- Wartawan Nabalu News
China eyes Sabah for investment, regional influence
16 April 2023
By Wartawan Nabalu News
KOTA KINABALU: A delegation of 30 businessmen and officials from Jilin Province, China, is visiting Sabah for five days to explore opportunities in various sectors, including tourism, trading, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.
The delegation, led by Mr Lee Jian Hu, deputy director general of the Foreign Affairs Office of Jilin Province, met with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor and other state authorities and visited several industrial and academic sites.
One of the highlights of their visit was a briefing by POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd, a state-owned company that operates an industrial park and a port in Lahad Datu. The company aims to develop POIC Lahad Datu into a regional logistics hub for the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines- East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), a subregion that boasts abundant natural resources such as palm oil and marine products.
POIC Sabah Group CEO Datuk Fredian Gan welcomed the visitors and invited them to use POIC Lahad Datu as their ideal staging post to tap into the BIMP-EAGA market.
“Our POIC Lahad Datu industrial park, complete with its outstanding port infrastructure, will be your ideal staging post,” said Gan.
Li, a representative of the delegation, said they were impressed with POIC Lahad Datu and KKIP, another industrial park in Kota Kinabalu, and expressed interest in further exploring business potentials in Sabah and BIMP-EAGA.
He also said that Jilin Province, which is located in northeast China and has a strong industrial base and a large population of Korean ethnicity, would encourage more state-run and private corporations to invest in Sabah.
The visit comes amid a series of news reports about China's growing presence and influence in Sabah, such as a billion-ringgit solar panel investment at KKIP, collaboration with the China Construction Bank and negotiations with Zhejiang's Zanyu Technology Group and Shandong Port Group.
Later this week, a Sabah delegation will visit Shenzhen, China and Seoul, South Korea to continue wooing foreign investments.