Penang Dialogue 2017 – Remaining Competitive from Penang

The Annual Penang Dialogue just got bigger! This year instead of just a lunch, AMCHAM added a half day program to have some vital conversations on topical issues with our members.  Dr. Shardul Phadnis, Research Director at Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation (MISI) and Mr MK Koh, Director, Global Electronics Industry at IBM kicked off the morning by sharing new research and applications for IoT & AI looking to help us with this new buzz around Industry 4.0.  A great discussion was around  IoT, AI & Supply Chains. Their years of experience and expertise helped members to understand what Industry 4.0 is all about especially for the E&E industry, identifying opportunities for an organization and how to apply or deploy them.

The second session brought together some of the pillars of the Northern Corridor: Dr. Hari Narayanan, Managing Director at Motorola Solutions Malaysia, KH Ooi, Vice President, Technology & Manufacturing Group and General Manager, Penang (Malaysia) Assembly & Test Operations at Intel Corporation and KC Chan, Vice President of Global Procurement & Materials at Keysight moderated by Fabian Boegershausen, Manager at Solidiance. Their task at this session was to uncover how they were all “Remaining Competitive from Penang”.

It was an interesting discussion on how the companies in Penang are impacting global operations and whether it will still be relevant over the next 10 and 20 years. What’s their story on innovation and how do they deliver on advanced capabilities. Each panelist shared their respective journey in Malaysia and on the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead but also about those that must be tackled today.

Following the morning forum, the day’s program continued with AMCHAM hosting both the Y.A.B. Tuan Lim Guan Eng, Penang Chief Minister and Her Excellency Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir, U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia.

In delivering her remarks, Ambassador Lakhdhir, started by thanking AMCHAM for the work done to smooth and ease business operations for our members. Although Ambassador Lakhdhir has only been in the country for about 10 months, she has already visited many U.S. based companies in Penang, including Western Digital, Mattel, Motorola, Keysight, and many more.

In her speech, Ambassador Lakhdhir emphasized the role of AMCHAM and its’ existence supporting American business interest, saying,“It’s important for U.S. companies to understand AMCHAM’s role and to leverage on it. The more information AMCHAM has from its members, provides the Chamber a better understanding of what’s going on within each industry.”  this, in turn, empowers the Chamber’s effectiveness.

She also recognized the work of the  Malaysian American Electronics Industry (MAEI) Committee, especially Dato’ S.H. Wong for his contribution and continuing support of the E&E industry. One of the most highly regarded people in the Malaysian E&E industry, he brings to AMCHAM the full weight of 29 years in the industry.  He was appointed to PEMUDAH, a special task force to address public-private delivery services and is also leading a key initiative by the government in developing a roadmap for E&E industry through the E&E Productivity Nexus EEPN, through the Malaysian Productivity Council (MPC).

Y.A.B. Tuan Lim Guan Eng begin his speech by thanking all the U.S. investors in Penang. Between 2008-2016, total investment from U.S. investors equaled 24% making the U.S. the largest FDI contributor to the Penang economy. More recently, in September 2017, California based Broadcom launched their RM59 million Global Distribution Centre in Batu Kawan Industrial Park, and announced investments of RM10 billion over the next 10 years in Penang.

According to projections, more U.S. investments are expected in 2018. Tuan Lim Guan Eng emphasized that “it’s not the number of investors that matters but it’s the quality of investors that would actually drive the economy.”

AMCHAM would like to thank all our sponsors – Gold Sponsor: First Solar Malaysia for their continued support; Silver Sponsors: Abbott Laboratories, Hewlett Packard, International SOS, Integrated Device Technology, Keysight and Motorola, and Corporate Table: Nationgate.

AMCHAM would also like to thank the U.S. Embassy and the Chief Minister’s office for their support and, all the participants, for making this event a success.