Dell: Malaysia to support Australia, others

Summary:Enterprise technology users may still be getting used to Indian accents for many of their support queries, but PC giant Dell believes many of its customers would be better served by Malaysia.

Enterprise technology users may still be getting used to Indian accents for many of their support queries, but PC giant Dell believes many of its customers would be better served by Malaysia.

As earlier reported by ZDNet Australia, Dell chief executive officer Kevin Rollins on Thursday opened its first Enterprise Command Centre for the Asia-Pacific region, based in Penang, Malaysia.

The 20-employee facility will provide service and support for Dell's 250,000 server install base, and is expected to field about 1,000 calls from customers across the region including Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan.

"I think this signifies today that we're finding growth [in Malaysia]," Rollins told reporters in Penang, already home to Dell's manufacturing plant which employs the bulk of its 4,000 Malaysian workforce.

"Our facilities here in Penang -- we're still building out. We have room to build additional product production lines in Penang in our factory, and we will as we manufacture not only for southern Asia but also for the US ... our notebooks," he added.

The close proximity of the manufacturing base, the availability of suitable technical and multi-lingual skills, and low costs influenced the decision to locate the new support centre in Penang, according to Dell.

The company has also ramped up other support services in the state, spurred by incentives from the Malaysian government to attract technology investment.

Under its Multimedia Super Corridor program, the Malaysian government last year designated Penang as its first 'cybercity' outside Kuala Lumpur. The first year of the program saw over 70 companies begin operations there.

"Actually I can give you an update," Rollins said, "because of the movements by the government, we actually concluded to put a large portion of our internal IT development and support here in Penang, really due to that initiative by the government.

"We had many places we could have located that facility, so our goal will be ... to bring not only great manufacturing jobs, but the next level technology jobs in IT and software development to our partners."

Dell's Penang plant is responsible for producing 95 percent of its notebooks sold to the US market.

"We've given Simon [Wong, vice president and managing director, Dell Asia-Pacific] in our facility the green light -- whenever they need capacity, they install it," Rollins said.

Wong was equally bullish on Dell's growth in the country: "Since we took over the notebooks business for the United States, we have been constantly adding people and equipment. Right now, as Kevin mentioned, we supply 95 percent of the notebooks, and that business is growing at 35 percent."

He claimed Dell would add between 600 and 700 employees in Penang in the next 12 months to 18 months.

"Even for the call centre operations, the organic growth of South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand and India mandates that we'll constantly add people. This [manufacturing] facility here five years ago was 800 people, and now it's 2,000," Wong said.

Malaysia joins the ranks of other ECCs located in the US, Ireland, China and Japan.

Steven Deare travelled to Penang as a guest of Dell.

Topics: Dell, Servers, Telcos

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