SINGAPORE, -- The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) will beef up business activities here as the republic takes over the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) next year, says it Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Sharimahton Mat Saleh.

She said not only Singapore, Matrade would increase activities in the whole of ASEAN as lots of opportunities and collaborations arose when the grouping approached 50-year old last August.

After all, most products of our mid-tier companies (MTCs) fit the needs of ASEAN, she told Bernama when met on the sidelines of Sharing & Networking Session in conjunction with Malaysian MTCs Market Immersion to Singapore recently.

They need us, we need them. We cannot ignore such a huge market, she said.

For Singapore market, she said, there were MTCs that had been exporting to the republic on their own.

They feel that they don't need so much help from us. But we feel that they need that extra push from the government. Here with the help of our counterpart, they get introduced to new people. Definitely, it adds value, she said.

According to Matrade's website, MTCs Development Programme was established in 2014 to help local MTCs accelerate their export growth and strengthen their core business functions.

Only 50 high-performing MTCs will be selected per year to participate in a nine-month programme.

MTCs are defined as companies with annual revenues of between RM50 million and RM500 million in the manufacturing sector and between RM20 million and RM500 million in other sectors.

Sharimahton said so far there were 173 MTCs under Matrade's purview.

Among them were Secret Recipe, Pelita, Royal Selangor, Tomei, Coolblog and Marrybrown.

MTCs represent a key driving force behind the Malaysian economy.

There are approximately 10,000 MTCs in Malaysia and despite being just one per cent of all Malaysian firms, they collectively contribute 30 per cent of the country's gross domestic product and employ over 22 per cent of the workforce.