The 2019 mission is a showcase for nine dynamic companies from Wales, ranging from creative agencies specialising in virtual reality to manufacturers of heavy lifting equipment. All are hoping to develop their trading relationship with the UK’s two most important partners from the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region. 

It’s a large and growing market. Last year, the UK Department of International Trade estimated that Britain now has almost 25,000 businesses exporting to the ASEAN-4 nations alone (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam), and is the second biggest European investor in the whole region.

Malaysia has an open economy that has grown by an average of 6 per cent, year on year, since 1970, outperforming most of its regional neighbours.  As its economy continues to expand and develop, the nation of over 31 million people is certain to offer excellent opportunities to Welsh businesses seeking a foothold in South-East Asia.

Important cultural, sporting and academic links have been fostered between the two nations. In 2013, the International University of Malaya-Wales was founded in Kuala Lumpur as a joint venture between the University of Malaya and the University of Wales. It offers its students the chance to spend a semester at one of the campuses of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and to gain a dual award from the two institutions.


Singapore cityscape at night

Wales’ other universities have proved similarly popular with Malaysian students. Cardiff University has developed academic links in subjects including Law, Business and Pharmacy with Malaysia’s leading colleges and universities, and has an active Malaysian Students’ Society. Likewise, Aberystwyth Law School has a relationship with the Asian nation dating back to 1951, when the eminent Malaysian politician Tun Muhammad Ghazali bin Shafie arrived to study Law.

For many in Wales, the most visible emblem of cooperation has been Cardiff City FC. Under the ownership of Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan, the club has twice been promoted to the Premier League – and as part of an ongoing sponsorship deal, the branding of the Malaysian Tourist Board appears prominently across Cardiff players’ shirts.

The city-state of Singapore is among the most prosperous nations in the world by GDP per capita.  It’s a global business powerhouse and a financial, shipping and trade hub for the wider Asia Pacific region.

It has an open and trade-driven economy, delivering great export opportunities for Welsh businesses – something illustrated in the latest edition of the World Bank’s “ease of doing business” global rankings, in which Singapore is placed second.  Recent figures suggest there are already around 4,000 UK companies with a presence there, employing more than 50,000 people.

Businesspeople from Wales have been active in Singapore for more than a century. As long ago as 1912, the Straits Times reported that the city’s Welsh expats came together for a St David’s Day dinner at a leading hotel. The St David’s Society of Singapore was founded in 1948 to give the community a more permanent focus. The association remains active today, welcoming people of all nationalities with an interest in Welsh culture in South-East Asia.

The nine companies taking part in the mission are Atticus Digital, BCB International, CSCM Group, Huntingdon Fusion Techniques, Markes International, MM Engineering, REID Lifting, Secure Sensor Innovative Design and Teddington Engineered Solutions. All are seeking to showcase their innovation and enterprise to prospective business partners in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and to fly the flag for Wales in South-East Asia.

Key Facts

  • Around 4,000 companies from Wales and the rest of the UK have a presence in Singapore, employing more than 50,000 people.
  • Malaysia and Wales have developed strong academic links, including the International University of Malaya-Wales - a joint enterprise founded in 2013.

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