Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad will arrive in China’s Hangzhou on Friday, the first stop of his visit to China from Aug. 17 to 21. During the trip, he will visit Alibaba Group and other Chinese companies, tapping fresh opportunities for bilateral economic cooperation.
Mahathir’s visit to Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province and a hub of innovation in the country, signifies that the two countries will tap more cooperation opportunities in e-commerce, technology and finance.
Emerging industries will be a new area of cooperation for China and Malaysia. The two countries are expected to enhance cooperation in the fields of digital economy, agriculture, high-tech and automobile manufacturing, said Bai Tian, the Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia.
"I expect more Chinese companies, after this visit, will come to invest in Malaysia and carry out mutually beneficial cooperation, create more job opportunities, offer technology transfer and bring about more benefits to the Malaysian people," Bai said.
The Belt and Road Initiative has more to offer Malaysia as well. During this visit, leaders of the two countries are expected to reach consensus on many areas of cooperation and sign a number of agreements. These will enable the two countries to further synchronize their development strategies, take mutually-beneficial cooperation to a new level, and reap the fruits of growth in multiple areas, including trade, investments, agriculture, digital economy, advanced technology and tourism, said the ambassador.
In recent years, Alibaba's investment in Malaysia has reached more than 100 million US dollars, according to Jack Ma, Alibaba founder and executive chairman.
Last November, Alibaba established the first international eHub in Malaysia under the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) initiative.
In June this year, Alibaba launched a new office in Malaysia, which was the group’s first office in Southeast Asia.
Alibaba Cloud, the group’s cloud computing branch, announced in July that it will in August set up in Malaysia its first cloud-based Anti-DDoS Scrubbing Center, an anti-cyber-attack center, aiming to offer greater security and choices for its customers in the region.
Earlier in August, Mahathir met with visiting Wang Yi, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister, and said an increasingly stronger China means more and bigger opportunities for Malaysia, calling for closer ties with China.
After his Hangzhou visit, Mahathir will visit Beijing from Aug. 18 to 21.
In general, economic ties between the two sides have greatly improved over the years. China has been Malaysia's largest trading partner since 2009, and remained Malaysia's largest trading partner in 2017.
Bilateral trade volume between China and Malaysia in 2017 reached 96 billion US dollars, up 10.5 percent year on year, accounting for 18.7 percent of China-ASEAN trade volume.
The two-side imports and exports mainly include electronics, petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), rubber products, chemical products and optical and scientific equipment.