SK Group, the second largest conglomerate in Korea with a market capitalization of $177bn, has committed over $700m investments in Malaysia in 2021, and intends to invest further into the country moving forward.
In January 2021, SK Nexilis announced a capital expenditure of $553 million to set up a copper foil manufacturing facility in Sabah, which will be part of SK Group’s Electric Vehicle (EV) value chain. Recently, SK Group’s subsidiary SoCar Malaysia, the largest car sharing company in Malaysia, has raised more than $55m from EastBridge Partners and local conglomerate Sime Darby Berhad to fuel its expansion and build an EV platform in Malaysia, with plans to deploy hundreds of EVs in the next 5 years.
In addition, SK Group made a strategic investment of up to $100m into BigPay, a leading regional fintech company based in Malaysia, in August 2021. Investment into BigPay is a testament to the ability of Malaysian fintech companies to grow not just domestically, but also regionally and become a major player in Southeast Asia.
SK Group Taking Digitizations Seriously
In BigPay’s case, it also has access to a large consumer and micro-SME ecosystem with AirAsia, which can play a key role in the distribution of financial services, and additionally, brings the experience of having helped the under served population segments for many years across Malaysia.
Given the growing importance of SMEs in the country, BigPay has plans to catalyze intra-regional trade between Malaysian SMEs and the region, by initially leveraging the connectivity and network of AirAsia, combined with its logistics arm, Teleport. In the spirit of hyper collaboration, SK Group is also joining the BigPay consortium to apply for the upcoming digital banking license in Malaysia.
SK Group has seen the growing opportunity in digital banking as a way to change the way large portions of the population access financial services that they did not have before. SK has proven commercial experience in digital banking which was successfully implemented in Korea, such as its Alternative Credit Rating and Artificial Intelligence based data analytics.
Chief Representative of SK Malaysia, Jung Kyu Kim said, “We are confident that SK’s experience in financial tech services will contribute to successful digital bank ecosystem in Malaysia and further growth into the ASEAN region”
Building on these investments in 2021, Malaysia remains a strong investment destination for SK Group moving forward. As the group expands rapidly into new industries globally especially in sectors benefiting the environment and human health, SK Group continues to look for further investment opportunities in Malaysia. In particular, SK Group is keen to explore with like- minded partners in the growing sectors of EV, Digitalization and Environment which will drive these Malaysian industries to the next stage.