Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Accelerating Penang to the next level of growth

Development of new areas for next wave of economic growth

GEORGE TOWN: To prepare Penang for the next wave of economic growth, the Penang Development Corp (PDC) is accelerating the infrastructure development of Bukit Minyak Science Park (BMSP), Batu Kawan on the mainland and the Bayan Mutiara project on the island.

“We want these two infrastructure projects to coincide with the completion of the second bridge in 2012.

“Their simultaneous completion would put Penang in a strong position to move into the next wave of economic growth, when the economic crisis is over,” general manager Datuk Rosli Jaafar told StarBiz.

Datuk Rosli Jaafar ... Penang is fast becoming a global BPO hub

Rosli said some 20 acres in the 100-acre Bayan Mutiara project located in Sungai Nibong were being transformed to accommodate high-end business process outsourcing (BPO) companies and regional headquarters of multinational corporations (MNCs) and medical services.

“Penang is fast becoming a global BPO hub after being ranked by KPMG as one of the top 31 destinations for BPO activities.

“We are now identifying suitable BPO companies and MNCs and medical services to invest in Bayan Mutiara,” he said.

Two MNCs, Seagate and National Instruments, are taking up a 20,000 sq ft premises at the RM100mil SunTech Tower to establish their respective shared services and BPO centres.

The SunTech Tower (200,000 sq ft), Mayang Mall (111,000 sq ft) and The CEO (350,000 sq ft) are some of the modern office buildings equipped with information technology (IT) facilities that can accommodate BPO investments.

Chip-designer PMC Sierra Inc, another US-based MNC, is also exploring setting up its BPO, bringing in some RM1.3bil worth of intellectual property.

Penang’s strength as a BPO hub has attracted MNCs such as Intel, Dell, Motorola, Citicorp and IBM to set up IT-BPO centres in the state.

High speed servers used in a business process outsourcing centre in Penang

Bayan Mutiara is suitable for BPO activities as it is located within Penang Cyber City 1 (PCC), which houses MSC Malaysia status companies.

Among the guarantees of a cybercity are access to high-speed broadband networks, non-censorship of the Internet, the import of knowledge workers and performance agreements with local utility suppliers with penalties for failure to deliver.

“We also want to develop Batu Kawan, slated to be PCC 3, as an alternative BPO location to Bayan Mutiara Batu Kawan will be able to realise its full potential when the bridge is completed.

“It is being now positioned to become an international hub for residential, medical, education, service industry, high-tech manufacturing and tourism related industries,” Rosli added.

On BMSP, Rosli said so far over RM100mil had been invested for the development of comprehensive infrastructure on the 400-acre site.

“The plan is for the park to also accommodate a halal centre for food, services and finished consumer products,” he said.

PDC has already developed 225 acres in BMSP, which currently houses two biotechnology companies, Alpha Biologics Sdn Bhd and Progenix Research Sdn Bhd, and printed circuit board manufacturer Ibiden Electronics (M) Sdn Bhd.

The BMSP is part of PDC’s undeveloped industrial land bank of 1,197 acres, of which 1,000 acres are located in Batu Kawan, 175 acres in the BMSP, and the remaining 22 acres in Prai, Bukit Minyak Industrial Park, and Bayan Lepas.

Infrastructure work for the remaining land bank on the mainland and the island is also being carried out.

Rosli said PDC would develop more light industrial properties of international standards in its remaining land bank to support local and overseas small and medium industries.

“We are also looking into setting up a light-emitting-diode industry cluster in Bayan Lepas,” Rosli added.

Source : STAR
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