Me and a couple of other students from the course went to the event Trade & Investment Seminar Business Opportunities in Malaysia located at Sheraton that Serdar invited us to. This visit was a bit different from what I have experienced before. It was quite interesting to see how people from Malaysia and Sweden coming together working to find ways to collaborate. The importance of networking was once again put on display. One guy I sat next to where looking for investments for the company he worked for in the space industry.

Comparing this event with other more startup related events I have experienced, the atmosphere here was a bit more serious. A lot of people wore suits and was there representing their company or country. Nevertheless, all persons I talked to were very friendly.

Malaysia was pictured as a good country to start with to get a foot into the Asian market. The living expenses are much cheaper compared to neighbouring countries such as Singapore. There also exist educated workers that speaks English for a lower price. The country is politically stable, and the GDP is growing. Overall, it was depicted as a good compromise. Compared to the Swedish cold weather right now an escape to Malaysia could also be tempting.

Even if startups where mentioned during the event and is important much focus was put on the bigger companies such as Volvo and SKF. Both Volvo and SKF had representatives in the panel that talked about their businesses and relationship to Malaysia. The representative of Volvo talked for example about how regulations were one of their main problems.

During the lunch I asked a Malaysian representative about startups in Malaysia. He said that they for example help statups by providing mentors for free that can provide experience to the founders; they also help with well-equipped workspaces for subsidized prices at the beginning of a startups life. This he said have produced good results.

Many also recommended that we should come visit Malaysia, even if it only is for tourism, and I guess I will take that into consideration when I plan any future trips to Asia.

Thanks for reading!

Johan Wikström