Ads get mobile channel in Malaysia

Malaysian carrier Maxis and Yahoo ink deal to provide platform for targeted advertising, created specifically for the mobile environment.

COMMUNICASIA, SINGAPORE--The face of advertising is set to change in Malaysia as one of the country's leading cellular operators introduces the mobile channel to advertisers there.

Malaysia's Maxis Communications is carrying a variety of graphical advertisements on its WAP portal, served by Internet giant Yahoo.

Yahoo and Maxis will combine their expertise and knowledge of consumer habits to enable leading brands to undertake targeted advertising, created specifically for the mobile environment. Maxis' first advertiser on its portal is IT gear maker Benq.

David Ko, managing director of Yahoo Mobile, said the partnership builds on continued collaborations between the two companies. Maxis and Yahoo together launched Yahoo's oneSearch service on its WAP portal last year. Ko was speaking to reporters at a media briefing Tuesday, held at the imbX show.

T. Kugan, head of products and infotainment at Maxis, said although mobile advertising is still very nascent in Malaysia, and the region, there is potential for growth, and "something is happening in the mobile space that is driving it further".

"Our partnership with Yahoo shows our commitment to enhancing our strategy and harnessing the power of mobile advertising to create new revenue models," Kugan said.

Asked how much revenue Maxis was targeting to generate from mobile advertising, Kugan said: "We're not so focused on the revenue for now. We want to get the user experience out, and get it right first."

He said Maxis currently has about 10 million mobile subscribers, and an average of 40 million hits per month on its WAP portal.

Malaysia's show participation
Apart from Maxis, Malaysia's presence at the imbX show also came in the form of 14 local companies, which showcased products and services at the Malaysian pavilion located within the exhibition halls.

Mobile applications provider, Micro Ocean Technologies, introduced its new location-based mobile broadcasting service. Dubbed the MOCEAN Broadcast, it is designed as a communications platform for governments and local councils to instantly broadcast messages to mobile phone subscribers during an emergency.

John Tong, director of Micro Ocean, said the system was designed to enable mobile users to receive warning messages in disasters such as tsunami or landslide. "We took up to a year to develop this solution," Tong told ZDNet Asia. "Moving forward, we plan to approach the Malaysian authorities with our solution and hopefully make some progress later this year, after which we'll market it abroad."

Another Malaysian company Aexio Software, which provides radio frequency planning software, said it hopes to expose its services and technology to regional visitors at the exhibition.

Andre Sequerah, managing director of Aexio, said its fully homegrown software--Xeus and Xeda--are designed to help radio planners optimize their networks.

"We aim to increase the market awareness of our company's value proposition among mobile operators, and increase the exposure of our unique software and expertise," Sequerah told ZDNet Asia.

A recent recipient of the MSC Technopreneur Grant Fund, Aexio was established in 2005 and has made inroads to various markets in Africa and Southeast Asia, he said.

Edwin Yapp is a freelance IT writer based in Malaysia.

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