With globalisation, more opportunities and newer markets have opened up for Malaysia’s mid-sized companies. The other flip of the coin is that there are also additional competition from foreign companies hungry to get a piece of the local and ASEAN market.
“Thus, the two critical elements for mid-sized companies is their ability to innovate and to ‘value add’ to existing products so that they are regarded as ‘premium’ or superior to foreign ones, especially against products from developing countries,” said Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) vice president (enterprise development) Gopi Ganesalingam.
“Where technology and innovation are concerned, our local mid-sized markets should start recognising technology and innovation not as a cost – but as an investment – if they haven’t already. By this, what I mean is for our local mid-sized companies to recognise the role of technology as a business enabler, and that technology/innovation is a strategic asset to drive greater productivity, operational efficiencies, to realise greater operational cost-savings, and most importantly, to stay relevant in the market place,” said Gopi.
“Entrepreneurs and businesses are now faced with fast evolving technology and innovation at such rapid scale, that if it is not embraced at the right time, businesses can lose their competitive positions. We are seeing this happening to some long-standing renown global brands that have become obsolete in matter of years. Technology is also getting less expensive and virtual, and this is making the world a smaller place to do business. Like it or not, the world is going through an Information Revolution, like never before,” he added.
Malaysia has done very well in cultivating a ICT ecosystem that has generated close to RM300 billion top line revenues, some 3,000 ICT companies, and more than a 150,000 jobs, said Gopi.
“However, the time has come for us to shift gears and move some of these forward looking companies to be global players,” he said.
MDEC’s Global Acceleration and Innovation Network (GAIN) programme was created to help such companies move up their respective value chains.
“Developing local companies to be global players is our biggest challenge – this is because ninety percent of MSC companies today have average annual revenues of RM1 million a year, while eight percent achieve some RM20 million revenue per year. Only the top two percent of MSC companies brings in about RM200 million revenue per year. Thus, GAIN was created to help uplift the others to reach this RM200 million revenue bracket,” said Gopi.
“Initiatives undertaken include ‘Best Practice’ sharing which entails bringing together companies with good growth prospects with successful ICT companies that have succeeded internationally,” said Gopi.
“For example, if a company wishes to enter a particular overseas market, we will try to link them up with Malaysian companies or Malaysian businesspeople who have made it there, via M&A (merger and acquisition) activities for new regional footprints, technology refresh with global tech players, introducing new modern funding platforms and agencies tasked to grow forward-looking companies.
“In other words, it is our aim to identify companies with high potential of crossing the RM100 million revenue mark, or a niche player in the global market, with the goal of transforming them into stronger global players, whilst maintaining the Malaysian brand,” he added.
Gopi also said that, with ASEAN being the fastest growing internet economy in the world, being based in Malaysia has its advantages: Such as, the country’s competitive cost base, connectivity to the region, and most importantly, industry and government support to be top notch regional and global players.
“The GAIN program does just that, primarily focusing on market access, visibility, raising capital and encouragement for GAIN companies to emerge as industry leaders within their respective fields,” emphasised Gopi.