The second edition of Sweden-Southeast Asia Business Summit (SSEABS) was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 6-7 February, with participation from Sweden and the ASEAN-region, notably from the host country Malaysia. The Swedish delegation was led by Minister of Enterprise and Innovation Mr Mikael Damberg, who gave the opening speech at SSEABS and also met his Malaysian counterpart, Minister of International Trade and Industry Y.Bhg. Dato Sri Mustapa bin Mohamed, for bilateral talks. Senior business representatives from Sweden included i.a. Mr. Marcus Wallenberg, who also was one of the key note speakers at SSEABS. The first edition of Sweden-Southeast Asia Business Summit was held in Singapore 2016.
Sweden’s Minister for Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg spoke about how Sweden’s success in innovation can linked to the traditions of openness and transparency in Sweden, which creates a good climate for new ideas and innovation to prosper. “In many parts of the world, people are afraidof automation since it means jobs disappearing, while in Sweden the focus is rather to embrace change given the great opportunities that automation will bring”, Minister Damberg said when asked how Sweden has managed to become so successful in developing new technologies and innovative solutions to meet new challenges. New technologies and sustainable solutions leads to increased productivity and efficiency.
Malaysia’s Minister of International trade and Industry Mustapa bin Mohamed in his opening remarks spoke about the positive changes that have happened during the past decades in Malaysia, emphasizing that Malaysia welcomes Swedish and other foreign investments with open arms. He also expressed satisfaction that an increasing number of international companies choose Malaysia as their regional hub for trade with the ASEAN-region. The Minister also noted that the long term prospects for Southeast Asia were promising, as analyzed by International Financial Institutions, taking note of the positive business climate in Malaysia.
Mr Marcus Wallenberg spoke about the dynamic and fast-growing Southeast Asian region, whose growing middle class will become a factor of growth and increased productivity in Southeast Asia. He also stressed that technological development will lead to great future business possibilities within both the manufacturing and service sector for Swedish companies in the region.
The talks during the first day of the business summit focused on the bright future and business opportunities that exist in Southeast Asia. The discussions i.a. touched on growth strategies for Malaysia and the other Southeast Asian countries, the necessity for increased sustainability both socially and ecologically in order for companies to become competitive in a long term perspective, where climate changes increasingly will define what is sustainable or not. Not only in Southeast Asia, but globally, awareness of the consequences of climate change must increase, and this will have an effect on doing business. Sustainability is important for future long term viability in industry and business. It was noted by Malaysia that sustainability is a high priority in the country’s strategic development plan.
During the second day of SSEABS the focus was on future development within certain industrial sectors. Themes discussed were i.a. the phenomenon known as the fourth industrial revolution, the consequences of digitalization and the emergence of automatization and artificial intelligence, as well as sustainable transport infrastructure and circular economic models for waste management.