Week in Review: Bold ambition aplenty to inspire all
By Karamjit Singh January 14, 2018
- Chinese tech players & funding seen to play bigger role in region this year
- Malaysia positioned as ideal market entry point for Chinese players
I WILL hit UA$250 million (RM1 billion) revenue in 2020.
I want to change education for 1 billion people.
I want to become the top mobile commerce company in the region.
I want to build the first Pan Asian trading hub.
I want to build the first Malaysian based global company.
There was no shortage of bold ambition expressed and shared at Wednerday’s GAIN (Global Acceleration & Innovation Network) gathering to kick off 2018. Hosted by Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), which is driving GAIN in the hope of seeing MSC Malaysia companies hit RM200 million revenue and higher, a panel session on “Grow Fast, Go Global” yielded enough soundbites and quotes to keep the most demanding editors happy.
You can read my article here. As someone who has covered the tech space for 18 years, I was impressed with both the achievements and scale of ambition shared by the stellar panel of entrepreneurs, all leading GAIN companies. Yasmin Mahmood, chief executive of MDEC was also on the panel but for the most part gave the stage to the entrepreneurs and rightly so. Everyone in the room knows MDEC is there to help them with Yasmin driving both MDEC and the GAIN companies to higher heights. Infact, she is looking to see at least one of them hit US$250 million (RM1 billion) in revenue by 2020. I look forward to that milestone being hit too.
And CC Puan stepped forward to take up the challenge. Actually the founder of Green Packet Bhd, predicts he will hit RM1 billion revenue in 2020. And as I was writing my article I reached out to him to ask if he perhaps got carried away with the energy and positivity of the gathering when he made his prediction but he assured me I could leave the comment in as he is confident that Green Packet has all the pieces in place to more than double its current US$100.6 million (RM400 million) yearly revenue.
I think Chinese venture funding and Chinese tech companies will play a role in Malaysian based companies, either existing tech players such as Puan’s Green Packet or startups, hitting this milestone.
I have already heard this China tech/funding theme a few times in the first two weeks of this young year. Both Puan and Yasmin pointed to this during the panel session with Yasmin saying that this is too big an opportunity for MDEC not to pursue. Meanwhile Puan is already being pursued by Chinese tech companies with his office receiving monthly visits from Chinese companies seeking joint ventures to help them gain access to and understanding of the Southeast Asian (SEA) market.
And Patrick Grove predicts a strong Chinese impact in the region as well in my article last week on his thoughts for 2018. And even before Puan, Yasmin and Grove spoke about the Chinese impact, back in 2016 Khailee Ng of 500 Startups has already alerted me that Chinese money, in the form of entrepreneurs/senior executives who had cashed out of their companies was already in the region looking to invest in business models they had seen work in China.
It has not happened to the extent that I thought it would have, whether in Malaysia or in SEA yet but maybe 2018 will be the year. But let’s not forget that last February, Kaneswaran Avili of Nida Rooms Ltd did secure a US$5.6 million (RM22.2 million) investment from Singapore headquartered Chinese private investment firm Shanda Group or that Gobi Ventures, a Chinese-Asean venture firm has been active in the region in the past four years and has a strong partnership in Malaysia with Malaysian Venture Capital Management Bhd as well.
[Editor: An earlier version got the investment amount wrong.]
And of course, even if all the above was not happening, the Alibaba factor in Malaysia’s Digital Free Trade Zone has already made everyone sit up and take notice of the China factor in Malaysia’s Digital Economy.
Whether you are able to tap into the Chinese interest in this region could well determine how high you fly in 2018 but of course it is not the only barometer for your progress, lest I give you that impression. Let’s see how strong the China factor actually emerges in Malaysia and SEA this year.
With that I hope you had a restful weekend and here’s wishing you a productive week ahead.