The twinning of industrial parks in China and Malaysia is a step up in bilateral ties
INDUSTRIAL parks have been around for a long time in both developed and developing countries as concentrated clusters of new economic growth. These are designated zones specifically intended for all sorts of factories to locate centrally so as to take full advantage of infrastructure, such as ports and airports -- and, perhaps just as importantly, to keep away from housing and other built-up areas. But the latter hardly applies any more. Industrial zones need not be the noisy, smoke-stacked, prefab deserts they once were. Today, keeping them environmentally friendly is a prime consideration. Nevertheless, economic imperatives remain the fundamental raison d'etre.
When trade considerations are paramount, the concept of twinning industrial parks makes good economic sense. Synergies are created and supply chains can be integrated or linked between larger markets and geographical regions.
That is the case of Gebeng, Pahang, which has its twin in China, the Qinzhou Industrial Park (QIP). As Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said, this would improve further the country's trade ties with China, the Asian giant that is now the world's second largest economy. Even as it stands, China is Malaysia's largest trading partner. With the twinned industrial parks in place, Malaysia will have better access to the Chinese market, and China will have better access not only to the Malaysian but the larger combined Asean market.
Gebeng was chosen as the sister park to QIP because of its proximity to the port of Kuantan. Kuantan is the closest point to China's deepwater Qinzhou port in Guangxi. The Gebeng-located Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park) will also catalyse the growth of the East Cost Economic Region (ECER). Park-to-park industrial expansion will not just provide employment and business opportunities, but increase commercial interactions and cooperation between Chinese and Malaysians. Above all, however, the move has the advantage of cementing a bilateral economic relationship between two of the world's largest and most rapidly growing markets. But what drives the pace at which things are happening is company bottom lines. Jointly developed by a Malaysian consortium and China's Qinzhou Jingu Co Ltd, to be completed in 15 years, what lies ahead is a joining together of many hectares of economic productivity feeding into and from the two hinterlands. Additionally, its future includes an increase in tourism into the ECER, which means more than manufacturing plants and offices are being envisaged. The twinning of industries and their locales between China and Malaysia will bring the two economies and people closer together for mutual gain.