Penang has tabled its budget for 2019, outlining plans to fulfill the Penang Vision 2030 of being a family focused, green and smart state that inspired the nation. Last year, the state recorded a GDP increase of RM77.6 billion from RM73.7 billion in 2016. The four core values under Penang Vision 2030 are increase liveability to enhance quality of life, upgrade the economy to raise household income, empower people to strengthen civic participation and invest in the environment to improve resilience.
According to data from Isentia, conversations around the Penang Budget 2019 peaked on 9 October, 2 November and 10 November. Conversations revolved around the Minister of Finance Lim Guan eng who was previously the Chief Minister of Penang and intracity tolls being frozen for motorcycles on Penang Bridge. Netizens also called for the state government to stop hillside development projects. Majority (65%) of the chatter came from Facebook, followed by Twitter (19%) and forums (16%). Among the key topics mentioned were “tax”, “finance minister Lim Guan Eng”, “federal government”, “surplus” and “Georgetown”.
Meanwhile, statistics from Digimind showed that online discussions about the Penang Budget 2019 peaked on 9 November and key topics include “negeri pintar”, “menginspirasikan negara”, “berteraskan keluarga”, “chow kon yeow” and “arah penang 2030”.
Here are five areas the marketing industry should take note of.
1. Boosting tourism industry
Penang is setting aside 34 million to promote and further boost its tourism sector, leveraging on the state’s natural beauty, heritage, food and culture to draw more tourists. This year, the state expects to receive about 7.8 million tourists, an increase from the 7.2 million in 2017 and 6.5 million in 2016.
According to Penang chief minister Chow Kon Yeow, a few factors contributed to the state’s tourism growth, one of them being the launch of direct flights from some of the world’s major destinations such as Doha, Jakarta, Hanoi, Phuket and Nanning in partnerships with airlines such as Qatar Airways, AirAsia, Citilink and Malindo Airlines. Activities such as the Penang International Food Festival and Hot Air Balloon Party Programme also played a part in drawing tourists to the state. Both attracted over 708,000 visitors and 180,000 visitors to the state respectively.
The state government is also setting aside 9.2 acres of land adjacent to Macallum Gateway and Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu Highway for the Penang Art District, which targets artists, educators and the general public and features a container city concept and a landscaped garden.
Following the federal government’s announcement of allocating RM10 million to the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation for e-sports, Penang also aims to turn the state into an e-sports hub and make it a preferred destination among teenagers by launching the Penang eSports Festival in 2019.
E-sports is gradually becoming an important industry in Malaysia, with companies such as AirAsia, Media Prima and Astro establishing partnerships in the field. Razer co-founder and chief executive officer Tan Min-Liang also recently announced the company will invest RM10 million in Malaysia’s e-sports scene next year.
3. Industry 4.0
The state government and Penang Development Corporation (PDC) partnered to develop the Global Business Services By The Sea (GBS@By The Sea) and GBS PDC. The first phase of construction for GBS@By The Sea commenced in January this year and is expected to be completed by 2020, offering about 3,000 job opportunities. GBS PDC, on the other hand, is expected to be completed by September 2019. Meanwhile, GBS@Mayang, which aims to encourage local and global companies to set up their operations, is estimated to offer more than 2,000 job opportunities for local entrepreneurs.
4. SME Village
The third phase of the SME Village in Batu Kawan is currently under construction by the PDC and will include a service centre comprising a cafeteria, convenience store, exhibition space and meeting room. Phase one and two comprise 44 industrial land plots and 44 factories which have been completed.
Another SME project involving 27 units of factories at Bukit Minyak Industrial Park has also been completed, and the state government expects this to help SMEs increase productivity and expenditure. Additionally, the government is also encouraging large companies to work with local SMEs to generate a more stable economy among SME entrepreneurs.
5. Making Penang a global halal centre
According to Thomson Reuters’ State of the Global Islamic Report 2017/28 report, the economic value of the global Muslim community in 2016 reached RM14 trillion, and the figure is expected to jump to RM23 by 2022.
The state government plans to host the Penang International Halal Expo & Conference (PIHEC) again in 2019. PIHEC was held in Penang earlier this year, which saw industry players from Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Japan participate. Besides PIHEC, Penang is also contributing to the halal industry through the Penang International Halal Park which received RM484 million in investment from 10 companies during its first phase. For the second phase, the food zones attracted 21 companies with an investment value of RM242.76 million.
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