Malaysia seeks to become Asia's top outsourcing centre
Malaysia will seek to lower the cost of business to remain competitive as one of the region's top outsourcing centres and bolster growth in its eight-year-old high-tech zone, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Wednesday.
Abdullah said global demand for outsourcing had risen dramatically, with business process outsourcing alone expected to create a global industry worth an estimated 500 billion dollars by 2008.
A global survey by US consultancy firm AT Kearney listed Malaysia as the third most attractive offshore location in terms of cost and skills behind India and China.
Abdullah said outsourcing operations had emerged as one of the largest sectors in Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor, spawning investment of more than one billion ringgit by 49 companies and some 8,000 new jobs in the special zone south of Kuala Lumpur.
The sector would play a key role in the zone's second phase of development from 2004 to 2010, creating at least 100,000 new jobs by the end of the period, he said.
"Malaysia must move quickly and take advantage of this opportunity to build a stronger brand name for itself around its offshore capabilities," he said in a keynote address at a two-day regional outsourcing conference.
Abdullah said the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), launched in 1996 as Asia's answer to California's Silicon Valley, has expanded rapidly with new "cyber-cities" being established in several states.
But he urged the industry to boost the quality of their products and services amid stiff regional competition.
"I am happy with the MSC as a brandname. It's a popular brand and well known but the quality of products and services can improve," he told reporters later.
"We don't know if Malaysia is going to be Asia's Silicon Valley or not but we are working very hard. We cannot run away from competition. We have invested a lot and we must continue to do all we can to attract the best brains, the best talent to be involved in this industry."
Earlier, Abdullah said the government would seek to boost the efficiency of its public delivery system to lower the cost of operations and look at ways to lower training costs to woo more companies to the Multimedia Super Corridor.
To encourage local companies to venture overseas, he said the government would seek to engage them in global-level projects to build their capabilities, lower their financing costs and make it easier for them to access foreign talent.
The Multimedia Super Corridor was developed by Abdullah's predecessor Mahathir Mohamad, who retired last October after 22 years in power, as part of a plan to turn Malaysia into a developed nation by 2020.
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