Chinese investments in Malaysia halved to US$1.7 billion between January and September as compared to the same period last year.
Meanwhile, US investments in the country soared seven times to $5.9 billion, reflecting a diversion of funds due to the Beijing-Washington trade clashes.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) from Japan, with whom Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is trying to strengthen ties, jumped more than four times to 11.81 billion ringgit ($2.83 billion) in the January-September period.
MIDA said total approved FDI into Malaysia rose 6.5 percent to 66.3 billion ringgit. The agency is “actively negotiating” on 682 other projects with proposed investments of 37.6 billion ringgit, it added.
Trade tensions between the world’s biggest two economies have pushed mostly US companies to look for factories outside China to escape tit-for-tat tariffs.
For Malaysia, the biggest investments have come to the electrical and electronics industry, with one of the driving factors being that many semiconductor and other electronics products from the country do not attract US tariffs, unlike the 25 percent rate for China.
U.S. companies such as chipmaker Micron Technology and iPhone supplier Jabil Inc are already building new factories in Malaysia.