Industry & Market:
Malaysia's 9MP Draws Fresh IT Investments

Nikkei Electronics Asia -- December 2006

The government's 9th Malaysian Plan (9MP) to spend RM12.88 billion (US$3.5 billion) over the next five years on information technology has attracted fresh investments from major industry players. IBM Corp, Oracle Corp and security company F-Secure Corp were among those which announced expansion plans in recent months.

IBM is spending US$3 million to set up the Asean IBM Innovation Center (IIC), the sixth IIC in Asia and one of 33 globally, while Oracle is expanding into Penang, the second designated cybercity in Malaysia and the hub for electronics manufacturing. F-Secure picked Malaysia as a hub for the company's Asian operations because of "its high-quality human resources, and government initiatives to encourage high-tech companies to set up businesses here".

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has also extended the cybercity concept to the northern states of Penang and Kedah, with plans for new cybercities in the states of in Perak, Melaka, Johor and Sarawak offering further opportunities for new investors. Four areas that the government has earmarked for development are outsourcing, bioinformatics, e-commerce and digital content development.

IBM, F-Secure, Oracle
IBM's Asean IIC located at new premises in Kuala Lumpur will provide special access for developers to the company's technical experts, tools, hardware and software products. The center will help cut development costs for its business partners and bring applications to market faster. IBM Malaysia managing director Voon Seng Chuan said he hopes to grow its current crop of local independent software vendors and partners from 200 to up to 1,000 in the coming years.

Antivirus specialist F-Secure chose Malaysia because its time difference of six hours ahead of Helsinki was strategic to its operations. Risto Siilasmaa, F-Secure's chairman, said the new research and security response lab will be able to deliver 24/7 security response services against emerging new threats to its global customers. It will also provide detection, removal and information related to malware, spyware, rootkit, phishing and various targeted attacks.

Up north, database company Oracle stated its expansion was part of its global strategy to enter growth cities and Penang was selected because it was "home to many top manufacturing companies". Oracle, with over 200 partners in Malaysia, hopes to help them with on-the-ground support to develop new applications for small and medium enterprises (SME).

by Julian Matthews

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