Maintains it’s still the voice of the industry, reaffirms commitment to supporting members
Will be organising a triple-treat tech expo which it describes as the ‘mother of all fairs’
MALAYSIA’S national ICT association (Pikom) announced a three-in-one technology fair, maintaining it remains “the voice of the ICT industry” and that such fairs were part of its mission to promote the local industry.
Last September, about 100 IT retailers threatened to form a break-away association, citing the need for a more dedicated platform to raise issues related specifically to the retail industry.
Pikom chairman Woon Tai Hai said the association's stance on the matter remains the same: That if interested parties chose to start their own association, that they should go ahead and do so.
“Of course we are concerned when people say we are not doing enough for our members. However out of about 1000 retailer members, only a handful were raising concerns,” he said.
Woon was responding to questions raised during the launch of a collaborative effort between Pikom and CommTechAsia to host a three-in-one ICT event.
When asked if the upcoming event was part of Pikom’s response in addressing the needs of its members, Woon noted that it was more of an indirect response.
“It’s not a direct response to the issues raised last year but more so our response to the market and to consumers. We are embarking on a more holistic approach to developing the ecosystem,” he said.
“I have said this many times before, events such as the PC Fair and other events we organise are not about getting rid of out-dated products with low margins. You must add value to your products and services, and move up the value chain,” he added.
Shaifubahrim Saleh, Pikom chief executive officer and president, echoed Woon’s sentiments, adding that the association listens closely to member feedback and also looks after members' interest in its totality.
He added that over 50% of Pikom’s membership is based in the Klang Valley, but the association also takes into account the needs and issues faced by members spread out across the country.
“In terms of pushing ICT issues to the forefront of the national agenda, Pikom has been lobbying for five to six years now for the formation of a single ICT ministry and we’re happy to report that we are getting very close to realising that goal,” he claimed.
In response to concerns raised about Pikom organising too many shows such as PC Fair and DLE (Digital Lifestyle Expo), and not spending enough time championing industry issues, Woon admitted that since the association’s humble beginnings with only one or two events a year, things have changed.
“We have really reached that stage where we are crammed with activities and are even expanding overseas, bringing our conferences to new markets. We remain the voice of the industry and its champion but I also think ‘showing’ is very important,” he said.
Woon added that the association has many chapters across the country that are invited to all the dialogues with various ministries to provide feedback and insight as representatives of the ICT industry.
“I think the real pressure is not on us having more or less events but rather on the effectiveness and impact of what we do. At the end of the day, Pikom must be focused -- we can’t do everything for everybody. For example, we are focused on the convergence of social, mobile and commerce because that is the reality of the technology convergence trend and in line with our mission to promote ICT,” he said.
Woon noted that it is undisputable that mobility is the trend now, with the mobile penetration in Malaysia currently at 143.4% as reported by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
Yet the market has still to be fully explored, with AC Nielsen reporting that smartphone penetration was only at 27% in 2012. “The opportunities and potential in this mobile space are just enormous,” he said.
Shaifubahrim pointed out that Pikom works to fulfil its mission via three broad groups of activities, the first being in the area of thought leadership, manifesting itself in conferences such as the annual Leadership Summit and Smart Sourcing Summit.
The association also generates the annual ICT Strategic Review report, which offers in-depth insight and analysis of market trends and issues, alongside other surveys.
The second type of activity is in the realm of coporate social responsibility (CSR), which sees many activities such as charity runs and donation drives being organised.
The third group of activities is events and exhibitions, which Shaifubahrim said was part of the association’s outreach platform for consumers, alongside its strategic efforts to give its members better access to capital.
“We are the voice of the ICT industry, no one else has over 1,500 industry members accounting for about 80% of ICT transactions in the country,” he said.
“We are committed to growing the industry, and building that confidence for local players to go regional with an eye toward the Asean Free Trade Agreement coming into full effect by 2015,” he added.
Woon said that the time is now ripe for Malaysian ICT players to start making their moves to expand regionally, leveraging on the nation’s long-held expertise in the sector and with support from Pikom.
Next page: Coming in August -- the 'mother of all fairs'