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Penang On Its Way To Becoming The MedTech Hub Of Asia


Penang is on track to become Asia’s MedTech Hub as its exports of medical devices and scientific instruments continue to soar. With about 65% of Malaysia’s MedTech industry exports coming from Penang between 2017 and 2021, it is quickly gaining recognition as a global MedTech investment destination.

One of the key factors driving this success is the availability of skilled talent and a reliable supply chain in Penang. The state is already home to six of the top 30 global medical device companies in Southeast Asia, earning its reputation as the Silicon Valley of the East.

Penang’s strong manufacturing ecosystem, particularly in the electronics and electrical sector, has consistently attracted high investments from local and foreign companies. Over ten years, between 2012 and 2021, Penang secured RM149 billion in approved manufacturing investments, reaching its all-time high of RM76 billion in 2021.

2022 Penang accounted for 29.9% of Malaysia’s total exports, contributing RM463.3 billion, with integrated electronic circuits amounting to RM187.8 billion.

The state’s attractiveness to investors remains strong, with RM13.7 billion in approved manufacturing investments in 2021 alone. Additionally, in the first quarter of 2023, Penang ranked second among all states, attracting RM3.2 billion, including RM2.3 billion in foreign direct investments.

This success can be attributed to Penang’s robust manufacturing ecosystem and a culture that fosters a business-friendly environment. With these strengths, Penang is positioned to be a dominant force in the MedTech industry in Asia.
Government agencies collaborate closely to ensure investment projects are efficiently executed within budget and timelines. These successful investments serve as strong ambassadors for Penang. The state’s infrastructure and continuous improvement of manufacturing parks have played a role in attracting investors. While the semiconductor industry has experienced a slight slowdown, the medical and automotive sectors continue to grow. This cyclical nature is normal and presents an opportunity for workforce training. Penang’s availability of highly skilled talents is a key factor for investor interest.

Over the past decade, the state government has prioritized developing local talents through initiatives like Penang Future Foundation, Penang Tech Dome, and Penang i4.0 Seed Fund. Penang has outperformed the national GDP growth, demonstrating its resilience and attractiveness as an investment destination. Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the state’s robust ecosystem and highly-qualified talent pool have instilled investor confidence.


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