Nov
30
Investing in George Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the new state government took over the management of the island and its mainland, efforts were concentrated on rebuilding Penang's reputation, strengthen the state's management and finally to gain investor's trust by showing effective development and results. The friendly and supportive Penang State Government has built a reputation that makes George Town, Penang into an attractive investment venue.

The state government has a principal investment promotion agency called investPenang, which works closely with various agencies from the Federal Government, including Malaysian Biotechology Corporation, Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA), Small and Medium Industries Development Corporation (SMIDEC), Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) and Multimedia Development Corporation (MdeC). InvestPenang is also also works closely with the State and local government to work on Penang, making business procedures much easier in Penang as an attractive option for Malaysian and foreign investors.

International Recognition

The efforts that the Penang State Government put to promote George Town, Penang as an industrial state is recognised by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), acknowledging Penang as one of the ten dynamic industrial cluster locations worldwide to have demonstrated a successful manufacturing experience among developing countries in its Industrial Development Report 2009. Also, KPMG identified Penang as one od the 31 Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) locations of the future in its “Exploring Global Frontiers” report in 2009.

The publicity received from the recognition of these two international bodies have given a lot of leverage to the state, when foreign investors visit George Town to see the potentials and business opportunities in Penang.

Manpower

In an effort to work towards supporting investments in Penang, the state government initiated the Penang Career Assistance and Training Centre (Penang CAT Centre). The centre assists and match retrenched workers and job seekers with employment opportunities. The Centre invites companies and employers to work together and create new job opportunities, matching the retrenched workers and new workers with potential jobs. If the centre finds that there are any specific requirements by employers, there may be training programmes for the workers too.

Other than Penang CAT Centre, the Penang Skills Development centre (PSDC) had always given support on human resource development, corporate training, team building and provide sharing and learning experiences for manufacturing and services industry since 1989. It is the pioneer organization that the state had established for industry-based skills training and education that served Penang and other states in Malaysia for more than 20 years.

The Penang Free Industrial Zone of Bayan Lepas had also been training a lot of Penangites to become professionals who are used to working in multi national companies and dealing with international counterparts.

Technology

As part of the state's effort to keep up with technology, there is the Software Consortium of Penang (ScoPe) specially set up as an alliance of Penang-based software companies. It is encouraged by the state government to promote and encourage higher value added activities in the state, and is affiliated with PSDC, Penang Development Corporation (PDC), Collaborative Research & Resource centre (CRRC) and Socio-economic and Environmental Research Institute (SERI).

As Penangites become more tech savvy, the state government has also set its ambition to fulfill its dream to make Penang into an ICT and biotechnology hub in Southeast Asia. This initiated more incentives to foreign investors and MNCs investing in George Town.

S.M.A.R.T. Penang

S.M.A.R.T. stands for “Small and Medium Enterprise Market Advisory Resource Training”. It is created with a directory that includes company listings for various manufacturers in the small and medium industrial and enterprise category. It becomes a network for these businesses to work together and learn with each other. There may be business opportunities to grow together. SMART is an initiative of investPenang to provide market intelligence, business advisory, information, resources and training services to local small and medium companies in Penang.

It took just a few short years for Penang to transform itself and to build enough reputation that keeps putting George Town, Penang in the limelight. The heritage conservation, professionalism and efforts for ecological development are giving Penang a growing popularity, especially helped by the availability of the Penang International Airport. Budget airlines Firefly and AirAsia frequent the airport with flights, while other international flights by Cathay Pacific are also available. The ready area in Bayan Lepas Industrial Zone and the upcoming Batu Kawan industrial area will allow an investor to know that there is always the government support in their efforts.

The rebuilding of George Town, Penang, is not something that can be done within just a few short years. The efforts by the government does not go unnoticed, and in fact there will be more developments in plan. There is ample land in the mainland, which will allow for more housing and development. Will Penang and Prai turn out just like Hong Kong and Kowloon?

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