Malaysia is set to increase the value of its location-based incentives from the current 30% to 35%, the government is expected to announce this week in Cannes.
The Film in Malaysia Incentive (FIMI) was launched in 2013, around the time that the Iskandar Malaysia studios were opened in the south of the country, and is administered by the National Film Development Corp. (FINAS).
FINAS and Communications and Multimedia Minister Annuar Musa will lead a Malaysian delegation at the Cannes Market and are expected to reveal details of the FIMI upgrade at a Malaysia-focused conference on May 19.
“FINAS intends to use the Marché film market as a platform to promote Malaysia as an international filming destination that offers 30% cash rebate through FIMI and up to 5% [additional] through a cultural test,” FINAS chief executive Nasir Ibrahim told state news agency Bernama, in a pre-departure briefing. Details of the cultural test may be outlined at the Cannes presentation.
“This year we are targeting RM50 million ($11.4 million) foreign investment into Malaysia through FIMI,” Nasir said.
Since its establishment, some 90 FIMI projects have been handled by FINAS, comprising 54 international projects and 36 local projects, Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Zahidi Zainul Abidin clarified last month at the ConnectASIA 2022-Filming In Malaysia and International Marketing forum.
International film and TV projects that have received funding through the FIMI scheme include two seasons of the “Marco Polo” series for Netflix, the “Asia’s Got Talent” reality TV show and hit film “Crazy Rich Asians.”
There is robust competition among Asia-Pacific territories for runaway productions, with Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Mongolia all offering rebate schemes. The damage to production industries from COVID restrictions has given an additional urgency to the need to make incentives competitive.
Malaysia last month said that FIMI has helped create 10,000 jobs in the sector. It did explain how it arrived at that figure.