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When SPARKs fly in Johor – Nation

JOHOR BARU: The inaugural SPARK Johor 2019 Star Media Group Bhd began with the largest share of corporate figures and entrepreneurs in the state.

The event, which took place at Trove Johor Baru, was attended by around 300 guests to share their ideas and explore useful ideas for their business.

Star Media Group president Datuk Fu Ah Kiow said the event was not just a sharing session with Star Media Group but also a way to stimulate ideas, creativity, innovation and growth.

"At the same time, it should be able to address real issues and opportunities faced by companies in this ever-changing climate," he said in his speech.

Also present at the event were the chairman of the Johor's International Committee on Commerce, Investments and Public Services, Jimmy Puah Wee Tse, and the executive director of the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda), Datuk Ismail Ibrahim.

Fu said that as one of the top five contributors to the country's gross domestic product (GDP), Johor played a huge role in Malaysian growth history.

He said the progress of Iskandar Malaysia, while working towards its vision of becoming an economic powerhouse and international metropolis, was truly visible.

"Many of you here today know us as The Star, The People's Paper. We are proud to carry this name and continue to be the preferred source of news in English for Malaysians, "added Fu.

Like many other companies today, he said, the Star Media Group was undergoing a major transformation and was excited for the next phase of the group's journey, which went to a digital organization in the first place.

He also announced the expansion of the Johor office workforce to better serve people, including providing more coverage on news and development in the southern state.Puah said advancing, the next chapter of Johor's economic growth would be quality rather than just quantity investment.

"The value of the investment is important, but we prefer investments with greater potential for growth and high

value chain aligned with the government's 3H policy – high-tech, high-value and halal industry, "he said.

Puah said that, according to statistics released by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), Johor attracted RM1.7bil in investments in the first six months of 2018. "From July to December last year, the investment value approved

by Mida to Johor shot to RM28.8bil within six months, "he said.

Puah said most of the investment came from the manufacturing and petrochemical sectors, adding that Johor remained the top investment destination in the country, with Selangor second with RM18.9bil and Sarawak third with RM8.6bil.

Ismail said that the journey over the past 12 years to develop Iskandar Malaysia as a strong and sustainable metropolis of international standing was challenging and satisfying.

"Iskandar Malaysia received RM293bil in the cumulative total of committed investments from 2006 through March of this year, where 56% or RM166bil were realized," he said.

To date, he added, local investors contributed 62% of total committed investments, while the remaining 38% were from foreign investors.

He said that China, Singapore, the United States, Japan and Spain were the top five countries with the largest investments accumulated in the economic corridor.

"SMEs have also benefited from the progress and development of Iskandar Malaysia and Irda will continue to work with them for mutual benefit," Ismail said.

Guests also learned about topics such as StarBiz's "Successfully pitching stories to the Star" by Jagdev Singh and "Analytics 101: From Data to Insights" by Star Media Group Analytics chief Freddy Loo.

At the event, six philanthropic entities also received contributions totaling RM190,000 from the Star Foundation, a philanthropic arm of Star Media Group with the goal of raising, receiving and managing funds for various causes to assist organizations in their operating expenses, facilities and programs.

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