Brunei can tap into regional investment opportunities

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Arno Maierbrugger_Inside Investor
By Arno Maierbrugger

As the ASEAN region keeps growing and the attention of the global business community is turning east, Brunei will start to play a more significant role in bilateral investments due to its imminent wealth and its efforts to diversify its economy by investing abroad.

Brunei, which also chairs ASEAN this year, holds a lot of opportunities for investors due to its stable politics, its healthy economic environment, its highly skilled workforce, its liberal tax environment and geographically favourable location. But it also needs to be on alert not to miss out on its own investment opportunities in emerging economies around it and beyond the ASEAN region.

A good example is the news that Bruneian companies have expressed interest in investing in the Visayas in the Philippines after identifying business possibilities in the fields of education and food security the province offers to investors during a recent business trip.

Interestingly, the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board only recently realised that the country despite its close proximity does not have any investors from Brunei at all and is now working on attracting interest from Brunei firms. The response so far from Brunei businesses was to get information on investment in middle- to low-level industries, mainly in manufacturing.

With its immediate neighbour, Malaysia, investment relations are buoyant. Brunei has identified Iskandar Malaysia in Johor, Sabah and Sarawak as the three territories with great potential for investment in real estate development, halal meat production and hotel projects. Malaysia, on the other hand, is eyeing Brunei for investments in tourism, food and small manufacturing.

On a larger scale, the chairman of the Brunei Darussalam International Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently recommended Brunei companies to set up representative offices and trade subsidiaries in Hong Kong to make a step into the Chinese market. It would enable Brunei investors to explore opportunities in China, and, after a decision to invest has been made, to raise local loans and use the Chinese yuan as their functional currency for business.

This recommendation followed the news that China and Brunei had pledged to boost cooperation as Lim Jock Seng, Brunei’s second minister of foreign affairs and trade, visited Beijing on January 30, highlighting trade, bilateral investment and the energy sector as potential areas for further joint work between the two countries.

So, the opportunities are there. Brunei has just to seize the chance.

This comment is part of Inside Investor’s weekly column series in Brunei’s leading newspaper Brunei Times and is published every Monday.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

By Arno Maierbrugger

As the ASEAN region keeps growing and the attention of the global business community is turning east, Brunei will start to play a more significant role in bilateral investments due to its imminent wealth and its efforts to diversify its economy by investing abroad.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Arno Maierbrugger_Inside Investor
By Arno Maierbrugger

As the ASEAN region keeps growing and the attention of the global business community is turning east, Brunei will start to play a more significant role in bilateral investments due to its imminent wealth and its efforts to diversify its economy by investing abroad.

Brunei, which also chairs ASEAN this year, holds a lot of opportunities for investors due to its stable politics, its healthy economic environment, its highly skilled workforce, its liberal tax environment and geographically favourable location. But it also needs to be on alert not to miss out on its own investment opportunities in emerging economies around it and beyond the ASEAN region.

A good example is the news that Bruneian companies have expressed interest in investing in the Visayas in the Philippines after identifying business possibilities in the fields of education and food security the province offers to investors during a recent business trip.

Interestingly, the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board only recently realised that the country despite its close proximity does not have any investors from Brunei at all and is now working on attracting interest from Brunei firms. The response so far from Brunei businesses was to get information on investment in middle- to low-level industries, mainly in manufacturing.

With its immediate neighbour, Malaysia, investment relations are buoyant. Brunei has identified Iskandar Malaysia in Johor, Sabah and Sarawak as the three territories with great potential for investment in real estate development, halal meat production and hotel projects. Malaysia, on the other hand, is eyeing Brunei for investments in tourism, food and small manufacturing.

On a larger scale, the chairman of the Brunei Darussalam International Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently recommended Brunei companies to set up representative offices and trade subsidiaries in Hong Kong to make a step into the Chinese market. It would enable Brunei investors to explore opportunities in China, and, after a decision to invest has been made, to raise local loans and use the Chinese yuan as their functional currency for business.

This recommendation followed the news that China and Brunei had pledged to boost cooperation as Lim Jock Seng, Brunei’s second minister of foreign affairs and trade, visited Beijing on January 30, highlighting trade, bilateral investment and the energy sector as potential areas for further joint work between the two countries.

So, the opportunities are there. Brunei has just to seize the chance.

This comment is part of Inside Investor’s weekly column series in Brunei’s leading newspaper Brunei Times and is published every Monday.

Brunei Times logo

 

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