Low revenue not a sign of ICON failure: MDeC

  • MDeC CEO says success of ICON determined by many other factors
  • Top 10 outstanding developers recognised in graduation ceremony

Low revenue not a sign of ICON failure: MDeCALTHOUGH the mobile apps that were created under the MSC Malaysia Integrated Content Development (ICON) programme have only generated a cumulative revenue of just over RM440,000 up to end 2013, this is surely not a sign of failure, said Multimedia Development Corp (MDeC).

According to its chief executive officer Badlisham Ghazali, there are other factors that need to be taken into account to argue the programme’s success.

ICON, now in its third iteration, was set up in 2009 by national ICT custodian MDeC to enable up-and-coming local app developers to create world-class applications and mobile content, particularly those focused on the consumer social and education market in its first year.

During the programme, they were provided with training on apps development. The ones who stood out also had the chance to receive grants to further develop or commercialise their apps.

Since ICON's inception, thousands of participants have been trained. The first two ICONs also resulted in close to 300 apps, garnering a total of 650,000 downloads, according to MDeC.

The cumulative revenue for all apps in the first three ICONs up to 2013 was only RM440,040, compared with the more than RM1 million dispensed in grants. including the 138 developers who received RM600,000 in ICON3. [RM1 = US$0.31]

“You have to look at the bigger picture -- the new jobs created as a result of ICON, the knowledge and technical expertise these developers gained during the training, and also how it benefits the ecosystem when these developers share their knowledge with their peers who are keen to develop apps,” said Badlisham.

For example: during the first ICON, MDeC approved financial grants for 60 projects, which saw 180 jobs and 96 mobile apps created.

ICON developers have also walked away with local and regional awards, including the Asean ICT Awards 2012, the Hong Kong Mobile Appsaniry Awards 2012 and the MSC Malaysia APICTA Awards 2012, he added.

Catching the mobile app wave

For Badlisham, ICON would be crucial to growing the mobile content and app development industry. Having more app developers in the system could increase the chances of capturing a larger share of the huge mobile content and app market.

“To say that mobile apps and content are disruptive technologies is an understatement as this industry was worth over US$68 billion in 2013, and is projected to grow to US$143 billion in 2016,” he said.

“With the high number of talents in the region, the next step in advancing the ecosystem is to provide developers with the right training, funding and development opportunities while connecting them with investors, telcos and platform providers; and allowing them to be part of the various marketing missions and opportunities,” he told the media after the ICON-Nokia Windows Phone 8 (ICON 3) Graduation Ceremony in Kuala Lumpur on April 14.

ICON3, launched in January 2013, saw 138 developers receiving customised training and community support on the Windows Phone 8 platform from Nokia. Participants were also introduced to new monetisation and analytics capabilities such as in-app purchases and advertising, and the Nokia Ad Exchange.

These 138 developers also received RM600,000 worth of grants, funding and investments, which saw 132 apps being developed and garnering RM200,000 in revenue.

The April 14 ceremony also acknowledged the top 10 outstanding ICON developers, who will see their apps prominently featured in Malaysia across advertising materials, retail channels, events and roadshows.

These 10 developers are:

  • Chia Shaw Chyn (2014 Racing Guide – shares the latest news and info on Formula One)
  • Aswin Chanthraksuwan (FirstBeacon – pins secondary tiles to quickly SMS a user’s contact, find the nearest emergency stops and ring a safety alarm whenever in need)
  • Ng Mun Keat (iPrint – allows users to create and share e-cards)
  • Koh Chean Siong and Low Lee Tak (SekMatYeah – to help users select a restaurant intelligently)
  • JeeShen Lee (GarageFinder – locates the nearest garage)
  • Leow Cheah Wei (Wave Generator – allows Windows Phone 8 to select the frequency ranging from, 30Hz to 150Hz, to be generated via their smartphones) 
  • Tan Yin See (Smart Shopper – that tracks retailers’ best prices for groceries)
  • Chai Wuh Shing (MyPeribahasa – a collection of Bahasa Malaysia proverbs for reference)
  • Rokman B. Semail (Zip Zap Tiles – an educational gaming app)
  • John Ingliki (Unfold – a mobile game inspired by Nokia’s history)

Communications and Multimedia Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek said he hopes that these develoeprs will play a significant role in driving the Malaysian mobile and app development industry forward in coming years.

“There is no stopping the explosion and proliferation of mobile devices globally, and in Malaysia in the past decade. In fact, over the past few years, we have seen the rapid increase of smartphone and tablet adoption by consumers in this country.

“According to reports, Malaysia’s smartphone adoption reached 35% as of February 2014… Furthermore, research firm McCann also predicted that this figure will rise to 60% by 2015,” he said.

Related Stories:

MDeC moves to address enterprise app white space

MDeC now aims ICON program at Windows Phone 8, with Nokia's help

ICON driving developers to think big

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