Cheah Kok Hoong, Chairman, National ICT Industry Association of Malaysia (PIKOM)
Overall, 2013 has been heralded as the year of opportunities for the country’s ICT market against the backdrop of a recovering global economy as well as the temporary ‘slow down’ due to the pre-election months to GE13 [General Election 2013] that saw the highest ever level of voting participation in the country’s history.
The later part of 2013 also saw a brave 2014 Budget that is expected to play the key economic role to reduce the country’s fiscal deficit; as well as the controversial GST finally being pushed through at all levels of the public and private sectors – an effort that will place a very large emphasis on the ICT industry to support the successful adoption of this ‘developed country taxing model’.
In 2013, PIKOM expects the ICT market spending to pose a single digit growth. Also according to PIKOM's latest job market report, ICT continues to be one of the top paying sectors in the country with salary increment and the job market outlook is remaining positive.
Within the business world, local organisations have been receptive and experimental in some cases, towards ‘transformational technologies’ such as Cloud Computing and analytics to harness the Big Data. –The ICT developments that fuelled by the on-going enterprise mobility trend.
At a more granular basis, there is increased interest from both enterprises and small and medium enterprises [SMEs] for ICT business applications that have special focus to improve their customer relationship management (CRM) to reflect the expanded business coverage into ecommerce, social and mobile.
With the 4G spectrum roll-out, the interest in the adoption of smart devices such as smartphones and tablets shot up - demonstrating the dynamism of the consumer IT retail market in relation to the advancements in the local telecommunication and connectivity segments. The Government’s Youth Communication Package (YCP) also played a role in boosting smartphone demand since January 2013.
From a broader point of view, ICT remains as the primary enabler of Malaysia’s transformation into a knowledge-based and high-income country. However, we are more acutely aware of our neighbors such as Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam as the keenest competitors that are aggressively vying for international and multi-national companies’ attention for ICT investments and contracts in this region.
To strengthen the current ICT market state to achieve the RM95 billion [US$28.91 billion] revenue target by 2017, PIKOM’s 5-year strategic plan outlines six core thrusts to realise more digital opportunities for its members.