Chinese companies sign on to build Malaysia fishery, aquaculture project

A jetty at the Pantai Murni beach in Kedah, Malaysia
A jetty at the Pantai Murni beach in Kedah, Malaysia | Photo courtesy of Cik Bak/Shutterstock
4 Min

A Chinese company has signed a cooperative agreement with the state government of Kedah, Malaysia, to build a fishery hub.

Fujian Straits Planning Institute and the Hua Min Digital Intelligence Technology Co. signed a cooperation agreement with Kedah state to build the Kedah State Marine and Fisheries Economic Zone. The project will involve port development and cold chain warehousing as well as aquaculture operations, according to a statement published by the Fujian provincial Ocean and Fisheries Bureau.

Fujian Province Ocean and Fisheries Bureau Deputy Director Weng Xin Peng said the project, with an estimated price tag of CNY 1.2 billion (USD 168 million, EUR 156 million), would propel cooperation and resource sharing between China and Malaysia.

The Chinese government recently posted a whitepaper, “Development of China’s Distant Water Fishing Industry,” committing to further cooperation with developing countries to develop aquaculture and wild-caught fisheries using Chinese technology and know-how.

Huang Wensheng, general manager of the port development company Malaysia Ao Xin Port Development Co., also trading as Ausin 18 Sdn Bhd, said the cooperation boded well for bilateral relations.

“We hope Chinese technology like port equipment, aquaculture technology, and cold chain technology can be introduced to Malaysia with this project,” Huang told Fujian TV.

Fujian Haixia Research Institute of Architectural Design and Planning Co. Managing Director Wang Jianfeng said the export of China’s skills in digitization, as well as domestic aquaculture technology and expertise in international construction contracts, could “boost Fujian’s ocean economy.”

This isn’t the first Chinese attempt to build a fishing project in Kedah, which is known for its Langkawi holiday destination. In 2017, Huang Huikang, who was then the Chinese ambassador to Malaysia, vowed to bring “world-class aquaculture and fishery technology to Malaysia from China” to build the Kedah Integrated Fishery Terminal, a project valued at CNY 3 billion (USD 420 million, EUR 390 million). Backed by the Qingdao-based Lu Haifeng Investment Co., the project – which included port facilities, a processing hub as well as market and tourism facilities – was never built.

The ASEAN bloc, of which Malaysia is a member, has become a major market for the Chinese seafood industry. Steve Tan, a Malaysian seafood trader with Petaling Jala, Malaysia-headquartered GGH Seafood, said Malaysian seafood distributors are sourcing ever-cheaper seafood from Chinese processors in their battle for market share in Malaysia.

“Chinese processors are getting more competitive and aggressive, but when most of them are more or less equally competitive, I face ...

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