Do you think Google will invest in Malaysia?

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Jan 24 2008
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The last time I mentioned about Google Inc. and Malaysia was back in May 2007 when FinanceTwitter wrote how Malaysia can prosper by copying Singapore. Before you start clicking the “comment” link at the end of this article and start cursing how naughty I was by glorifying Singapore at the expense of Malaysia, a country that used to be so proud of her MSC’s (Multimedia Super Corridor) initiative, please be rational as there’s nothing wrong by copying. Japan which used to tear apart, learn and copy every part of American’s automobile is today one of the biggest quality car manufacturer, giving U.S. car giant General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM, stock) a run for their money right at their very own backyard.

When I re-read that article, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was visiting internet giant Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO, stock) personally to look at the company’s new technology and the economic opportunities’ prospect. At this moment two of the largest internet giants, Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG, stock), have their offices in Singapore. Ever wonder why Singapore is always a step ahead of Malaysia in attracting these types of giants onto their soil?

Yeah, if you’re still proud of MSC chances are you’ve been hypnotized by Prime Minister Badawi’s “Coridor Syndrome”. Of course I know MSC was started by former premier Mahathir silly. The project started with a great bang but lack the follow-up to make it the world-class project that could be envy to Singapore or India. A great idea which was supposed to leapfrog the nation into the information and knowledge age is now a boring landscape only good for outsourcing and support centers (EDS, DHL, Shell, HSBC etc) due to mainly cheap labours (even Indian expatriates chose to go back to their homeland now). When was the last time you heard some innovative products or exciting technology breakthrough created by researchers in Cyberjaya, the heart of MSC?

Jamaludin JarjisTherefore I read and take it with a pinch of salt when Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Jamaludin Jarjis said Google Inc. has shown interest to invest in Malaysia. I know if I keep on criticizing this type of news you might brand me as anti-development but get real. What possibly could Malaysia offers that Google couldn’t possibly refuse? Google has more than US$12 billion in cash and it does not need cheap land in Cyberjaya to setup its world-class office.

And definitely it does not wish to spoil its reputation with the small bandwidth and unreliable internet access provided by local providers. Google is so rich it’s building its own freaking global fiber backbone network via 10GbE switch across oceans, mind you. You think Google will just shutdown Singapore’s office and relocate to Malaysia? What could Malaysia offers – top-brain in the information technology field? Don’t get me wrong as I believe there’re still hidden talents locally but theoretically the very top brains have long migrated thanks to the government’s very successful brain-drain programs.

Why Google Invest in MalaysiaMalaysia’s small population also does not justify for Google to setup a local office just to serve the market of its success model of Adsense advertising. So really, I can’t think of any compelling reason why Google wants to invest in Malaysia. If only the Ministers were proactive, not to mention smart, enough to market Malaysia before Singapore could snatch the customers (Google and Yahoo). But then Jamaludin Jarjis is a person with great vision and he was the person who thought it was “a freaking good idea” to buy the whole Russian Soyuz TMA-11 Space Rocket just for the glory after the first Malaysian was sent to space as part of a billion-dollar deal for Malaysia to buy 18 Russian-made Sukhoi 30-MKM jet fighters.

So, what do you think? Could you suggest reason(s) why Google would set their foot in Malaysia? If Google could be convinced to invest in Malaysia, I’m sure everyone would be jumping in joy – as a Google’s employee? Wanna know how’s life as a Google’s employee? Watch this video. Whoa!!!

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