(Nikkei BP Group)
(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)
| Microsoft to Set Up Fund for Malaysia's Multimedia Corridor
September 3, 1998 (KUALA LUMPUR) -- Microsoft Corp. will set up a venture
capital fund and a software developers' resource center as part of its
efforts in Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor.
|The moves are aimed at helping local start-ups develop an indigenous
software industry in the MSC.
Microsoft Malaysia Sdn., Bhd. general manager Benedict Lee said the venture
capital fund will kick off in 1999 with an initial outlay of 30 million
ringgit (US$7.2 million). It will be funded by three parties: Microsoft,
a local company and multinational information technology company.
"The objective of the fund is to assist local technology firms, especially
those involved with the MSC, that have the right ideas and products,"
he said. Lee added that the conditions for the fund are still being
finalized, and they are subject to the approval of the Malaysian government.
The offer to set up the fund was made by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates
during his visit here in March.
Lee said Microsoft will also set up the Microsoft Knowledge Capital Center
(MKCC), a resource center to advance the skills of local software developers,
this month. The company has committed to spend 10 million ringgit on
the MKCC over five years.
MKCC will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. It will focus
on three main areas: developer programs, technology deployment and business
Developer programs are aimed at training local developers in distributed
client/server technologies through workshops and conferences. Under
technology deployment, the MKCC will work with local developers and
independent software vendors to certify and deploy their products for
the global market.
In the third area, business application scenarios, MKCC will share knowledge
gained from Microsoft's experience in working with global organizations
to implement its digital nervous system concept. Local implementation
will also be documented and shared with other Malaysian businesses.
Lee said the set up of the venture capital fund and the resource center
will help Malaysia realize its aspirations of making the MSC a global
hub for the creation of multimedia products and services.
"The venture fund will identify and provide funding for selected companies
and their products within the MSC, while the resource center will provide
the technical muscle to develop and globalize those products," he said.
Regarding Windows 98 sales, Lee said Microsoft Malaysia has sold more
than 6,900 copies of the operating system software in two months. He
said the company was satisfied with the sales, given the current economic
"Windows 98 is generally targeted at consumers and is very dependent
on the retail channel. Due to the economic crisis, consumer spending
in Malaysia has really taken a sharp decline, and the retail channel
has dried up," he said.
Lee said that the ongoing crisis was likely to affect sales in the short-term,
but he is optimistic that once the economic climate improves and consumer
confidence returns, sales will take off.
(Julian Matthews, Asia BizTech Correspondent)