Bandar Seri Begawan - Following the official opening ceremony yesterday for the launch of General Electric's first office in Brunei, the company's Chief Executive Officer for Asean, Mr Stuart Dean said that the GE Group sees opportunities to become more global in the region over the next 10-20 years.
This is due to the existence of emerging Asean markets like Brunei. "They are growing at a faster pace than more developed markets," Mr Dean said.
GE has been operating in the country for over 30 years and its technology is used extensively throughout the country's power generation base. The company is also active in the oil and gas sector and has long-term service agreements with local customers.
Earlier during the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, Dato Paduka Haji Ali bin Haji Apong in his capacity as the Chairman of the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB), in his speech said he welcomes GE's decision to strengthen its presence in Brunei with a new office. "I envisage that new opportunities and partnerships will arise that can further contribute to Brunei's aspiration towards strengthening the energy sector."
The Minister also encouraged GE to extend the geographical reach of its product and service offerings from the Brunei office and to position itself as a services and manufacturing hub for Brunei and the surrounding region.
The deputy minister said that through GE's expertise, Brunei would like to see an increase in the use of new and emerging technologies such as smart grids and improved power generation, which will undoubtedly reduce the nation's energy intensity through energy conservation.
The deputy minister also encouraged GE to explore other opportunities in Brunei beyond the energy sector by collaborating with the government and higher learning institutions to undertake customised research and design focussing on areas of interest to the Sultanate such as water technologies for improved crop yields, medical and imaging technologies for improved healthcare services and IT solutions for improved automation.
Another key area that Brunei is also looking into is the development of human capital, the deputy minister said. "I believe that this is one area we can also leverage on. I strongly encourage collaborations with the local universities and locally based companies in developing our human capital through the establishment of a Brunei training centre to equip our locals with the valued skill sets that would contribute to Brunei's accelerated industrial development."
Mr Dean also stated that GE is excited over the prospects that Brunei and Asean represent, and sees a great position for growth in the market. He said with the 'One Asean Economic Community', they are in a good position to capitalise on that strength. "Economies of scale continue to give Asean the position to compete effectively with large markets such as China and India."
Mr Dean said that with an office setup in Brunei, the company is showing its commitment toward developing and expanding its operations in ways that compliments the ambitions of the host country. "We will help put Brunei on the map for a lot of American investors."
Mr Dean added that as more is learnt about the Brunei market, GE would find opportunities to partner and build joint-ventures with local companies, where he cited the already longstanding history of partnering with Brunei's power sector.
Mr Dean concluded his speech by highlighting Brunei industrial water treatment, which is an opportunity to capitalise on as, "We are leaders in the water industry, so in that way, it can be useful for the country".--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin