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  • Microsoft to Set Up Fund for Malaysia's Multimedia Corridor
  • September 3, 1998 (KUALA LUMPUR) -- Microsoft Corp. will set up a venture capital fund and a software developers' resource center as part of its efforts in Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor.
    The moves are aimed at helping local start-ups develop an indigenous software industry in the MSC.

    Microsoft Malaysia Sdn., Bhd. general manager Benedict Lee said the venture capital fund will kick off in 1999 with an initial outlay of 30 million ringgit (US$7.2 million). It will be funded by three parties: Microsoft, a local company and multinational information technology company.

    "The objective of the fund is to assist local technology firms, especially those involved with the MSC, that have the right ideas and products," he said. Lee added that the conditions for the fund are still being finalized, and they are subject to the approval of the Malaysian government.

    The offer to set up the fund was made by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates during his visit here in March.

    Lee said Microsoft will also set up the Microsoft Knowledge Capital Center (MKCC), a resource center to advance the skills of local software developers, this month. The company has committed to spend 10 million ringgit on the MKCC over five years.

    MKCC will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. It will focus on three main areas: developer programs, technology deployment and business applications scenarios.

    Developer programs are aimed at training local developers in distributed client/server technologies through workshops and conferences. Under technology deployment, the MKCC will work with local developers and independent software vendors to certify and deploy their products for the global market.

    In the third area, business application scenarios, MKCC will share knowledge gained from Microsoft's experience in working with global organizations to implement its digital nervous system concept. Local implementation will also be documented and shared with other Malaysian businesses.

    Lee said the set up of the venture capital fund and the resource center will help Malaysia realize its aspirations of making the MSC a global hub for the creation of multimedia products and services.

    "The venture fund will identify and provide funding for selected companies and their products within the MSC, while the resource center will provide the technical muscle to develop and globalize those products," he said.

    Regarding Windows 98 sales, Lee said Microsoft Malaysia has sold more than 6,900 copies of the operating system software in two months. He said the company was satisfied with the sales, given the current economic conditions.

    "Windows 98 is generally targeted at consumers and is very dependent on the retail channel. Due to the economic crisis, consumer spending in Malaysia has really taken a sharp decline, and the retail channel has dried up," he said.

    Lee said that the ongoing crisis was likely to affect sales in the short-term, but he is optimistic that once the economic climate improves and consumer confidence returns, sales will take off.

    (Julian Matthews, Asia BizTech Correspondent)

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    Updated: Wed Sep 2 18:38:31 1998 PDT