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Malaysia upbeat on prospect of increasing Chinese investment

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia expects to see increased investment from China as more Chinese companies "going out" under the Belt and Road initiatives, said local media and officials.

Chinese companies were not held back by the sluggish global economy and rebalancing of growth pattern in China, but have rather stepped up pace to venture abroad, said Oriental Daily, a local Chinese newspaper in Malaysia on Wednesday.

"Furthermore, driven by the Belt and Road initiatives, Malaysia may expect a surge in investment and takeover by Chinese companies in coming years," it said.

Trade relations between Malaysia and China have blossomed in recent years. China have been Malaysia's largest trading partner since 2009 and Malaysia is China's largest trading partner in Southeast Asia. Total bilateral trade volume stands at more than 97.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2015.

Meanwhile, Malaysia has doubled its efforts to increase Chinese investment.

Malaysian businessmen, especially the Chinese descendants who have made success in the country, were drawn by the untapped potential when China first opened up its economy more than three decades ago. Among them was Robert Kuok, founder of luxury hotel chain Shangri-La.

In recent years, China's investment in Malaysia is catching up fast. According to Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), approved investment in manufacturing by Chinese mainland totaled some 4.4 billion U.S. dollars since 2005.

Huawei, an information and communication technology giant, has set up regional headquarter and data center in Malaysia. China's real-estate companies such as Country Garden and Greenland have make headway into the Malaysian market.

In November, China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN), one of Chinese leading clean energy companies, signed an equity purchase agreement with Malaysian energy company Edra Global Energy to buy 13 clean energy projects scattered in Malaysia, Egypt, Bengal, Pakistan and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Chinese companies also actively participated in infrastructure constructions in Malaysia, including transportation projects such as railways and ports. Chinese companies have expressed interest in the high-speed railway linking Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

The increase of Chinese investment have seen slowdown in 2015 following previous peak in 2013 and 2014, largely due to slower growth in both countries, but Malaysian officials are optimistic on the future prospect.

Lee Chee Leong, Deputy Minister of Ministry of International Trade and Industry, told the Oriental Daily that a series of projects agreed by the two governments, especially port projects in Kuantan, Malacca and a joint industrial park, are expected to draw more Chinese investment.

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