Chip giant Intel Corp will kick off a newly-formed incubator for the Asia Pacific region based in Malaysia on August 1.
KUALA LUMPUR, 27 July 2000 - Aimed at seeding and growing start-ups, the operation will be headed by Yohani Yusof, who is currently the country manager for Intel's operations in Malaysia and Indonesia.
"It is the right time to look into incubators for Asia, especially since the market correction with Internet firms has taken place. We can see the truth out there," said Yohani in an exclusive interview with ZDNet Asia yesterday.
A 13-year industry veteran and one of the highest-ranked women executives among multinationals in the region, Yohani will assume the position of regional manager in charge of Intel's Asia Pacific incubator program.
"I'm personally very excited about the prospect of starting and managing the incubator. It is a new charter for Intel and for myself and I look forward devise a suitable program that will complement Intel's strategy, " she said.
Yohani said her immediate responsibilities will be to set up the program from ground up and to determine the selection criteria for candidates.
"Intel's general plan for the incubator is two-fold. The first is to identify suitable collaborators such as telcos, ISPs, financial institutions, large corporations, government and technology companies to source attractive deal flow and support for Internet and technology-related start-ups.
"Secondly, Intel will nurture the start-ups with technical know-how and offer advice
on implementation strategies. We can back them up with Intel's world-class infrastructure and support in research and development, e-business solutions and promotional efforts," she said.
She added that the partnerships that shape up will be country-specific and sensitive to local needs. "We will rely on Intel's internal resources first to get this off the ground before forming new teams to undertake the task."
Santa Clara-based Intel has incubator programs forged through alliances with finance and consulting companies in the US and Europe. Its investment arm Intel Capital has a strategic equity portfolio in over 450 companies worldwide worth US$7.5 billion as of July 1, 2000.
Although the world's No. 1 microprocessor-maker has long-established manufacturing and marketing operations in Asia, the new incubator suggests a keen interest to venture into early-stage investing for fledgling companies in the region.
Yohani is optimistic that there will be no shortage of applicants for the program and is confident of its success.
"One of the things that is close to my heart is marketing, and the Net has widened that scope. There is so much to learn and it is a great opportunity given my background and contacts to spearhead this. I look forward to the challenge," she said.
Yohani, a Malaysian, was previously with IBM and Hewlett-Packard, prior to being head-hunted five years ago for Intel Malaysia's country manager position. Last year her scope of duties extended to Indonesia.
She was responsible for raising Intel's profile in the two countries and placing Malaysia in the top five markets in the region for boxed CPUs.
Intel's e-business manager Lai Yit Loong will take over the reins at Intel Electronics Malaysia Sdn Bhd.