Google this week opened a new office in Kuala Lumpur, saying Malaysia’s “highly skilled workforce, multicultural diversity and business friendly environment” were major factors in deciding to locate its second Southeast Asian office there. Its only other physical presence in the region is in Singapore, which opened together with a South Korean location in 2007.
The move is a sign of confidence in Southeast Asia’s growing internet economy and demand for localized online services, like Google’s AdSense and StreetView. Malaysia currently has 17 million total internet users and 55.6% household broadband penetration.
Google hasn’t said exactly how much it will invest in Malaysia and some have played down the announcement, but the company says the KL office is a first step to exploring further opportunities with its partners in Malaysia, which have included the Ministry of International Trade and Industry. The company wants to focus on consumers and providing more affordable services to small/mid-sized businesses (SMBs), who can use the services to increase access international markets.