A leading Malaysian business leader Thursday urged enterprises to streamline their ties with the related stakeholders to survive and grow in face of the current global financial crisis.
Enterprises needed to streamline and improve the relations with their associated banks, services and goods providers, and clients to tide over the tough time, said William Cheng, president of the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia.
Enterprises, financial institutions like banks, services and goods providers, and clients are closed linked together in the business world, and they should help and support each other in the crisis, Cheng said in an interview with Xinhua.
An enterprise should rally and count its working capital and do its best to help their suppliers and clients to obtain adequate financing to avoid any business collapses, said Cheng, who is also the chairmen of the Lion Group, a Malaysian iron and steel and retail giant.
That was the proper and right way to go ahead in the global financial crisis, because an enterprise would also suffer if its suppliers and clients collapse, said the Malaysian tycoon of iron and steel.
Banks also should do in a similar way to help enterprises, mainly through consultations and talks, not resorting to forceful retrieving of their loans to create a better environment for business rehabilitation.
The current global financial storm was stronger than expected, and an enterprise needed to take a "slimming therapy" seriously to lower its operation cost, including reducing stockpile, raising productivity, bring down the ratio of waste products, and using its raw materials more efficiently, Cheng said.
Firing employees was not the only option to lower the cost, he said, creating new businesses was a better choice.
Cheng also hoped the government side should help explore more new markets or businesses and create more job opportunities through policy means.
The government also should encourage enterprises to open new businesses, including providing funding or tax incentives for these enterprises, he said.
The Lion Group was established in the 1930's and currently it has operations in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, China, the United States, Mexico, Vietnam and Hong Kong.
Its main businesses are steel, retail and property development. Hong Kong-listed retail giant Parkson Cooperation is a strong retail arm of the group.
Cheng admitted his group was affected in the global financial storm, especially the group's iron and steel business.
Cheng said that besides cost reduction measures, his group willslow down its iron and steel business, but stressing that he will not resort to dismissing the group's staff.
The group will retrench its human resources to new businesses as it would open more new plants and stores, he added.
The Parkson boss said that his retail businesses in China and Vietnam were growing well and he was planning to open eight to ten new Parkson stores in China and several others in Vietnam and Malaysia next year.
The Lion Group ventured into China in 1992 with operations in the retail, automotive and tyre businesses.
Cheng said that the financial crisis was not always a bad thing for some enterprises which have sufficient working capital.
These enterprises could take this opportunity to expand throughways like merging what they want, including their business rivals, he said.
On Malaysia's economic growth prospect for the next year, Cheng said, the country's economic growth could reach 4 percent to 5 percent if the government introduces proper policies to boost the economy, including unveiling those infrastructure projects in its national plan.
If the government fails to do so, the country's economic growth is likely to slide down below 3 percent, lower than the official prediction of 3.5 percent, he said.