Malaysia held bilateral trade meetings with China to further promote trade and spur economic growth with the two nations.
Representing Malaysia, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak held talks with Chinese Finance Minister Xie Xuren to discuss new trade possibilities.
The meetings are significant for Malaysia as they will be Najib’s first session with his two counterparts as Finance Minister and can also serve to familiarize Chinese leadership with the Prime Minister-designate of Malaysia.
Malaysia is also keen to expand links with China, especially since it has become a key destination for Chinese tourists (mainly from Southern China especially Guangzhou and Shenzhen) turning to affordable short-term holidays.
January was the Spring Festival holiday break in China and a boomtime for Malaysia’s tourism industry since many Chinese are skipping Thailand because of the political situation there.
In 2008, tourists from China, including Hong Kong and Macao came up to 949,864, nearing the one million target. Malaysia stands out as an attractive destination in the low to middle income bracket.
Malaysia’s tourism industry wants to aggressively market niche products like student camps, honeymoons, fly-and-drive, golfing and weekend packages.
Low-cost Malaysian carrier, Air Asia, had started flying to the two southern cities in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region with such flights set to increase to include Tianjin, Chengdu, Chongqing and Xian in the mainland and Taipei and Kaoshiung in Taiwan.
Malaysia’s bilateral meeting took place against the backdrop of senior Finance Ministry officials of ASEAN meeting with Japan, China and South Korea to discuss cooperation to fight the global financial crisis.
These are done in preparation for the main event in the form of the 14th Asean Summit at the Thai resort of Hua Hin from 27 Feb 2009 to 1 March 2009.
Chua, Eddie, "Malaysia, China and Indonesia in trade talks" dated 22 February 2009 in the Star website [downloaded on 1 March 2009], available athttp://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/2/22/nation/3322727&sec=...
Tham, Choy Lin, "Chinese Tourists Flock To Malaysia" dated 15 Feb 2009 in the Bernama website [downloaded on 1 March 2009], available athttp://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsgeneral.php?id=389892