Friday, 27 April 2018

MALAYSIA AUTOSHOW 2018 – Time to re-imagine country’s technological future

In January, this column spoke about global trends on the redefinition of mobility – and that redefinition will come sooner than expected.
Last week, we discussed the blue ocean strategy created from this redefinition, and that such trends will force the remodelling of businessses and human capital, creating new opportunities while possibly rendering some jobs and businesses obsolete. The opportunities moment to dive into this new blue ocean strategy is now, while the water still has few swimmers.
By the time this article is printed, the Malaysia Autoshow 2018 would be opening its doors – this time, banging the first drumbeat of this blue ocean strategy dive.
The opening ceremony today will be integrated with a showcase on connected mobility, providing Malaysians a vision of the automotive industry’s future, which will evolve into the mobility industry.
This showcase will signify Malaysia’s journey into the world of connected mobility, with the aspiration to be a pioneer in this new cyber-physical transformation.
The showcase will be also the first narrative that guides Malaysia’s industry plans and roadmaps, charting out subsequent plans to ensure we are aligned with this vision.
If you aspire to see our nation becoming a global industry leader, we hope this showcase will be your first source of inspiration.
The reason is straightforward. The National Automotive Policy (NAP) 2018, expected to be announced later this year, will make this vision of connected mobility a key feature.
Numerous articles in this column have pointed out our achievemnets since NAP2014 was announced more than four year ago. Rest assured, this milestones will serve as the foundation for the next phase.
As the NAP 2018 is expected to be derived from the core principles af NAp 2014, it will expand the government’s policy from energy efficiency to connected mobility – an industry that brings new technology and products such as connected cars, smart cities, intelligent shared transportation, smart manufacturing, telematics and artificial intelligence.
The policy needs to cover all government functions, industry and business sectors, and remodel human capital needs to meet the aspirations of malaysians and enable connected mobility requires policy framework, industry decisions and scientific endeavours to be based on data-driven economy.
Data will be at the core of our decision-making process, as itis powered by relevant and accurate information collected from vast reliable source. The framework ofthis data-driven industry will be revealed at the showcase.
This weekend, the nation will witness and experience the aspiration above. The Malaysia Autoshow 2018, while allowing visitor to experience current levels of technology, safety and performance to learn, understand, discuss and imagine the future.
Moving into the fourth edition of the Malaysia Autoshow, one thing we have learned is that in order for any future to be built, the entire nation must be allowed to experience and glimpse into this future, first-hand.
The Malaysia Autoshow 2018, the showcase on connected mobility and subsequent autoshows will always have this principle and will continue to evolve to enable more participation in the years to come.
If you are reading this before 9.30am today, check out MAI’s Facebook page to watch this new future “live”. If not, watch the recording as this will be the beginning of the re-imagination of Malaysia’s technological future.
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Early mover advantage in connected mobility

Malaysia’s industrialisation has come a long way and been explained extensively in this column.
It has admittedly been a rollercoaster journey for our industrial sector as we were working in the shadow of countries and markets that started almost a century ahead of us.
As we progresses further and further, we reach that peak of realisation that market liberalisation must be a key feature of our economy and has gradually moved at a more rapid pace, particularly through the National Automotive Policy 2014 (NAP2014).
In summary – today, cars are more affordable, but more importantly, are more informed of the choices laid before them.
The next question is straight forward and has been a subject of discussion since NAP2014 was announced and is more pertinent as we move towards NAP2018 – what will it take for Malaysia’s automotive industry to leapfrog to the global level?
Some say that these things take time. It took a century for today’s front-runner to estalish themselves since the horseless carriage was first introduced in the mid-1800s.
I personally both agree and dissagree.
The world has become a blue ocean that puts a premium on rapid innovation. innovation in this sense does not only refer to technology, but also innovation inthinking – those who are able to invent new thinking models are those who create the new categories of demand that are unique to them, reaping rewards from business models and products that are often not easy to copy due to their first mover advantage.
The speed of this innovation will most likely render the term “infant industries” obsolete, as the take-off period of industries are shortened bt a higher frequency of disruption – even mature businessses will not have much time to enjoy the fruits of their innovation for long.
In that sense, the “time given” can never be a protection model, but rather identifying and incentivising the development of new innovative products towards sustainable business models that rapid uptakes.
Taking a giant leap forward, especially in high technology sectors, requires rapid innovation in new blue oceans. It is a mix of ambition, capability, faith and opportunity. Opportunities are aplenty, but they require precise timing, to maximise rewards and maximise risk.
With that said, the world is seeing one of the most rapid disruptions in the transportation sector. If we look back at the last decade, the subject to autonomous driving (which has a century-long history) was only limited to prototypes in controlled environments with a lot of human intervention. However, most of the technology we see today are avances that have emerged only over the last few years.
The technology behind autonomous driving – a component in the grander nation of mobility – is still a blue ocean. this is not just in the sense of its development, but also still resistive to scaleable public buy-in and necessary legal and infrastructural frameworks.
Hence lies the opportunity for us to strike. As the world is figuring out of the economic models to participate in sucg game-changing business ecosystems, it equalises the playing field for new players. If we were to participate in the mobility industry now, we will not be competing in the shadow of those who have established themselves a century ago.
Furthermore, while mobility based businesses are gaining traction faste in North America and Europe, it is still relatively new within the Asia-Pasific region, with only a few countries seeming to take the leap.
It is now the time for usto look further ahead into the future. For Malaysia, I believe the future of mobility is now and the window of opportunity to become an early mover in the region has never been opened this wide.
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Continuity and consistency of economic thinking

Since the National Automotive Policy 2014 (NAP2014) was announced, we saw a rapid transition in the development of the automotive industry. While it was a tall order for many at the beginning, and while we were not spared from criticism from many angles, the results spoke for itself.
The first two years were perhaps the toughest part – firstly, to convince the entire nation that we had to gradually liberalising the market.
Secondly, we had to attain significant buy-in whereby a policy of energy efficiency was the way forward in a country that has been traditionally accustomed to convenient fuel dependance.
Third and most significantly, the automotive sector spanned across many government, industry and academic functions, making consolidation towards a singular direction a mammoth task to co-ordinate.
Against all odds, we have overcome most of these obstacles. The support and foresight of numerous industry captains, ministers and the civil service groups have unified the nation towards making Malaysia an EEV hub.
Without such immense belief in the long term goals we set out for, it would not have been possible to achieve the results we saw at the beginning of this year.
EEV penetration increased significantly as at December last year – 52 per cent of new cars in Malaysia were EEVs. Exports of new and remanufactured parts and components surpassed the RM11 billion and RM500 million mark respectively, since 2016.
More than 25000 jobs were created in last year alone, recording a continuous year-on-year increase since the Malaysian Automotive Human Capital Development Roadmap was launched in 2014.
While original equipment manufacturers have been instrumental in their commitment to producing EEVs, our local vendors have also achieved greater milestones towards competitiveness.
The vendors are transforming their business models and investing in the production of high technology components, such as plastic fuel tanks and advanced driver assistance systems, which are designed and developed using advanced technologies like digital prototyping and manufacturing execution systems.
Through the NAP2014, these upstream capabilities will be expanded through dedicated research and development facilities established by Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI), such as the MAI Design Center, National Emission Test Center and the MAI Resource Centre.
The policy will be able to achieve greater nationwide outreach with the establishment of various MAI Satellite Nodes in the northern, southern, and eastern regions of Peninsular Malaysia, as well as in Sabah and Sarawak.
The shift we have seen in the past four years are not only in policy, but also, more importantly, in thinking paradigm.
The NAP has proven to be a catalyst in change in the industry and society – we not only believe in our abilities, but are now more determined than ever to compete on equal footing with the rest of the world and bring the entire nation towards greater heights.
This paradigm shift needs to continue as it will be the foundation for our next transformation phase – through the National Automotive Policy 2018 (NAP2018).
It is a policy that will upgrade the current NAP2014 to focus beyond energy efficiency, and include high-end technology that will transform how we do business, create new high-impact careers and enhance our lifestyle through a redefined notion of mobility.
To achieve this, our current thinking and ambition can’t change course as the development of a nation, especially a technology driven one, is a long-term endeavour that must withstand short-term distractions and disruptions.
Policies, business thinking and individual ambitions may be tweaked upon shifts in trends – but must not be eroded in its principles in order to achieve its long term goals.
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

MALAYSIA AUTOSHOW 2018 – A glimpse into the future of automotive industry

At the end of this month, the nation will again be able for themselves the latest technology offerings by the automotive indusry.

The MAlaysia Autoshow 2018 will provide visitors a glimpse into the future and how the automotive industry plans to take the world head on to be a globally competitive player in transportation, more specifically in mobility.

The show, which again be held at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS), will open its doors to the public from April 26 to 29.

Last year’s move to the larger exhibition space in MAEPS proved to be a right decision for the event, as the 2017 edition showcased an experiences rarely seen in international motor shows, even the likes of Geneva, Tokyo or Paris.

Malaysia’s perfect weather, coupled with vast and luscious greenery surrounding the MAEPS grounds provided a perfect setting for more than 250,000 visitors last year.

While the halls exhibited the latest car models, the outdoor grounds allowed for longer test drives, various 4x4 and off-road experiences and karting challenges for visitors of all ages.

The Malaysia Autoshow this year will feature all attractions showcased last year, but will take its next step – a central location for Malaysians to understand and see what the future automotive industry will be like.

One of the attractions this year will be the Intelligent Mobility Experience (IMEX). To be located in Hall D, it will showcase latest technologies in future mobility.

As we inch closer towards the future, technologiest, products, support structures, manufacturing and after sales will also change.

Technology disruptions are perhaps the most challenging comprehension exercises to implement, especially at a nationwide level. The IMEX serves as a physical structure for visitors to experience the mobility elements.

There will be virtual and augmented reality zones, smart factory displays, smart mobility exhibitions, and the chance to speak directly to experts and learn more about the technology and opportunities that are in store in the near future.

At the same time, the public will be able to understand how the connectivity of vehicles will impact consumer lifestyles in the future.

More than 100 models will be displayed at the auto show halls and will continue to include the latest Energy Efficient Vehicles (EEVs) as part of Malaysia’s drive to become a regional EEV hub.

These latest models are not only more energy efficient but also includes latest safety features. Many original equipment manufacturers will display features that include autonomous emergency braking, lane departure assist technology and adaptive cruise control, and visitors can experience them first-hand.

The long test drive track - a 3km stretch that allows visitors to truly experience the cars on display - which will be a permanent feature at the MAlaysia Autoshow, will again be a "one-of-kind" experience for visitors.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of what’s in store for visitors at the malaysia Autoshow 2018.
Whether you are a first timer or a returning visitor, rest assured you will find the auto show to serve as an important component towards global competitiveness.

The Malaysian automotive industry not only requires the participation of industry players, government bodies or academia, but also must have "buy-in" support from all Malaysians.

Public participation and awareness on energy efficiency, mobility technology and safety is a prime mover of industry demand, and it is only fair for all Malaysians to experience the industry’s capabilities and aspirations first hand.

It is for this reason that the theme for the Malaysia Autoshow 2018 is a “360 Degree Mobility Experience”.

Find out more at the Malaysia Autoshow website ( or Malaysia Automotive Institutes portals.

The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.