China-Brunei joint venture aims to double local workforce

Hengyi Industries Sdn Bhd, a China-Brunei joint venture, which currently employs about 400 local Bruneians in its petrochemical and refinery plant in the sultanate, is hoping to double the number when the plant becomes operational at full capacity, local daily Borneo Bulletin reported on Thursday.

Unemployment is one of the country's major issues. According to the IMF, Brunei currently has the highest youth unemployment rate among ASEAN countries. With the presence of a large foreign workforce within the private sector, businesses in the country have long been asked to employ more locals.

According to officials from the Ministry of Energy, Manpower and Industry (MEMI), Hengyi Industries is on target to reach its workforce commitment of 40 percent locals by the end of 2019. Hengyi has a new and higher target to reach 50 percent local workforce. MEMI stated Hengyi currently employs about 1,600 people including expatriate workers, thus to reach the new 50 percent localization commitment, another 400 local Bruneians will be needed.

Hengyi Industries is a joint venture between China's Zhejiang Hengyi Group and Damai Holdings, a wholly-owned subsidiary under the Brunei government's Strategic Development Capital Fund, owning 70 percent and 30 percent of the shares respectively.

Source: China ASEAN Business Council