New Stakeholder Initiatives Kicked Off at KL20 Summit, Propelling Malaysia’s Startup Ecosystem Forward - MyDIGITAL
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New Stakeholder Initiatives Kicked Off at KL20 Summit, Propelling Malaysia’s Startup Ecosystem Forward

New Stakeholder Initiatives Kicked Off at KL20 Summit, Propelling Malaysia’s Startup Ecosystem Forward

New Stakeholder Initiatives Kicked Off at KL20 Summit, Propelling Malaysia’s Startup Ecosystem Forward

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – 23 Apr 2024 – Malaysia has made new inroads into unlocking the potential of its startup ecosystem at the inaugural KL20 Summit 2024, launched by Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Prime Minister of Malaysia. Held on 22 to 23 April at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, the conference brought together an exciting mix of sovereign wealth funds, international VCs and unicorn founders to explore the challenges and opportunities in Malaysia’s tech sector.

“The summit, organised by the government and spearheaded by the Ministry of Economy, aims to move Kuala Lumpur into the ranks of the top 20 global startup hubs by 2030. We want to nurture Malaysia’s startup ecosystem by rolling out supportive government policies, attracting funding and growing the talent pool. The ultimate goal is to transform Malaysia’s economy into a high-income, high value one,” said Rafizi Ramli, Minister of Economy. 

Meeting of Top Minds

To achieve its goal, the KL20 Summit 2024 offered exciting opportunities for networking, collaboration and showcasing of inventive solutions, providing avenues for immersion in Malaysia’s burgeoning startup ecosystem. The event saw the participation of 1,000 international investors and startups, as well as over 3,000 international and local participants.

Some renowned global names who spoke at the summit included Jenny Lee, Senior Managing Partner of Granite Asia; Dr Qi Bin, Deputy Chief Investment Officer of China Investment Corporation; CK Tseng, President for ASEAN and Taiwan at Arm;

Ben Prade, Partner at GP Bullhound; and Datuk Pua Khein-Seng, Founder and CEO of Phison. They shared ideas on enhancing the startup ecosystem such as attracting venture capital in Asia, opportunities in the trillion dollar semiconductor industry and why it is Malaysia’s time to shine in innovation. Incidentally, Datuk Pua is regarded as the Malaysian who invented the USB flash drive.

“The summit provides a win-win value proposition by helping connect startups with a diverse range of funding sources and mentors. Meanwhile, participating in the KL20 Summit allows foreign investors to gain valuable insights into our digital landscape, regulations and investment opportunities,” said Gobind Singh Deo, Minister of Digital. 

To elevate its impact, the event also included dedicated activities such as investor speed dating, networking lunches and soirées to facilitate meaningful connections and catalyse potential collaborations.

Kicking Off Collaborations

At the summit, the government signed 25 Letters of Intent (LOIs) with sovereign wealth funds, international venture capital firms (VCs) and various global ecosystem players towards propelling Malaysia’s startup ecosystem forward.

The 25 entities participating in the LOIs have a combined Assets Under Management (AUM) valuation exceeding USD 1 billion. Witnessing the signing ceremony were Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Minister of Economy Rafizi Ramli, Minister of Digital Gobind Singh Deo, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Chang Lih Kang and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Federal Territories) Dr Zaliha Mustafa.

The first category of LOIs signed was for Sovereign Wealth Funds and the Malaysia Semiconductor Fund under the ASEAN Investment Initiative, worth up to USD 1 billion. The signatories were Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Retirement Fund (KWAP) and Blue Chip Venture Capital. 

Malaysia is strategically located in the heart of the ASEAN region, which is a top recipient of FDI in developing regions (second after China in 2021). The region’s share of global FDI increased from a pre-pandemic annual average of 7 per cent in 2011–2017 to 12 per cent in 2020–2021.

The second category of LOIs were with venture capital firms (VCs), including those setting up new offices in Malaysia such as K3 Ventures, Nordstar, GP Bullhound, HOPU Investments, Lever VC and more. Representatives of new VC funds established in Malaysia were also present, including CGS Malaysia and The Hive Climate AI.

Innovative Twin Cities and IC Design

The “Kuala Lumpur-Hangzhou Startup City Connect”, an innovative collaboration between the two cities was the third category of partnerships. The LOI was signed by Datuk Seri Kamarulzaman Mat Salleh, Mayor of Kuala Lumpur City Council and Chen Jin, First Deputy Mayor of Hangzhou Municipal Government.

High-Tech Companies setting up their biosecurity infrastructure, regional HQ and office were the fourth category of LOIs formalised. Participating companies included OCI Holdings, Gingko Bioworks Inc and Fasset.

Other participating high-tech entities included those involved with integrated circuit (IC) design, intellectual property (IP) and the IC Design Park in Malaysia, such as the Selangor Information Technology and Digital Economy Corporation (SIDEC), Arm, Phison Malaysia (MaiStorage), SkyeChip and Shenzhen Semiconductor Industry Association. 

Malaysia is poised to develop its integrated circuit (IC) design industry to optimise its existing strength in the semiconductor industry and the importance of design in sustaining growth in technology.


The KL20 Summit 2024 witnessed progress in highlighting Malaysia’s strategic location, diverse talent pool, competitive cost of living and government initiatives supporting startups. By attracting startups and investments, the meet is expected to stimulate economic growth and create jobs in Malaysia, besides promoting innovation and entrepreneurship within the country and catalysing Malaysia’s competitiveness as a regional leader in innovation and entrepreneurship.

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