CNET : Internet : Guidebook


Call for review

Stumbling blocks

A need to refocus

Growing impatience


Malaysian companies to lead telemedicine project

Malaysia's smart school project draws flak

Malaysia builds US$60m Hollywood-style studio for MSC

Advisors impressed with Malaysia's MSC

Malaysia launches Multimedia University

Malaysia's PM launches Cyberjaya

MDC claims Web site flaws were a "slip up", orders re-vamp

Too much focus on infrastructure

Malaysia's insistence that MSC companies all move into new host city Cyberjaya within the MSC by June 2000 is also scorned by some already doing fine elsewhere. MDC's role as a land developer for the Cyberjaya project adds to the controversy.

"Clustering offers little or no benefits to software development companies, nor does 'world-class infrastructure'. Based on the geographic location of U.S. software companies, no region of the U.S. is pre-eminent. Microsoft itself is based in Washington State, not California. There appears to be no 'Silicon Valley effect' in respect of U.S. software companies. Our two major U.S. competitors are based in North Dakota and Ohio, respectively, far from Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley," he said.

Loving said his own company does not see any significant business benefits in moving to Cyberjaya, from its present location at a university in Serdang.

Location in a physical world seems meaningless when minds are melding on the Internet from the remotest regions. Sun's Pillai said: "In Malaysia, unfortunately, there is too much focus on building infrastructure. We are not focusing on the key products we want to sell--which is knowledge."

He stressed that many who plan to do business on the Net desire to have their own server, their own leased line, and "do everything themselves". "They say the MSC is too expensive. They need lots of money. But the irony is if you want to sell something on the Net today you can go on eBay and set up a small business immediately. Or you can buy a whole service from a Web-based provider. If you really have a unique business model, you should be focusing on your core competency, not on building infrastructure."

IBM Malaysia country manager Ou Shian Waei said, however, that Malaysia's operating costs is still among the lowest in the region and the basic telecommunications infrastructure is satisfactory.

"In addition to our ASEAN accounting team headquartered in Malaysia, we also have some other Malaysia-based staff for sales and marketing divisions playing regional roles," he said.

Ou side-steps the fact IBM is located outside the MSC and has shown no interest in moving from its present site in Kuala Lumpur. Established in Malaysia in 1961, Big Blue has yet to throw its considerable weight into the MSC and was slow in applying for MSC status, which would require a setup in Cyberjaya.

IBM's cautious entry seems hinged on whether it wins bids to participate in the four identified MSC flagship applications: national smartcards, telemedicine, smart schools and e-government.

Ou was non-committal on calls to review the MSC and refused to engage in any debate, except to say that "our interaction with MSC has so far been positive".

Asked about whether the MSC encourages entrepreneurship, Ou touted e-Business Exchange Sdn Bhd (eBX), an e-billing and payment solutions developer with customers in Singapore and Hong Kong as an example of local success. Based in Penang, north of the MSC, eBX, ironically, owes nothing to the MSC for its success.



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