BioInnovation Corridor attracts investors from China, US, NZsqwcgadmin
BRUNEI’s up and coming BioInnovation Corridor (BIC) is capable of attracting foreign investors and being considered for investment along with other economic corridors in the region, said the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) yesterday.
While the Sultanate does not intend to compete with the likes of Iskandar Malaysia in Johor or Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy, the BIC has its own “differentiating factors” that may come out as better propositions to investors, said Yang Berhomat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar.
“One of the differentiating factors will be the corridor development,” he told The Brunei Times on the sidelines of the International Food and Biotech Investment Conference.
He said the Brunei-Guangxi Economic Corridor, an agreement which will see over $500 million worth of investments coming in the BioInnovation Corridor, is an attraction for investors.
“There is a dedicated supply line or connection between Brunei and China through Guangxii. So that in itself will become an attraction,” he said.
YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya said a number of companies from New Zealand, South and North Americas are “interested” to consider the BIC as an investment destination.
“The BIC is not just a park, it’s a park that can connect investors with China. That is probably one of the strongest differentiating factors of the BIC,” he said.
The government has also secured the BIC’s sea logistics and connectivity system by working with a top Chinese seaport operator.
“So that’s what differentiates our park. We have been telling our counterparts from Guangzhi about the idea of how we will be connected with them by utilising the China-Asian 21st Century Maritime Silk Road,” said the minister.
He said Brunei also has its own internal attractions such as the Brunei Halal brand.
“That in itself is an attraction. Our halal certification is known to be stringent,” he said.
YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya said Brunei’s image as an environmentally-friendly country, its political stability and a highly educated and technology-savvy workforce will also entice investors to come to the Sultanate.
“I am optimistic that we will be able to promote the corridor to investors,” he said.
In a separate interview, BIC Park Manager Gary Ho said Brunei offers competitive utility rates and a “fairly clean government” to investors.
“If I am the investor and I come here, I look at at a clean bureaucracy which is very important,” he said.
Ho said the “well planned” BIC has the infrastructure that biotech and food companies need.
The BIC, an MIPR-led initiative, aims to attract investments and promote the development of halal industry in Brunei. It also aims to create a mixed use environment to accommodate research and innovative technology applications.
The BIC is expected to provide up to 28,000 full time jobs, of which 9,500 will be in the area of food processing, according to a BIC fact sheet.
The 466-hectare corridor can also accommodate up to 8,000 residents upon completion of all phases.
The BIC is currently discussing development plans of Phase 1, which covers 37 hectares of land to be subdivided into 25 plots.
Approximately 30 per cent of up to 195 hectares of the total land in the BIC has been earmarked for industrial usage and 25 per cent allocated for “green space.”
Source: Brunei Times