Thirteen thousand - it is just not an ordinary number. This is the total number of companies that Labuan International Financial Centre, Labuan IBFC, aims to incorporate by end-2016. This was conveyed by Datuk Ahmad Hizzad Baharuddin, Director General of Labuan Financial Services Authority, Labuan FSA, in the recent launch of the Authority's Annual Report 2015.
The midshore jurisdiction is confident that the number can be achieved from the current 12,900 (as of June 2016).
Underpinned by the growth in the Asia Pacific region which is envisaged to 'remain solid' this year and in 2017, according to a new Asian Development report released in March, it is forecasted that the economies in the region will grow at 5.6% and 5.7% respectively led by India and China.
Labuan IBFC recorded a 7.2% growth in company incorporation with a total of 836 new companies incorporated last year. These companies originated from more than 100 countries with more than 70% were from Asia - a positive indication that Labuan IBFC remains as a popular intermediation point for trade and investments with as well as within Asia, especially ASEAN.
European investors from the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, Ireland and France made up a total of 13.9% of the incorporated companies while the rest were from the Americas, Middle East and Africa. Most of these companies were trading companies and the remaining were investment companies.
Labuan IBFC continued to gain interest from companies that favour to operate in a more efficient and business-friendly environment, thanks to its business-friendly policies coupled with a robust stance towards regulatory standards, applied by its one-stop regulatory authority Labuan FSA.
The growth of trade and investment within ASEAN countries, facilitated by the ASEAN Economic Community has also allowed Labuan IBFC to grow from strength to strength.
Leasing activities mature to include more foreign-based licensees
For example, leasing business in Labuan IBFC continued to grow with the total number increased to 374 with total assets leased amounted to USD51.8 billion, signifying the continued need for large and heavy equipment such as container ships, aircraft and oil rigs.
In fact, despite the global downward trend in the oil and gas sector, the sector has seen its highest share of contribution of 73% in the leasing business segment. Aviation sector, on the other hand, contributed 25.2% (second highest) of the total assets leased.