Helping local MSC Malaysia companies go global
By Lum Ka Kay January 20, 2016
- Original MSC vision also to create world-class Malaysian IT companies
- ‘… Now we have to accelerate that vision,’ says MDeC CEO
MALAYSIA’S national ICT custodian Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) said its focus for 2016 would be on helping local MSC Malaysia companies go global
MDeC oversees MSC Malaysia, which was originally launched 20 years ago as the Multimedia Super Corridor project that amongst others, aimed to create a multimedia utopia for world-class companies to use Malaysia as a regional hub.
It also intended to catalyse a cluster of Malaysian information technology (IT) companies that would become world-class over time, which the agency wants to focus on for 2016.
In order to help local MSC Malaysia companies go beyond their home shores, MDeC set up a physical office, MDeC Americas, in Silicon Valley last August.
Citing it as a launchpad for Malaysian companies that target the global market, MDeC chief executive officer Yasmin Mahmood (pic above) said the primary functions of MDeC Americas include assisting promising MSC Malaysia companies with market access, funding opportunities, technological capabilities, and opportunities for mergers and acquisitions (M&As).
Besides expanding to Silicon Valley, another MDeC globalisation intervention is its Global Acceleration and Innovation Network (GAIN) programme, which aims to help local MSC Malaysia companies go global.
Speaking at a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 19, Yasmin said there are three phases in the GAIN programme: Immerse, connect, and ‘excel-erate.’
“First, local MSC Malaysia companies have to have their products commercialised and have the capability to scale globally.
“We will then help by providing them market access. Such intervention can be done by immersing them in locations like Silicon Valley,” she said.
In addition, Yasmin stressed that local companies have think global, in order to go global.
“If they don’t think global, they would not be able to scale. Not all of the 2,600 MSC companies will be able to go global.
“But if we are able to pluck out the people with potential, and the desire and the capability to go global, and provide them with as much assistance as possible … the intervention will accelerate their journey and amplify their outcome,” she declared.
According to Yasmin, GAIN is a long-term programme that is “here to stay.”
Noting that going global was part of the original MSC Malaysia vision 20 years ago, she said that “now we have to accelerate that vision, and we have specific commitments and interventions to do so.”
Describing herself as a person driven by key performance indicators (KPIs), Yasmin said that on the macro level, MDeC will look into the number of companies that are going to achieve annual revenue of RM100 million (US$23 million at current rates).
“While on the micro level, it’s about how many companies are going to get funded through our GAIN programme, how many companies are able to get market access to expand their operations; and how many pieces of intellectual property are co-created and enhanced,” she said.
A scaling initiative
Yasmin also argued that GAIN is a scaling, and not a startup, initiative.
“We don’t want to overlap with what the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) is doing,” she said, referring to the government agency tasked with developing the startup ecosystem.
“[GAIN] is for companies which have commercialised their products and may have been consistently generating revenue.
The point with GAIN is what can be done for these companies “which actually have the potential and desire to double their growth,” she added.
Silicon Valley Immersion Programme
Last November, 21 local MSC Malaysia companies were chosen to tag along with MDeC to California under its Silicon Valley Immersion Programme, among them Sedania Innovator Bhd and iPay88 Sdn Bhd.
At the press conference with Yasmin, Sedania Innovator managing director Azrin Mohd Noor claimed that the trip to Silicon Valley had surprised him that Malaysian-made technology is actually on par with – if not better than – that in Silicon Valley.
iPay88 cofounder and executive director Chan Kok Long agreed, saying the programme helped “expand my horizons.”
“This wasn’t just any business trip. After talking to so many companies in Silicon Valley, I too, like Azrin, learnt that our made-in-Malaysia technology is equally good or even better than theirs,” said Chan.
“So now, as a company, I can think very big. The moment Malaysian entrepreneurs start to think big, we will no longer feel inferior in terms of our technology and innovation,” he declared.