Markets Malaysia relies on medical technology but wants to expand

Author / Editor: Manik Mehta / Briggette Jaya

The Southeast Asian island state now wants to expand its profile beyond medical technology as a regional hub for the industry and attract international companies for production.

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New technological inventions from the medical field were showcased at Medica.
New technological inventions from the medical field were showcased at Medica.
(Source: Messe Düsseldorf / ctillmann)

Malaysia aims to expand its standing in the industry, starting from the medical sector into other branches.

This intention also became clear at the latest edition of the Medica trade fair in Düsseldorf, where 42 Malaysian exhibitors presented their products. The Malaysian Foreign Trade Development Corporation – Malaysia External Trade Development Corp. (Matrade) - wants to intensify the export of medical technology products that have good sales opportunities in foreign markets. “In addition to aviation, our strength also lies in the medical technology sector. This can also be seen in the growing numbers of foreign companies manufacturing their products in Malaysia,” says the director of the
Matrade office in Frankfurt am Main, Badrul Hisham Hilal, in an interview. Maylaysia, therefore, increased in popularity as a manufacturing country.

Considerable quality at a low price

Although the quality of Malaysian medical technology products is better compared to products from other low-cost countries, some experts believe that Malaysia has the potential to build on its innovative strength. “You can certainly buy products at low prices from other countries, but you can’t always be satisfied with the quality of other countries,” explains Hamzah Al-Mansour, an importer from Saudi Arabia who wanted to buy equipment at Medica.

Some Malaysian exhibitors had good success at the fair, where they received not only enquiries but also orders. The company Welford Manufacturing (M) Sdn. Bhd. received a large order for its products such as safety intravenous kits, catheters and other infusion products from a British importer. “We have signed a five-year contract with a customer in England to purchase our Airguard branded products. The contract is valid from January 2019 and amounts to nearly $10 million,” says Welford Director Wong Wen-Wvei.

According to Wong, Airguard products are popular because of their good quality. “By 2015 we had already sold 150,000 units of our products, by October 2018 we had already sold 2.4 million units,” the Welford director continued.

TUD Sdn. Bhd. based in Mantin, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, manufactures blood collection tubes. The company, whose trademark is one of the three largest foreign brands in China, also wants to sell its products in Europe and above all in Germany.

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Interested parties come from numerous countries

Star Medik, also based in the state of Negeri Sembilan, was also successful. Managing Director Johari Abu Kasim, who exhibited a range of medical devices and accessories such as disposable bubble humidifiers and clinical hyperbaric oxygen therapy centres, confirmed that he had received good orders without giving any indication of their value. “Our products are used in the prevention and treatment of diabetes and can help prevent amputations, for example. We have received orders from company representatives from various countries such as South Korea, Ecuador and Portugal. In addition, buyers from the Caribbean, Mauritius and Botswana were interested in our products,” says Johari.

German companies also benefit from Malaysia

Roland Mauss, the Chief Finance Officer of the Mühlheim-based German stainless steel company Oryx Stainless AG, which maintains strong business relations with Malaysia, said at a German-Malaysian conference held in Düsseldorf that Malaysia has now become the second strongest pillar of its corporate business. “In 2012 we expanded our global presence with the purchase of a property in Johor Bahru. There we are investing in a modern transhipment centre for alloyed scrap,” he said in an interview with MM Maschinenmarkt.

According to Abu Bakar Yusof, Matrade Director responsible for marketing the scientific products, Malaysia exported medical equipment worth almost USD 5 billion in 2017. “Exports climbed 25% in 2017 compared to 2016. In the first nine months of 2018, our exports rose 14.7% to approximately $4.1 billion,” he says.

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