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Job Portal Expands into India, China

Penang-based portal JobStreet.com Sdn Bhd has widened its footprint in India and plans to enter China on the back of rising popularity of its online recruitment service.

"We added our fourth office in India in February and plan to set up in China soon," said JobStreet.com CEO and founder Mark Chang.

JobStreet.com advertises an average of 10,000 jobs in the region at any one time on nine country-specific sites and has offices in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and India.

Chang, an alumnus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, started off the job site in 1995 as a free service for returning Malaysian graduates, while he experimented with other Internet ventures under the flagship site, Malaysia Online.

Two years later, when the e-recruitment arm proved popular, Chang decided to spin it off as JobStreet.com. Chang said the premise of the site was that the triangular area between New Delhi, Jakarta and Tokyo represents two-thirds of the world's population, and that it eventually would emerge as the main supplier of the global workforce.

"We realize companies spend a lot of time, effort and money on advertising just to get the right candidate for the right job. In manufacturing, for instance, hiring the right engineer can make a huge difference in reducing downtime. Our service is targetted at making the hiring process more efficient and transparent," said Chang.

Growth by Word-of-Mouth

JobStreet.com's first corporate customer, Intel Corp, proved fortuitous. Signing up the long-established chip manufacturer in Penang's Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone, provided the credibility and impetus to encourage other neighboring IT multinationals to use the fledgling online recruitment service.

Penang-based companies also found the service useful to lure Malaysian graduates, engineers and managers working abroad back to the country, rather than poach from each other.

Chang said the JobStreet.com site grew purely from word-of-mouth as there was little funding for advertising and marketing efforts.

In 1999, JobStreet.com received a first round of venture funding from venture firm Walden International Investment Group worth M$4.5 million (about US$1.18 million), which enabled it to expand into Singapore and the Philippines.

JobStreet.com says it currently has a database of over a million jobseekers, and applicants can still register free; the paying advertiser base has expanded to 6,000 companies.

by Julian Matthews, Kuala Lumpur

(April 2001 Issue, Nikkei Electronics Asia)

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