Posts tagged technology
“A combination of low cost and high technology” is the in-a-nutshell reason The Economist gives for the beginnings of Penang’s success in the healthcare and electronics industries. Penang state and its neighboring region on the mainland now account for 21% of Malaysia’s GDP as a result of its technology focus, as well as a strong rule of law, intellectual property protection and ease of doing business.
The road to technology riches was paved in the 1970s when Penang became Malaysia’s first free-trade zone, but the article also credits Penang’s current government for freeing up the local economy further by removing economic privileges and combating corruption and waste. For its part, the federal government has also invested heavily in Penang with massive infrastructure upgrades such as a duplication of the bridge to the mainland and extensions to the main seaport and international airport.
Penang has historically enjoyed a strategic trading position thanks both to its physical location between China, India and Southeast Asia, and the well-connected multi-ethnic mix that reflects this. High-tech industries have created a skilled local workforce of technicians and engineers, the capital Georgetown is enjoying a revival, and foreign companies are moving in once again.
source & article: The Economist
Iskandar Malaysia-based technology park aims to lead Malaysia into an advanced future as it signs another new investment and production deal.
Johor’s Senai Hi-Tech Park (SHTP) would be a “key driver” for high value technology industries and Malaysia’s aim to transform itself into an advanced, innovative nation, says Prime Minister Najib Razak.
PM Najib spoke yesterday at a signing ceremony for SHTP and Solexel (M) Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of California-based solar cell manufacturer Solexel Inc. A new memorandum of understanding between the two will see an aggregate investment of RM2.8 billion (US$944 million) over the next five years, and create 2,300 jobs.
Solexel will manufacture crystalline silicone solar cells at a new 100-acre facility in SHTP’s Industrial Zone Phase 1, and is capable of producing one gigawatt of cells per year. The company will also conduct R&D operations and help create a local supply chain for chemicals used in solar photovoltaic (PV) cell and semiconductor manufacturing.
Senai Hi-Tech Park will be 1,000 acres total at completion, and is Malaysia’s second dedicated high technology zone after Kulim Hi-Tech Park in the country’s northwest. Kulim’s success at attracting international investment was the impetus for creating the SHTP project last year and the project’s developers are negotiating major deals with foreign investors.
Both parks aim to spur the local high-value economy and create employment for Malaysians in more advanced industries. Calling itself a ‘third-generation technology park’, SHTP is located next to the redeveloped Senai International Airport in Johor state’s Iskandar Malaysia special economic region, across the water from Singapore.
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 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.
Entrepreneurship is a hot topic in Indonesia this week after the Global Entrepreneurship Program Indonesia (GEPI) event in Bali. This article in the Christian Science Monitor adds strength to the BBC’s earlier claim that Indonesia is the best place in the world to be an entrepreneur in 2011.
It’s not Indonesia’s politics or established structures that created this environment, though. In fact, entrepreneurs there seem to thrive despite excessive regulation, poor access to finance and inadequate physical infrastructure. Instead it is Indonesia’s unique cultural environment: a young population, many tech-savvy and with overseas education, leading the way. Young entrepreneurs are looking at their country and trying to solve its problems piece by piece with the resources available.
Indonesia is embracing modern methods and techniques to interact. The country is already home to the world’s second largest Facebook population and its third-largest on Twitter. There’s a proportionately large number of mobile internet users and around 700 active tech start-ups, with a new one each week.
The United States is doing what it can to support the entrepreneurial wave in Muslim-majority countries, and it is Indonesia that has been quickest to make the most of it. The Global Entrepreneurship Program is a US State Department initiative funded in part by USAID and Indonesian partners, and last week’s GEPI event drew at least 11 major US-based angel investors.
source & article: Christian Science Monitor
Malaysia’s dreams of becoming a regional leader in aerospace received a boost today from UK-based BAE Systems, which said it was keen to revitalize the two countries’ relationship. The group’s business development director, Alan Garwood, said he would be keen to discuss issues with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is on an official tour of the UK this week.
PM Najib met with 20 major industry players at an official dinner to discuss possible Malaysian collaborations.
Malaysia has earmarked aerospace as a potential major industry, with the government saying it hopes to become a big player in aircraft component manufacture and aircraft repair and maintenance. Do do so would need advances in local training and skills, as well as investment from international aerospace companies like BAE. Conveniently, many aerospace/defense firms have begun to focus on Asia-Pacific and Middle East of late, seeking new markets in emerging economies at a time when developed countries are spending less on their equipment.
Garwood said Malaysia’s growth over the last few years had been “phenomenal”, and unmatched by European countries. BAE Systems is looking to find local partners for joint ventures, and is also hoping to use that leverage to become a defense contractor to the Malaysian government when the Malaysian air force replaces its fleet of 10 MiG-29N fighters soon.
BAE has already teamed up with Malaysia’s Composites Technology Research Malaysia Sdn Bhd (CTRM).
source & article: Business Times
Malaysia’s BIO International delegation has announced four new deals, including two new investments into Iskandar Malaysia’s Bio-XCell technology park and two partnerships between BioNexus-status companies (see below) and foreign firms.
The two partnerships were: a Technology Licensing Agreement in the bio-refinery sector between Lestari Pacific Sdn Bhd and UK-based Arter Biofuel Products Ltd., and a memorandum of collaboration between Pristine Oil (M) Sdn Bhd and Norway’s Bio Protein AS. The latter deal will establish a new RM608 million (US$20 million) plant in Malaysia to produce a bio-protein to replace fishmeal in the aquaculture industry, according to Business Times.
Pharmaceutical company Agila Specialties (formerly Strides Specialties) Sdn Bhd Americas also announced it would set up a 3.2 hectare facility to produce biopharmaceuticals and sterile injectables at Bio-XCell park for the global market, costing up to $60 million. Meanwhile, Malaysia’s largest industrial gases supplier MOX-Linde also signed a memorandum of collaboration to establish a gas distribution facility at the park. The company plans to extend its facility to include an electronics specialty gases warehouse and separation plant should demand increase.
BioNexus is a government sponsored program awarding special status to biotech companies meeting specified criteria, allowing them to access tax incentives, support programs and a ‘Bill of Guarantees’. Its purpose is to promote international partnerships and commercialization of Malaysian-developed biotechnology. Only 3% of companies in the program have achieved ‘maturity’, determined by workforce and revenue figures, but the plan is to increase this to 5-7% by the end of its first phase in 2015. 188 companies have signed on to date.
The Senai Hi-Tech Park, located in Johor’s Iskandar Malaysia economic zone, has scored another important project with the announcement of a RM200 million ($65.7 million) nanotechnology development center, the first of its kind in Malaysia.
The new complex, named NanoMalaysia, will be developed at Senai under a private-public partnership and should be completed within 12 months. NanoMalaysia Bhd is a commercial vehicle set up by the National Nanotechnology Directorate (NND), a unit of Malaysia’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI).
Minister Dr. Maximus Ongkili announced the new project at the NanoMalaysia Summit and Expo 2011, saying it would be “a one-stop center for nano science and technology activities and provide a missing link between technology and market.”
NanoMalaysia is designed not only to provide a workplace for nanotechnology researchers, but is part of a plan to form other new companies through technology entrepreneurship incubators and assist downstream industries. It’s hoped the center will generate from RM100-150 million ($33-39 million) in business within two years, and together with five other nanotechnology research facilities in the country, produce commercially viable applications for three main product groups: aerogel, carbon nanotube and nanocatalyst.
source & article: The Star Business
Penang has been positioning itself as a center for medical device production, and a new agreement with a Swiss machinery maker will see local skills improve in this industry, and pass them on to other Malaysian manufacturers.
The Penang Skills Development Centre (PSDC) has teamed up with Tornos SA, a Swiss machinery maker, to provide a loan machine for two years and training for 10 staff of its sliding headstock type computer numeric control (CNC) lathe. The PSDC has applied to the government for funds to purchase four more of the machines under the 10th Malaysia Plan.
CNC skills are vital to advancing the medical devices industry, which in turn produces valuable skills for other high tech manufacturing sectors like semiconductors and automation. PSDC has run CNC training courses since 1992, producing 160 skilled operators every year.
Foreign medical device companies with operations in Penang are B. Braun Melsulgen AG, Symetry Medical Inc and St Jude Medical Inc. Malaysian company Vigilenze Medical Supplies Sdn Bhd also has a facility in the state.
source & article: NST Business Times, MIDA
While Southern Malaysia’s Iskandar zone continues to impress with rising property prices and shiny development proposals, the other end of the country is also drawing its share of investments. The Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER), which spans Perlis, Kedah, Seberang Perai on mainland Penang and northern Perak, has recorded RM3.3 billion (US$1.09 billion) in new investments for the first four months of 2011. That’s already looking healthy against 2010′s total of RM6.08 billion ($2.02 billion), and is a vast improvement on 2008-09′s RM1.4 billion ($464 million).
About 50% of this year’s investment is from domestic sources, in the key areas of logistics, commercial agriculture, manufacturing and tourism. The region also focuses on high tech industries.
The development region is overseen by the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA), which recently showcased investment opportunities in the four key areas in Kuala Lumpur. If NCER lives up to expectations, it will lift the region’s share of Gross National Income (GNI) to RM13.3 billion ($4.41 billion) by 2020 and generate thousands of high skilled jobs.