Global drug firm opens M'sian IT center

GlaxoSmithKline sets up US$17.7 million tech center in Malaysia, its first in Asia, to support company's global operations and networks across 85 countries.
Written by Lee Min Keong, Contributor

KUALA LUMPUR--Pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has set up an IT center here, its first such facility in Asia, to support its operations worldwide.

The company has already invested over 11 million ringgit (US$3.2 million) in its new Global IT Center Kuala Lumpur, and expects to invest a further 60 million ringgit (US$17.7 million) in the facility over the next two years.

GSK anticipates continued growth with the additional investments, Alison Dyer, the company's director for global IT center operations in Asia-Pacific and emerging markets, said Tuesday at the launch of the new site here.

GSK's new center in Petaling Jaya works closely with its other global IT center in Poznan, Poland, to support the company's IT servers, networks and applications for offices, research and development, as well as manufacturing sites in 85 countries.

Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GSK has an estimated 7 percent of the world's pharmaceutical market and supplies a quarter of the world's vaccines, including the A (H1N1) influenza.

It Malaysian IT center, which will operate on a "follow the sun" mode, will run 24 hours by seven days a week, providing remote support for servers located in the company's U.K. and U.S. data centers, Dyer said.

The local center currently has 130 Malaysian staff and will have another 250 staff before year-end, she said, adding that Malaysia was chosen to house GSK's second Global IT Center because of its "superior IT knowledge and skills in the region", sound infrastructure and investment opportunities.

GSK CIO Bill Louv said the center was part of the company's "strategic priority to grow a diversified, global business".

With the MSC status awarded by the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), the center will relocate in six months to a cyber-status building in the current area.

The MSC status comes with various incentives, such as five years exemption from tax and 100 percent investment tax allowance.

According to the MDeC, the outsourcing industry was the biggest contributor to revenue generated by companies in MSC Malaysia, accounting for some 5.3 billion ringgit (US$1.6 billion) , or 31.3 percent of total revenue in 2007.

Lee Min Keong is a freelance IT writer based in Malaysia.

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