International Investor provides an insight into the experience of multinational companies that have chosen to locate their operations in Iskandar Malaysia. This case study was produced in collaboration with Frost & Sullivan.
Iskandar Malaysia: the business case
We were in the middle of developing our long-term growth strategy when the decision was taken to invest in Iskandar Malaysia. The company was looking for a location that would help drive its aspirations for growth and concluded our greatest growth would come from the Asia-Pacific region, more specifically, Japan, South Korea and the ASEAN countries. Consequently, we must be established in a location that can serve those markets.
The availability of talent, proximity to key markets, as well as great infrastructure were all important requirements during the decision-making process. We believe that locating an office in Iskandar Malaysia will be a game changer for Frost & Sullivan as we attempt to drive growth over the next decade. We hope to leverage the strategic location of the economic region and our first-mover advantage to gain a competitive edge.
Current and long-term objectives
Our Global Innovation Center (GIC) of Excellence, which opened in 2012, primarily services Frost & Sullivan’s growth requirements in the Asia-Pacific region. There are five distinct centres of excellence that are housed within the GIC and the activities covered include research, consulting, shared services and capability development areas. We have also begun undertaking global projects from this location.
The GIC is doing pioneering work and developing new, innovative services that will be sold by Frost & Sullivan’s offices around the world. These developments encompass areas such as big data analytics and Knowledge as a Service (KaaS). Our plan is to incorporate approximately 800 employees into this office over the period between 2016 and 2023.
Local partners and their role
In 2012, Frost & Sullivan partnered the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation and i2M Ventures Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Berhad, to set up the GIC in Medini Iskandar. We also received valuable support from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority and the Iskandar Regional Development Authority, two key agencies involved in supporting global clients to invest and grow their business in Malaysia and Iskandar Malaysia, respectively.
The support from these agencies has helped us address many of the challenges that must be faced when establishing a new facility like the GIC. All our partners have been very client-focused and flexible in terms of meeting our needs.
Experience in Iskandar Malaysia
Iskandar Malaysia is still undergoing development and we have experienced some of the concomitant challenges associated with this stage of a project. For example, entertainment and community building activities are in the early stages. As a result, there are only a limited number of attractions compared to more developed cities, which young talented people use a benchmark for relocation decisions.
Having said that, Iskandar Malaysia is a planned, greenfield development. Thus, every component of the economic region is well organised. Furthermore, infrastructure and the supporting ecosystem, such as schools, colleges, sporting facilities and hospitals, are all now in operation.
In many ways, Iskandar Malaysia has everything one could hope for: minimal traffic, lots of green space, great infrastructure and incredible connectivity.