Frost's Iskandar investment at ‘hundreds of millions’

  • GNI of RM93m ‘does not do justice’ to real investment amount
  • Frost & Sullivan confident of quality of Malaysian talent

BUSINESS research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan recently announced it had chosen Malaysia as the hub for its Global Innovation Center of Excellence, with five such centres to be located in Medini, Iskandar employing 830 knowledge workers.
This was one of 21 National Key Economic Area (NKEA) projects announced with a committed investment of RM20.46 billion (US$6.46 billion) ) as part of the Malaysian Government’s Economic Transformation Program (ETP) that aspires to transform the country into a high-income nation by 2020.
The 21 projects are also expected to contribute a total of RM4.59 billion (US$1.45 billion) to the GNI (gross national income), while creating 39,918 jobs by 2020.
Frost & Sullivan, which offers market analysis, market research and reports, will see its investments marked in the area of Business Services.
Pemandu (the Performance Management & Delivery Unit), a unit under the Prime Minister's Department, whose role is to oversee implementation and assess progress of the ETP, counts the GNI value of the Frost & Sullivan investment as around RM93 million (US$30 million) over seven years.
Frost's Iskandar investment at ‘hundreds of millions’However, Manoj Menon (pic), Asia Pacific managing director and partner at Frost & Sullivan, points out that the Pemandu GNI calculations are very capex-centred (capital expenditure), which do no justice to the very “people-centred” investments by his firm.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Digital Nedws Asia, he says Frost & Sullivan does not want to confuse people with a different number, “so I will refrain from quoting a figure on the investment we will make over seven years.”
When pressed, he claims that the total investment from Frost & Sullivan will be in “multiples of hundreds of millions.”
“We do not believe in holding property, we rent it. We believe in people and will invest there but the returns don’t come for between six months and 24 months,” he says, explaining the low GNI number versus the internal number Frost & Sullivan estimates.
Be that as it may, Manoj is excited about the Global Innovation Center which he firmly believes will help drive Frost & Sullivan’s global business growth in the next decade.
“We believe we will gain a competitive advantage in our business globally. We aim to develop and deliver capabilities that assist in driving growth, innovation and leadership for our local and global clients,” Manoj added.
Most of the talent the company will hire will come from Malaysia, Manoj confirms.
“While we ultimately will hire the best talent where we can find it, we have an incumbent responsibility to the country we are in to first source for talent locally and we believe that Malaysia has good talent that we can equip [ourselves with] to deliver global services,” he says.
In this regard, being in Medina with the influx of education facilities there will aid Frost & Sullivan in its quest to hire 830 people over the next seven years.
Manoj points out that a fair portion of the talent it plans to hire will be those with a Masters degree and with between 10% and 15% of the team consisting of very experienced talent.
Even here an effort will be made to tap Malaysian talent, Manoj says. “We plan to work with agencies like Talent Corp to help us locate Malaysians working overseas who will be attracted to the roles that will be available at Frost & Sullivan. We are committed to contributing and bringing new competencies and skill sets into the country.”
The Global Innovation Center in Iskandar will serve Frost & Sullivan’s global operations and offices, providing opportunities for Malaysians to work on global projects.
The Global Innovation Center will specifically host five centers of excellence:

  1. Consulting Center of Excellence
  2. Innovation Center of Excellence
  3. Growth Innovation Leadership University
  4. Financial Center of Excellence
  5. Digital Media Center of Excellence
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