Global Opportunities

Nanotechnology development and opportunities for Swiss companies in Malaysia

Nanotechnology initiatives and development in Malaysia are aligned with a growing global revenue of nano-enabled sectors. The new government seeks to promote and drive its industry 4.0 to move forward to improve its technology development and bring positive impacts to its society. Potential technology partnerships with Swiss companies with expertise in Industry 4.0 are in demand.

Skyline of Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia’s new Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, continues to shake up national policy and encourages the country to focus on and promote high tech industry. During his recent visit to Japan, he has highlighted the importance of the country to focus on high tech industries and suggested areas for collaboration including high-tech industries such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence, electric vehicles and e-commerce. The 4th Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0) and Industry 4.0 strategic initiatives include smart city, smart univerCity, autonomous vehicles, robotics, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, electric vehicles, nano PV solar panels, and nanoporous zeolite and nanofertiliser.

Malaysia getting ready for Industry 4.0

The Malaysian National Initiative on Nanotechnology is spearheaded by NanoMalaysia Berhad to commercialize nanotechnology activities in the country via the Nanovation programme, the National Graphene Action Plan 2020, Advanced Materials Industrialization and NanoVerify programme.

NanoMalaysia Berhad is a government agency under the Ministry of Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment (MESTECC) and acts as a business entity entrusted with nanotechnology commercialization activities. Some of its roles include:
•    Commercialization of Nanotechnology Research and Development
•    Industrialization of Nanotechnology
•    Facilitation of Investments in Nanotechnology
•    Human Capital Development in Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology development in Malaysia will be accelerated through four key strategic sectors (with few examples of products to be developed):
-    Electronics devices & systems (nanosensors, nanoelectronics, nanodevices)
-    Food & agriculture (nanofiber, nanocellulose, food processing and management, nano fertiliser)
-    Energy & environment (advanced materials, green energy and power technology and system)
-    Wellness, medicine & healthcare (drug delivery, packaging and system, antimicrobial applications)

One of the initiatives of the Malaysia government to promote its Industry 4.0 is to promote applications of ‘graphene’. Key focus areas of the National Graphene Action Plan 2020 is to promote the use of graphene in:
1.    Lithium ion battery and ultra-capacitors (fast charging and high energy storage)
2.    Rubber additives (tires, gloves, industrial applications)
3.    Nano-fluids (automotive and industrial applications)
4.    Conductive inks (RFIDs)
5.    Plastics additives (high performance plastics)

Research institutions with capability in nanotechnology research in Malaysia include:
•    IbnuSina Institute for Fundamental Science Studies (IIS), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
•    Institute of Microengineering and Nanotechnology (IMEN), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
•    Centre of Innovative Nanostructures and Nanodevices (COINN), Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS
•    Institute of Nano Electronics Engineering (INEE), Universiti Malaysia Perlis
•    NEMS/MEMS Research Laboratory, MIMOS
•    Institute of Advanced Materials (ITMA), Universiti Putra Malaysia
•    NanoOpto-Electronics Research Lab (NOR LAB), Universiti Sains Malaysia
•    Nanotechnology and Catalysis Research Centre (NANOCAT), Universiti Malaya

The current market situation

There are currently more than 600 nanotech companies in Malaysia but most of them (70%) are active in personal care and the beauty market. Others are active in the sports and fitness, automotive, home appliances as well as healthcare industries. The NanoVerify programme (voluntary certification) initiated by NanoMalaysia has certified only 5% out of all nanotech products currently in the market. 

Although the nanotechnology in Malaysia is still at a growing stage, some success stories in the IR 4.0 ecosystem projects include the production of graphene based conductive ink for the use in flexible circuits and production of backup storage graphene based quantum cell battery that weighs lighter and takes a shorter time to charge for non-automotive applications. A Malaysian nanotechnology company Nanopac (M) Sdn Bhd had also signed a deal recently with a Swiss company GC Global Consulting GMBH for its nano light energy panel and its self-sustaining toilet in the boat manufacturing industry.

Opportunities for Swiss companies

•    Market opportunities with Malaysian nanotech companies in various sectors especially those highlighted by the Ministry.
•    Malaysia is also a good base to explore the rest of Southeast Asia market due to its strategic location and infrastructure.
•    Potential technology partnership since Swiss expertise is in demand.
•    Prospect for tax incentives and financial support in high tech industry from Malaysian government through setting up partnership with local companies.
•    Access to cost competitive Malaysian researchers and research facilities for product development and industrialization.

If you are a Swiss company specializing in nanotechnology and would like to learn more about nanotechnology business opportunities in Malaysia, please contact Angela Di Rosa, Senior Consultant of Southeast Asia. Contact now!


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