Malaysia-based conglomerate DRB-Hicom and Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., Ltd. (Geely) have signed a joint venture agreement to develop the Automotive Hi-Tech Valley (AHTV) in Tanjong Malim, Perak in Malaysia.

DRB-Hicom said in a statement on Monday that this follows the recent master collaboration agreement signed in October 2023, which had set forth the underlying principles, governance framework, and mutual commitment for the AHTV project.

The joint venture agreement outlines the key principles of the strategic collaboration, alignment on objectives, and terms of the partnership.

A joint venture company will leverage on the respective strengths and expertise of DRB-HICOM and Geely Holding in establishing AHTV as the international next generation vehicle hub in Malaysia.

According to the statement, AHTV will encompass extensive automotive and mobility solutions across the value chain, from a full-fledged high technology global research and development center, to world-class automotive original equipment manufacturers and manufacturing clusters.

In addition, it would support services within an associated ecosystem, such as logistics, training and learning institutions within a smart city for the automotive industry.

DRB-Hicom said in earlier statements that the project is targeted as a hub to attract investments to the tune of MYR 32 billion ($6.83 billion) from multiple global parties over a ten-year development period.

AHTV will also receive direct and indirect benefits from DRB-Hicom and Geely-owned automaker 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.

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.

DRB-Hicom believes that AHTV is the right move forward Malaysia in the new automotive technology space, and the inclusion of multiple global investors augurs well for the domestic industry and economy, as well as adding value to the Malaysian automotive landscape.

DRB-Hicom is one of Malaysia’s leading group of companies with core businesses in the automotive, aerospace and defense, banking, postal, services, and properties sectors.

DRB-Hicom has 84 active companies in its stable with more than 45,000 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 defense, the firm is involved through its subsidiaries CTRM and DEFTECH, while it is represented in the postal segment through its subsidiary 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 properties, the firm is involved in the development of industrial properties.

Geely is a Chinese multinational automotive company headquartered in Hangzhou, Zhejiang.

Its flagship brand, Geely Auto, has launched several new energy vehicles (NEVs), including the intelligent luxury electric vehicle (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.

Malaysia’s DRB-Hicom and China’s Geely set framework for development of Automotive Hi-Tech Valley