Google extends SEA presence to Malaysia

Internet giant opens second Southeast Asian office in Kuala Lumpur with plans to increase investment in the country, focusing on small and midsize business market.
Written by Edwin Yapp, Contributor

KUALA LUMPUR--Google has reaffirmed its commitment to further invest in Southeast Asia with the opening of a new office in Malaysia's city center.

According to Julian Persaud, managing director for Google Southeast Asia, the new office here is the second in this part of the region, almost four years after establishing its first in Singapore.

"We are increasing our investments here in the region and the opening of the KL office will focus on what we can bring to local users, advertisers and our partners," Persaud said during a media conference here Wednesday.

Asked how much the Internet giant planned to invest in Malaysia, he declined to provide details, noting only that its presence here signals the company's intent to "further invest" in the country.

Malaysia was chosen because of its highly-skilled workforce, multicultural diversity and business-friendly environment, he said, noting that Google had previously worked on several local projects including a collaboration with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

"This step forward is inevitable and our presence here is a logical conclusion to our involvement with Malaysia," Persaud said.

Eyeing consumers, SMBs
According to Sajith Sivanandan, Google Malaysia's newly appointed country manager, the company's local outlet will focus on the consumer and small and midsize business (SMB) market segments.

"For our users, we want to continue on the path of localization including bringing in features such as Google's StreetView to Malaysia. From the business perspective, we want to help local enterprises extend their businesses through our products and services," explained Sivanandan, who previously led the company's Southeast Asian online advertising business for the travel sector.

Noting that the cost of advertising and promotions is still too high for many SMBs, he said Google hopes to reduce the barrier of entry for smaller enterprises and provide the platform that will enable local SMBs to reach out to customers worldwide.

The search company's local office is located in the city center and it is looking to recruit new hires, Sivanandan said. "We are looking for smart analytical people and those who are interested to join a startup environment.

"The roles we're looking at encompass client servicing, sales and marketing as well as roles in public relations and corporate communications," he added.

Edwin Yapp is a freelance IT writer based in Malaysia.

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