| | DECEMBER 20239IN FOCUSSIME DARBY EXPANDING CAR RETAIL BUSINESS IN INDIA, INDONESIA - CEOSime Darby, Malaysia's industrial and automotive conglomerate, aims to establish a luxury car retail venture in India and enhance its presence in Indonesia to capitalize on the growth opportunities in both economies. Jeffri Salim Davidson, Group Chief Executive Officer, emphasized the significance of India, considering it too substantial to overlook. The company intends to explore potential ventures in India through local partnerships to initiate a car retail business.As the world's fifth-largest economy and with a substantial population, India holds immense importance. Additionally, Sime Darby plans to extend its operations in Indonesia, Southeast Asia's largest economy. This expansion involves collaborating with a local company to sell BMW cars in Jakarta and Medan. Despite China contributing 35 percent of its revenue, Sime Darby anticipates sustained demand for luxury cars in the region, despite the deceleration in economic growth.Jeffri noted, "In China, despite people having disposable income, the challenge isn't a lack of demand but rather an oversupply issue". He explained that Chinese car manufacturers significantly increased production post-pandemic, aiming to expand their market share. However, this surge led to an imbalance in supply, compelling manufacturers to reduce prices, thereby squeezing the profit margins of retail distributors. Established in 1910, Sime Darby stands as one of Malaysia's oldest conglomerates with diversified businesses encompassing plantations and manufacturing across 17 countries. In 2017, it divested its palm oil and property ventures and recently sold off other businesses, including Ramsay Sime Darby Health Care.Presently, Sime Darby focuses on industrial and automotive sectors, including the assembly of Porsche cars in Malaysia and the distribution of BYD electric vehicles in Malaysia and Singapore. In a significant move in August, it revealed the acquisition of a 61.2 percent stake in UMW Holdings, a Malaysian automotive-to-manufacturing company. UMW Holdings assembles Toyota cars in Malaysia and holds shares in local car manufacturer Perodua, with the acquisition amounting to 3.57 billion ringgit ($767.41 million). Jeffri anticipates that this deal will position Sime Darby as the primary player in Malaysia's automotive industry, capturing more than 50 percent of the country's automotive market. "Our focus has largely been on luxury segments", he remarked. "Through this acquisition, we now enter the mass market, effectively expanding our reach across the entire value chain".
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