Rolls-Royce is a global power group committed to delivering clean, safe and competitive solutions in the civil aerospace, power systems and defence sectors. Today, we have customers in more than 150 countries, comprising more than 400 airlines and leasing customers, 160 armed forces and navies, and more than 5,000 power and nuclear customers. Our presence in Malaysia spans over 60 years, where we have built a strong base and have become a strategic partner to the country’s aerospace development. Our Airline Support Team provides support to customers at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
We are a founding member of the Aerospace Malaysia Innovation Centre (AMIC), established by the Malaysian Aerospace Council to focus on research and development in Malaysia’s quest to become a leader in the industry. We also support the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) to encourage private-public technological partnerships.
As a testament to Malaysia’s manufacturing capability, we partnered with UMW Aerospace, the first Malaysian-based company to become a Tier 1 supplier to Rolls-Royce. Today, UMW supplies all the manufactured fan cases directly to the UK.
The Royal Malaysian Air Force and the Royal Malaysian Navy are key customers for our Defence business with fleets powered by Rolls-Royce engines.
Our Power Systems business provides sales and service in Malaysia via our distribution network joint venture with Sapura Resources Berhad called MPS Power Systems Sdn Bhd. We have a sizeable installed base of MTU-brand engines for both military and commercial applications in Malaysia.
What are some of your organisation’s proudest moments/milestones in Malaysia?
In 2015, we signed a 25-year agreement with UMW Aerospace to manufacture and assemble fan cases for our Trent aero engines. UMW Aerospace quickly became the first Malaysian-based company to become a Tier 1 supplier to Rolls-Royce. Employing a highly qualified workforce of over 20, to date, UMW has supplied over 325 fan cases to Rolls-Royce, which is a remarkable achievement. In October 2020, having demonstrated the strong focus on developing skills and capability and investing in infrastructure, UMW started to supply the fan case for Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 which powers the Airbus A330 neo.
Pre-pandemic, we participated in the KL Engineering and Science Fair as part of our STEM education programme. We look forward to be able to do STEM outreach in the local community again.
Based on your overall experience of doing business in Malaysia, name the advantages and challenges of doing business in Malaysia.
The business landscape is Malaysia is generally backed by favourable government policies, improved infrastructure and strengthened regional collaboration. Malaysia has also committed to being a carbon neutral country by 2050.
It is encouraging to see the Twelfth Malaysia Plan (RMK-12) announced in September that ensures the right foundation to address socioeconomic issues; and that supports sustainable long-term economic growth through innovation and the adoption of technology.
The key opportunity for Malaysia is to strengthen the connection within its vibrant ecosystem between academia, government, industries, and both MNCs and SMEs. Malaysia also has the opportunity to position itself as a regional contributor towards sustainability by crafting suitable policies that encourage technological development, partnership and that ultimately create new businesses.
Based on your experience in operating in Malaysia, what are the 3 most important criteria for achieving business success in Malaysia?
The first would be that it is important to understand the ecosystem and how to do business in Malaysia. The second is to understand the national strategy and policies and to build a supporting network. The third is to build trust with local partners through thoughtfulness and respect.
How has your business evolved during this pandemic, especially in terms of optimisation of human and technology resources?
The pandemic has given new impetus in response to climate emergency. The call for a more sustainable and net zero carbon is stronger than ever. To combat the climate crisis, we know that power must be made compatible with net zero carbon emissions.
Rolls-Royce has a long history of delivering cutting-edge technologies and we will continue to invest and develop the necessary lower, net zero and zero carbon technologies we need to achieve that ambition.
Since joining the UN Race to Zero Campaign last year, we’ve launched our net zero pathway and targets in June this year. This means that we will ensure our new products will be compatible with net zero operation by 2030, and all products, compatible by 2050.
Our pathway to net zero, launched in June this year, is taking us into new areas with significant growth opportunities; we are expanding our business in our traditional markets and entering new areas. We are applying new technology to a market that we know very well indeed, such as Urban Air Mobility. We are putting more focus on fuel efficiency gains and productivity, such as with increased use of Digital technology and Sustainable Aviation Fuels. We are also developing cleaner power solutions such as small modular reactor (SMR), microgrids, and hydrogen fuel cells.
Committing to a pathway that calls for innovation and new breakthroughs, with the goal of helping the larger society transition to a net zero future, gives a strong sense of purpose to our organisation and people. We have adjusted our ways of working and adopted a flexible approach to support our people in creating a more balanced work-life arrangement for their health and wellbeing so that they can be at their best.
What recommendation or advice would you give to other companies looking to invest or do in business in Malaysia?
Joining business networks in the country, either through government-linked trade/industry associations or business chambers, is important. However, we also have a responsibility to contribute to the development of the local ecosystem and communities, and being part of a network can help us do this in a meaningful way.
What are the top 3 reasons for your organisation joining the BMCC?
Rolls-Royce is proud of our British heritage and to be a member of the BMCC. At the same time, we are open to explore collaborations and the BMCC is an ideal platform for Rolls-Royce to connect with like-minded potential partners including SMEs, MNCs and industry/trade associations. BMCC also helps us build a closer relationship with the government in Malaysia as we look at strengthening our presence in the country and region.
What is the top value you see for yourself or your organisation in being a member of the BMCC?
The exposure and networking opportunities in being a member of BMCC have helped us build strategic relationships that are helpful for us in navigating through challenges and opportunities in the market.
In one sentence, how would you describe your own experience or your organisation’s experience as a member of the BMCC.
The platform provides an opportunity to get and remain connected with key stakeholders.