China Shougang Group has tied up with Malaysia's Hiap Teck to build a 1.8 billion ringgit ($573 million) steel mill, its first such investment outside of China.
A joint statement says the mill in Malaysia's northern Terengganu state will produce 700,000 metric tons of steel slabs a year to cater to Southeast Asia's growing markets when completed in mid-2013. It said Monday the mill, run by a joint venture called Eastern Steel, will later be expanded to raise output to 1.5 million metric tons.
Shougang, one of China's top steel makers, controls 40 percent of Eastern Steel. Hiap Teck holds 55 percent.
Officials say there is strong demand in Southeast Asia, which imports more than 4 million metric tons of steel slabs annually, mostly from eastern Europe.