Posts tagged IT

RIM may set up Blackberry procurement center in Penang

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Canadian technology firm Research In Motion (RIM), makers of the best selling Blackberry devices, has apparently applied to set up an international procurement center in Penang.

RIM hasn’t released an official statement on procurement yet but has confirmed it will manufacture devices in Penang. Business Times reports the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA) has received an application for a procurement center, with no further information about its nature or when it would be approved.

The report says photos of a local electronics company which has just received a major contract to manufacture Blackberry devices for the worldwide market was included in the application. Indonesia is also believed to be lobbying RIM to set up a company-owned facility there.

There are already around 209 international procurement centers (IPCs) already based in Malaysia. Many are located around Penang’s technology parks, such as those belonging to German healthcare products maker B. Braun Melsungen AG and Japan’s Toray Industries Inc.

source & article: Business Times

Google keen on Indonesian market, less keen on local regulation

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Google has plans to expand its operations in Indonesia with a potentially large investment. There is speculation the company will spend anywhere between US$100 million and $1 billion, with Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) optimistic the amount will be larger than Google has invested in other ASEAN nations.

Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt met this week with Indonesian Vice President Boediono and high level government ministers to set out the proposals. Google is eager to begin its Indonesian expansion as soon as possible, but is apparently still seeking clarification over online advertising regulations, security, and government involvement in the country’s obligatory local data centers.

Schmidt was in Bali this week as the keynote speaker at the ASEAN Regional Entrepreneur Summit 2011 and was quoted as being surprised by the amount of independent business activity in Indonesia. He said the country’s business environment was very similar to the USA in terms of interconnectivity, market homogeny and large population.

He also met with members of the Indonesian Association of Young Entrepreneurs, where he reportedly told them a reduction in government intervention would speed up Google’s plans to establish an Indonesian base.

sources & articles: The Jakarta Post, e27

Malaysian ICT to grow as economy recovers, says minister

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Malaysia’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector could grow by 7% if economic recovery and business confidence continues, says Malaysia’s Science, Technology and Information Minister Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili. ICT contributed as much as RM48 billion (US$15.8 billion) or 10% of Malaysia’s GDP in 2007, but only RM40 billion ($13.2 billion) last year.

Before the financial crisis ICT in Malaysia had been projected to grow 10% per year, one of Asia’s fastest, he said.

Ongkili made his comments at Mimos, a major R&D center for ‘frontier technologies’ and advisor to the Malaysian government, which focuses on technology that can be commercialized for growth. Mimos yesterday held a ceremony to transfer technology platforms to three local companies to be developed for market by the private sector: Jaring Communications Sdn Bhd, Mutiara.com and Smart Computing Sdn Bhd.

Six other Malaysian companies also signed deals to licence and develop Mimos’ technology: Disability Solutions Sdn Bhd, Alam Teknokrat Sdn Bhd, Innovision Business Solutions Sdn Bhd, Phytofolia Sdn Bhd, Quantum Beez Sdn Bhd and Fabtronic Sdn Bhd.

131 ‘WiFi Villages’ for Sandakan

Meanwhile, in Malaysia’s far eastern city of Sandakan, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said it was halfway through a project to provide minimal-charge wireless internet access to 131 area villages, enabling urban and rural populations equal access to online services. MCMC has also distributed 49,800 netbooks to students in Sabah province on Borneo under the 1Malaysia project.

source & articles: The Star online, Mimos

Indonesian internet use: social, mobile, unique

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The Economist takes a look at the untapped potential of internet usage in Indonesia, where fewer than 20% of the 230 million population are online and most access is via mobile devices. Online business models heavy with advertising revenue and e-commerce solutions, common in the West, are less effective in a country where many do not have credit cards or even bank accounts.

Indonesia does have several factors in its favor, though: its population has embraced social networking with great enthusiasm, building Facebook’s largest user base outside the USA (despite having no local office) and producing a home-grown social/check-in network Koprol, recently acquired by Yahoo!. Mobile devices are dirt cheap thanks to Chinese manufacturers and their $30-40 devices, and Indonesian network access is so affordable it’s often preferred by Indonesian expats in other countries over local providers.

Online services are looking for inventive alternatives for smaller transactions, such as selling credits and e-currencies for use exclusively within the network, or arranging barter trades. Sites like Mig33 and Indomog have set up their own social/commerce ecosystems for their communities. The article also wonders if Indonesians’ special willingness to socialize online might make it an attractive test market for other products and services looking to move into Asia, creating an interesting potential for new ideas.

source & article: The Economist

Rubicon Technology announces new sapphire facility in Penang

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Rubicon Technology, an American supplier of sapphire substrates and products to the high tech industry, is the latest addition to Penang’s hardware manufacturing sector with its announcement of a new crystal polishing facility, its first outside the United States.

Sapphire products are vital in the production of LEDs, RFICs (radio frequency integrated circuits), optical products and semiconductors. Demand has increased in recent years thanks to the use of LEDs in HDTVs, household/signal lighting, and displays in computers and other electronic devices. The global market for LEDs is projected to almost double, reaching US$14.3 billion by 2013.

Crystals grown at Rubicon’s facility in Batavia, IL will be sent to Penang for the labor-intensive polishing process, giving the company vastly improved production capacity. Rubicon is currently the only company able to supply the necessary large-diameter (up to 12 inches) sapphire wafers on a large scale, and a production facility in Malaysia will make them readily available for shipping to Asian electronics manufacturers.

source & article: Euroinvestor

Yahoo! bets on youth, mobile internet in Indonesia

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Internet behemoth Yahoo! has its eyes on Indonesia’s growing market. Acknowledged as Indonesia’s number one email provider, it recently acquired the popular Indonesian social network Koprol and will expand its youth-oriented services focusing on news and entertainment.

Yahoo’s most recent figures showed 26% growth year on year in the Asia-Pacific region, faster than its other world markets. Indonesia, it said, had a highly-sociable and mobile market well suited to its new offerings.

Indonesia’s younger population and preference for mobile internet access might be the boom Yahoo! is looking for. The company has, in recent times, been labeled by some in the media as an also-ran in the global internet game as Google continues to dominate and expand into new areas. Indonesia at present has relatively low percentage internet usage (15%, or 33 million users) compared to its neighbors in Southeast Asia. Yahoo! sees these seeming disadvantages as a golden opportunity, saying Indonesia’s youth, a wave of entrepreneurial activity and availability of new technologies will leverage both into positions of strength in future. Despite the lower overall figure, Indonesia actually has Asia’s highest rate of internet growth: usage increased by 1400% in the past 10 years.

source & article: The Jakarta Globe

HP shows faith with big new center in Cyberjaya

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Critics have claimed Malaysia’s Cyberjaya and Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) development hasn’t been the raging success it was planned to be, but its fortunes could be changing: Hewlett Packard Co has launched a multi-purpose global center in the district, the largest of its kind and marking the biggest single investment in Malaysia by a technology multinational.

The center is one of HP’s six ‘Best Shore’ hubs around the world (others are in India, China, Philippines, Bulgaria and Costa Rica) designed to serve the enterprise market. It will also house one of HP’s five Global Application Development & Support Centers and one of eight internal HP Finance Centers of Excellence. HP’s exact investment in the center wasn’t revealed but it should provide employment for up to 4000 Malaysian knowledge workers.

HP’s development is a show of faith in MSC and Malaysia’s technology industry in general. Now 14 years old, Cyberjaya is set to enter its second phase of development and is claimed to have contributed RM35 billion (US$11.3 billion) to Malaysia’s GDP and 100,000 ‘high value’ jobs.

source & article: Business Times

Mida wants to expand Malaysian semiconductor industry

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The Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (Mida) says it wants to further enhance Malaysia’s reputation as one of the world’s leaders in semiconductor design and manufacture. There are currently 62 companies participating in the local industry, which includes 28 semiconductor producters, seven wafer manufacturers, and 27 in integrated circuit (IC) design. 11 are Malaysian-owned. Mida wants to expand beyond the current computer and notebook supply chain into other devices like Blu-ray players, high-definition TVs and e-book readers with moves into semiconductor support and high brightness LEDs. Renewable green technology will see growing demand and should also be a top priority, says Mida director Jalilah Baba.

source & article: Business Times

Malaysia tops again in ‘useful connectivity’

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The Nokia-Siemens Networks/LECG Connectivity Scorecard has been updated again: Malaysia has ranked top of the Resource-Driven Economy group for the third year in a row, and has the highest overall score of any country in the Asean region.

What does this mean, exactly? The Connectivity Scorecard ranks countries’ level of “useful connectivity”. Rather than simply noting physical information & communication technology (ICT) infrastructure, it defines connectivity as the total interaction between users and the network. Included are statistics on hardware, software, user skill level and information services available in both business and government.

The Connectivity Scorecard says that “all economies are information economies”, and divides the world into two categories as assigned by the World Economic Forum: (a) Resource-Driven Economies (ie: ‘developing’ or ‘emerging’ countries), and (b) ‘Innovation-Driven’ economies (fully ‘developed’ countries). Each faces different challenges to gaining full connectivity. Resource-Driven Countries are less suited to foreign investment but sometimes suffer from a shortfall in the Human Capital required to make widespread use of IT infrastructure, while Innovation-Driven economies often face difficulties implementing new technologies and sluggish market uptake. Therefore, it is possible for a Resource-Driven country to score higher than many Innovation-Driven ones, as Malaysia has done: it would rank sixth in the world on total score alone, above Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Its score of 7.14 (out of 10) is by far the highest in its grouping.

Malaysia scored its points for high levels of literacy, mobile and broadband penetration, business useage and skills, secondary school enrolment, and good levels of business and government spending on IT infrastructure and skills. The only Asean country in the Innovation-Driven category, Singapore, ranked 11th in the group with a score of 6.68.

source: The LEGC Connectivity Scorecard

full report: (PDF link)

(this article also posted on New Asian Innovators)

Google’s new focus on Indonesia

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Indonesia might be just the market Google is looking for after its recent withdrawal from China, with the company’s announcement of extra Indonesian language and content to its local site. It will also promote its Chrome browser with several extensions designed specifically for Indonesian users, including news services like Detik.com and Kompas.com, lifestyle site Kapanlagi.com, and international Indonesian diaspora forum Kaskus.us.

Indonesia has 45 million internet users and counting, and other online behemoths like Yahoo! are paying attention. Yahoo! hinted last week it would focus on developing mobile services across Asia and Google will definitely be looking for its slice of the pie. As is often the case with foreign corporate moves into Indonesia, Google’s plans are more about future potential than current revenue streams. It shows, though, that more companies are backing up their votes of confidence with actual cash.

source & article: the Jakarta Globe

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