Malaysian law firms would be wise to consider publishing insights about local market and legal conditions surrounding Belt and Road infrastructure development for both domestic and foreign companies.

Malaysia is poised to receive more Belt and Road related investment

As Jamny Rosli recently reported in the MalayMail, James Cameron, Managing Director of HSBC and Co-Head of the firms’ Infrastructure and Real Estate Group, detailed in January how “Malaysia is seen as a success market for China’s Belt and Road Initiatives…[making it an] attractive destination for infrastructure investments due to its track record in regulatory consistency and institutional maturity.”

Importantly, Rosli detailed Cameron’s opinion that: “A mature infrastructure procurement system will continue to strengthen the infrastructure investments in Malaysia.”  

Malaysia’s Prime Minister has detailed the value of Belt and Road

And in January, Xinhuanet reported on comments Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak made that month before a gathering of Malaysian business executives — about China’s Belt and Road initiative and its’ implications for Malaysia.  In particular, Razak stated that Malaysia “must certainly take advantage” of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, “which has the potential to create the world’s largest platform for economic cooperation.” He also noted that as the Belt and Road Initiative covers a substantial portion of the world’s economy and population, “those are the markets that Malaysia will be able to tap into even more once connectivity is enhanced.”

Some Specifics about Malaysia’s Belt and Road Opportunity

The Xinhuanet report contained information on specific Belt and Road activity in Malaysia, including the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and the Malaysia’s Digital Free Trade Zone.  And The Sun Daily reported on the Malaysian Government’s budget report last year that: “Malaysia’s annual trade with countries along the Belt and Road exceeded RM850 billion in 2016, and with [Belt and Road], it is expected to increase further in the next decade.”  In particular, the budget report noted how, as a part of Belt and Road: “Malaysia has huge potential to collaborate with companies from China in key segments of the manufacturing sector such as electronics and electrical, chemicals, iron and steel, medical devices, aerospace and automotive as well as halal products and tropical fruits.”

Asia Law Portal has previously detailed the importance of infrastructure development in the Asia-Pacific region (including Belt and Road), and its profound implications for law firms.

A wide range of lawyers should consider publishing Belt and Road thought leadership

The recent news about how well placed Malaysia is for Belt and Road related development should draw the attention of lawyers in Malaysia who practice in not only infrastructure law, but all other legal specialisms domestic and international companies will need to succeed in Malaysia Belt and Road-related operations.  This would include human resources, corporate, M&A, finance, intellectual property, alternative dispute resolution, and many others.

Asia Law Portal has previously detailed how lawyers who choose to publish about niche subjects and focus their writings on the business objectives of potential clients – are statistically more likely to generate new work from those efforts than their competitors who do not publish.

A unique opportunity for Malaysian firms to join the international Belt and Road discussion

Belt and Road infrastructure development in Malaysia represents a significant client development opportunity for many of Malaysia’s law firms.  The wide media coverage Belt and Road already receives throughout the world presents a unique opportunity for Malaysian firms to join an already robust discussion as a unique participant providing Malaysia-specific business and legal information about Belt and Road.  Developing and nurturing this publishing niche, therefore, could uniquely distinguish a Malaysian law firm in the global discussion about Belt and Road for years to come.

For more information about how your firm can establish a thought leadership initiative focused on Belt and Road, please see our services page.

Posted by John Grimley

John Grimley edits and publishes Asia Law Portal. An independent writer & editor, he's the author of: A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets (Ark Group 2014).

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