What's Next 2018: Going global is a process
By Sharmila Ganapathy September 25, 2018
- Malaysia has given local companies the opportunity to develop their solutions, prior to going global.
- As long as a company has the capability and hunger to perform, visibility is the next important thing
WHAT does it take for a Malaysian technology company to go global? What are the challenges involved and how does one get there? These were among the topics discussed during a panel of Malaysian technology company chief executive officers at the recent What’s Next conference in Kuala Lumpur, moderated by Digital News Asia's Karamjit Singh.
Kamarul Muhamed, founder and group CEO of Aerodyne Group started the ball rolling by describing his experience with global expansion. The company is drone-based managed solutions provider in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and the UK.
When asked what drove him to international expansion, he replied that Malaysia gave him the foundation and opportunity to develop their solutions, which have digital transformation and innovation at the core.
“Eighty percent of our clients are large corporations who are trying to go for digital transformation. Using our experience, we are able to deliver solutions to them. We have intellectual property verticality for telcos, even power companies and this allows them to manage their assets a lot better,” he explained.
Strateq Group group managing director Tan Seng Kit meanwhile, explained that the group does big data, cloud and data centres specialised in healthcare and the oil and gas retail business. According to Tan, they have 23 customers and 15,000 healthcare practitioners using their solutions. They are currently in five Asian countries and in the US and are targeting to serve 100 hospitals globally within the next five years.
That said, moderator Karamjit pointed out that Malaysia has not yet created a successful global technology company. How can they succeed where others have failed?
Tan says they are looking to be a market leader in the US, in their healthcare niche, although he does expect challenges. Kamarul of Aerodyne related that when they first opened their office in the UK, they were unable to open a bank account. Whereas in Japan, the latter has embraced their solutions and they work with one of the largest telcos there.
Other successes for the company include being ranked 7th in the world out of 20 top companies in their industry by Drone Industry Insights magazine. The company also wrote a white paper for PwC and ranked first in their list of companies. “It’s an uphill struggle for us to do this, but we are still taking up the challenge,” Kamarul said of global expansion.
Panelist and KAT Technologies founder and CEO Khairol Anuar Mohamad Tawi believes that what man dreams, man can realise. As the biggest prepaid distributor in the country, he has realised that the solution they built is about saving money and giving visibility to the corporation using the solution.
The company, which is currently present in Malaysia and Nepal, has received strong enquiries from other Asean markets, he said. He also opined that while Malaysian companies are not inferior to their international counterparts, the key issue about them is marketability and visibility. “Success breeds success if have the right proposition to the market and I thank MDEC [Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation] for bringing this visibility for us,” he said.
How has government intervention helped the panellists in their ambitions to be global? Tan of Strateq also thanked MDEC for helping them achieve visibility on the international stage.
Kamarul noted that visibility is everything, and that a core value is trust. “In terms of branding, MDEC has contributed to us and opened up international networks as well. They have helped us win commercial deals,” he said.
Khairol noted that for as long as any company has the capability and the hunger to perform, visibility is the next important thing. “I have dealt with people of all continents, more often than not people over-pitch and can’t deliver,” he added.
“I started this company and knew that to be visible, I offered to join The Star Outstanding Business Awards. We went in and got the best for technical. Next year we won a special mention for entrepreneur of the year award. We have also won an innovation award in the services business. If you can position your company given such opportunities, this helps make your company more visible,” he concluded.