Founders powered Internet Alliance, pulls its weight in Malaysia’s tech ecosystem

  • Although relatively young, IA has made large strides in ecosystem
  • Key focus is addressing talent shortage to bolster nation’s Digital Economy

(Clockwise from top left): TK Tan, Founder and CEO of Qinetics Solution as President; Sunny Ooi, Founder & CEO of ClickAsia as Vice President; Lance Cheang, Chief Geek at Vlan Asia as Secretary; Henry Tye, Founder & CEO of Big Domain; Alan Kok, Chief Business Development Officer of EasyStore;  Wong Weng Yew, MD of Extreme Broadband and Tan Gooi Lee, Country Manager of Rhipe Malaysia as Treasurer)

In 2010, a group of Malaysian web hosting providers got together to address a common problem, bandwidth. Since then the Internet Alliance (IA) has grown to include not only web hosting and data centre operators but also cloud service, payment gateway and e-commerce providers.

Together the alliance holds webinars with other tech association and leaders, organises business visits overseas, collaborates with other companies, and cooperate with the government towards a mutual goal.

Although tech company associations are not new in the country with Pikom, the National IT Association of Malaysia the main tech industry voice, what makes IA stand out is the composition of their membership.

We are made up of newer, younger companies and our members are the founders. Entrepreneurs if you will,” said IA president TK Tan who himself is the founder and CEO of Qinetics Solutions. Whereas, ‘big brother’ Pikom’s membership are mainly professional managers.

Currently, IA has 64 members, a resurgence after a dip during the pandemic in 2020.


Advocacy focus

Among its industry advocacy work, a highlight was in late 2021, early 2022 when the IA held dialogues with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) regarding the governments intention to impose a new licensing requirement to regulate cloud services under the application service providers class (ASP-C) license and application of a 6% licensing fee across data centre operators in Malaysia.

The result of its engagement was the more lenient (ASP-C) that was enforced in 2022.

More recently, the alliance pooled its resources to address the common but increasingly urgent issue of talent. With remote working becoming normal, companies around the world are having to compete for tech talent. It has become more difficult to not only find talent but also retain them in the country.

We at IA, as employers and with domain expertise have a role to play and will work closely with the government to drive digital talent,” said IA vice president Sunny Ooi who is also the founder and CEO of Click Asia.

Working with MDEC, the IA plans to provide training and relevant skill set to produce digital talent through practical course content. Its members find that there is a huge gap between how talent is being prepared for the market and what they need. And even how much it costs to hire. “Some of them are US$ talent,” said Sunny.

We are not trying to reinvent the wheel. Instead of becoming yet another education institution, IA is looking to provide students with the right practical skill set based on current needs through tailored programs,” iterated Tan with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) endorsing the programs. This will help not only its members when hiring but the larger tech ecosystem as well.

Moving forward, the programs that IA develops will be used by all of its members to seed the talent they need.

Since its inception 13 years ago, IA has helped its members — ranging from startups to big players — navigate their growth journey on to getting listed or engaging in mergers and acquisitions. Elaborating on its role, Tan points to the frequent member meetups to provide opportunities to network. It is a door opening for any sort of business dealings.

IA also hosts many learning programs about M&A and IPOs. “Together with the speakers, there is usually a panel session with experienced members sharing their journey and experience in pursuit of their IPO and exits, which serves to motivate and inspire other members,” he adds.

Last year, Aegis, a cloud backup solution provider was acquired by Exabytes. Both are IA members. Also last year, IA member MyKRIS Asia — a high-speed Internet service provider — was acquired by Maxis.



The IAs executive committee (who are all volunteers) is made up of seven members each term running for two years. Tan has been the president for four terms while Ooi has been in his position  for three terms.

Although both of them are passionate about the causes that they champion, both agree that it is time to pass the baton to the younger generation of tech entrepreneurs this year.

In the meantime, a framework for creating chapters within the IA has already been put into place. The three chapters are data centre and cloud players, E-commerce, and talent development. We also want to encourage more entrepreneurs in the industry to volunteer and join the alliance,” added Tan.

As the organisation grows IA aims to continue its efforts to organise, collaborate, and connect its members to empower the IT industry in the country.

Additional reporting by Karamjit Singh


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