think about where we will be in five years (with these new incentives).”