Malaysia has become an attractive destination for companies looking to establish themselves in Asia. Swedish media Dagens Industri has spoken to Erik Thomaeus, CEO of SIBS Group on why they have chosen to place one of their companies, Scandinavian IBS’s production in the country.
Scandinavian IBS is a Sweden-based company involved in the manufacturing of Industrial Building System and one of SIBS Group’s five companies. Scandinavian IBS has its production of housing modules and peripherals in Malaysia and that was already the plan before Erik Thomaeus and his brother started the company in 2016.
“The whole idea of creating a construction system and manufacturing homes industrially was born in part from Malaysia highlighting that they wanted to be bigger in industrial construction processes and production. Through my previous company, I have been active in the country since the early 2000s and I have always thought it was easy to do business there. We have a friendly attitude towards foreign companies and our presence is seen as a way for the economy to grow,” Erik Thomaeus says to Dagens Industri.
The Malaysian government has long worked actively to make it easier for international investors to come to the country. Unnecessary bureaucracy has been removed and various types of relief are often offered to companies so apart from the fact that the costs are low in Malaysia, which means Scandinavian IBS can make even finer products, such a simple thing as everyone speaking English is something that Erik Thomaeus experience as an enormous advantage.
The Malaysians also have a high work ethic and see great pride in their work and over the years, Erik Thomaeus has built up a large network of contacts in the country and he lifts the ecosystems of companies that Malaysia is well known for. “There are many talented suppliers to work with, both large internationally known companies but also a plethora of fine smaller family companies. Since we work with many different types of components, we have, for example, several local mechanical workshops as subcontractors. Seventy percent of the material we use comes from Malaysia, 20 percent from the rest of ASEAN, while the rest is Swedish or German. Then it’s about, for example, Swedish toilet seats, faucets, and windows, he says and adds: “Then we export 100 percent of what we produce in Malaysia to Sweden. As it can be a bit cumbersome to import and then export again, we have received help from the Malaysian Agency for Investment Development (MIDA) to have a simplified customs clearance process.”
MIDA is included as a helping hand for companies that want to establish their operations in the country. Erik Thomaeus says that he has made full use of the authority’s contacts, both in this turn and with his previous company.
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