Malaysian automotive manufacturer and distributor DRB-Hicom Berhad and China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd (Geely) have signed a Heads of Agreement (HOA) to reinforce the next phase of collaboration between the two companies for the development of the Automotive High-Tech Valley (AHTV) in Malaysia.

DRB-Hicom said in a statement on last Saturday that AHTV will be Malaysia’s next generation vehicle hub in Tanjong Malim covering extensive automotive and mobility solutions value chain, from a fully-fledged high technology global research and development centre to a manufacturing cluster and supporting services and associated ecosystem.

The focus of the HOA is the development of an integrated automotive city that will give birth to a hub for a new energy vehicle (NEV) industry.

AHTV will occupy an area of approximately 1,000 acres and will be expanded accordingly to cater for future needs.

Over the next ten years, AHTV is expected to attract some MYR32 billion ($7.24 billion) worth of investments, including by national car company Proton.

AHTV will also receive direct and indirect benefits from Proton’s plan to fully relocate its manufacturing facilities to Tanjong Malim by 2026.

Proton currently produces five models in AHTV and another two models in Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia.

AHTV will also include a research-based university to nurture new talents and development in areas of new and emerging technologies for the industry and the automotive sector in general.

It will also house a research and development (R&D) center that will provide carmakers with a tropicalized setting to test their vehicles.

With the global trend shifting towards NEV, Geely’s role in the development of AHTV is apt, given the Chinese carmaker’s wide experience in sector.

Geely’s flagship brand, Geely Auto, has launched several NEVs, including the intelligent luxury EV brand Zeekr.

The company has also invested in a range of battery technologies and has a dedicated new energy division which is focused on developing and producing NEVs, and has announced plans to launch more than 30 new energy models across its brands by 2025.

DRB-HICOM is one of Malaysia’s leading conglomerates with core businesses in the automotive, aerospace and defence, banking, postal, services, and property sectors.

The company has 82 active companies and more than 46,000 employees group-wide.

In the automotive sector, the firm is involved in the manufacturing, assembly and distribution of passenger and commercial vehicles, including the national motorcycle.

In aerospace and defence, the firm is involved through its subsidiaries CTRM and DEFTECH, while it is represented in the postal segment through its subsidiaries Pos Malaysia, and banking through Bank Muamalat.

In the services segment, DRB-Hicom is involved in various businesses, including concession, education, aviation and logistics and investment holdings whereas in property, it is involved in the development of industrial properties.

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