3rd GMRT in Vienna

Vienna (MATRADE) – Representatives of Infineon and Semperit were the key speakers at the 3rd networking session of the German Malaysian Round table (GRMT) in Vienna. The event attracted around 30 participants from the Austrian commercial and business community, many of which have in some shape or form a connection with Malaysia.

The venue was at an historic location in the Palais (palace) Eschenbach run by the ÖGV, which is the oldest Association of Business Entrepreneurs in Vienna. The meeting took place under the watchful eyes in the portraits of past presidents going back several generations. Mr Andreas Gnesda, the current President of the ÖGV,  made the welcoming address and introduced Ms. Suzilah Mohd Sidek, First Secretary at the Malaysian Embassy in Vienna, who elucidated on current economic developments in Malaysia within the context of Malaysia’s key position in the fast evolving ASEAN Economic Community.

Her comments were later elaborated by Mr. Christof Grabner, the initiator of the Vienna Chapter of the GMRT, who also outlined a number of infrastructure projects planned in South-East Asia designed to promote closer integration among the ASEAN members. Significantly, China is looking to build and extend fast rail links from its border to destinations throughout the ASEAN members on the Asian landmass.

Dr. Thomas Reisinger of Infineon, Europe’s second largest chip manufacturer, followed up with detailed presentations of the company’s history, current activities and future plans in Malaysia.

‘ Malaysia as Infineon’s gateway for sustainable success in Asia’Dr. Thomas Reisinger, Infinion AG

He noted that their presence in Malaysia goes back 40 years and was originally set up by Siemens. Infineon has 21 R&D locations and 12 manufacturing plants of which two of the largest are in Malacca and Kulim. They now employ around 9,500 staff in Malaysia which is 1.000 more than in their home country of Germany.

Dr. Reisinger was full of praise for Malaysia as a manufacturing location and highlighted the excellent infrastructure, social stability, educational standards and English language ability. He did mention that problems in other countries arose from erratic power and water supplies and limited availability of broadband internet connectivity. Operations in Malaysia are likely to continue being expanded and Infineon itself has just completed the acquisition of a US chip maker adding another US$ 1 billion to their annual turnover now standing at US$ 5.3 billion. Staff turnover which has been a problem in the past has been reduced to 10% per annum and higher incomes are helping to cement staff loyalty.

‘ Strive for Talent and HR strategy in Malaysia and ASEAN’Dr. Berthold Stöger, Semperit AG
Following Dr. Reisinger’s presentation, Dr. Berthold Stöger, the global head of the HR ( Human Resources) department of Semperit AG outlined the progress this leading Austrian rubber products company has made since taking over the Malaysian glove manufacturer Latexx.

Over the past three years they have ramped up output to 6 billion gloves and increased their workforce in Malaysia from 1,524 to 3,045 employees. They now have 24 manufacturing sites around the world but Malaysia is a key location and corporate plans envisage output rising by 1 billion gloves per year to meet the annual 5% rise in overall global market demand.

They still have to contend with quite high rates of employee fluctuation but are taking measures to improve working conditions and therefore staff loyalty.

Following the very high standard of presentations conducted in the English language, the participants had the opportunity to network with each other whilst enjoying a Malaysian buffet and other refreshments.

Once again the GMRT brought together a group of people with diverse commercial backgrounds to hear about developments in Malaysia and exchange their thoughts and ideas. Such events not only bring Malaysia into focus and act as a cost effective PR exercise, they also help to enhance trade and attract inward investment. Malaysia is increasingly being seen as an optimum gateway to the ASEAN Economic Community as well as being an attractive place to source imports or to invest.

Derrick Cowan, MATRADE Frankfurt, 11.06.2015

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