Speech by Chief Minister of Penang
At The Opening of Regus Menara Boustead, George Town, Penang
7 December 2017
Good morning. I am pleased to witness the official opening of Regus’ third business centre in Penang, here at Menara Boustead in Penang Central Business District. Regus is the world’s largest provider of flexible workspace solutions and with the company establishing not one, or two, but three business centres in Penang, demonstrates the business vitality and economic robustness in Penang. With the 4th SPICE business centre in the pipeline, Regus has invested a total of RM 9 million to date and prepared to invest more for the growth/expansion in the coming years. Regus has workforce of 9 headcounts dedicated to manage these 4 centers, ie RM 1 million of investment per staff.
Penang achieved GDP growth of 5.6% in 2016, outperforming the national GDP of 4.2%; specifically, for manufacturing GDP, Penang recorded GDP growth of 5.4% while for services GDP, the state achieved 5.6% growth. In 2016, Penang also recorded the second largest investments for Global Establishments for Services or ‘Principal Hub’ with an investment value of RM4.1 billion, after Kuala Lumpur. More recently, MIDA announced Penang as the top recipient of manufacturing approved investment in 1H 2017 valued at RM7.7 billion. Not only was Penang’s RM7.7 billion way ahead of No.2 at RM 2.9 billion, but Penang contributed 45% of the total investments to Malaysia. With the encouraging performance this year, the State forecasts that Penang will record a GDP growth of at least 6% in 2017.
Despite the worst rainstorm and floods in history, Penang bounced back quickly and the clearing up was able to be completed in 10 days, a remarkable feat praised by all. What is noteworthy is that industry and the factories were not affected and there was no flooding in the industrial parks. Some had even feared that Penang business will be out of action for 6 months like Thailand. However they were unaffected and continued operations as usual. This should give confidence to investors that even when Penang suffered the worst rainstorm and floods in history, their factories were unaffected. Further the crisis management that allowed Penang to bounce back in 10 days should give added confidence of the effective delivery and competent governance by the state government in Penang.
Flexible and modern spaces meeting the needs of businesses in the digital era
Regus’ new business centre which offers office space of 10,700 sqft here will be able to increase the available work and office space in Penang. Regus first two business centres, Regus Ideal Bayan Lepas and Regus Gurney Paragon are already recording average occupancy of 98%-99%. Major tenants of Regus business centres in Penang include marquee names such as Swarovski, IBM, Agoda, Expedia, AIA, and CBRE. The demand for office space especially MSC status buildings is increasing in Penang as Penang continues to attract more investments and business expansion. Knight Frank 2016 Real Estate Highlights reported that occupancy rates for prime office buildings in George Town ranged from 86% to 100% while newer buildings in Bayan Baru have occupancy of around 97%. Penang has the highest occupancy of office space in Malaysia.
This year Austrian-based Swarovski, world’s leading automotive software company Luxoft, Power Integrations, French-headquartered Teleperformance have announced their GBS investments into Penang while companies such as Toray and UST Global have increased their re-investments into Penang.
The new ABCs of the business world in the digital era today are Industry 4.0 centred applications in Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, Cloud Computing and robotics. In line with these new trends, business needs evolve and the flexible workspace solutions that Regus offers will also be attractive to startups and SMEs in Penang. In addition, Regus provides global connectivity to its centers around the world which is something we welcome as an engine to our productivity growth.
Flexible working is a globally rising trend to do business. With Regus solutions easily available in Penang, we hope the SMEs and businesses in Penang can leverage on flexible working options to enhance their growth, increase productivity and attract and retain talent.
SME Corp records shows that Penang is home to more than 6,800 SMEs. Meanwhile, in @CAT Wisma Yeap Chor Ee, the State’s initiative for startups to accelerate from ideas and innovation to businesses, the co-working space have recorded an average 94% daily occupancy rate.
I would like to once again reiterate my warmest welcome of Regus’ third business centre in Penang and I also hear a fourth is on the horizon. Congratulations to Regus on the occasion of this opening in the quest to provide flexible working options for businesses in Penang.