By ZAM KARIM email@example.com
PETALING JAYA: Pikom members have voted KPMG Business Advisory Sdn Bhd’s business performance services executive director Woon Tai Hai to helm The National ICT Association as its chairman.
He succeeds immediate past chairman Datuk Wei Chuan Beng, who has stepped down after serving for the past two successive terms, which is the maximum length of service allowed under Pikom’s constitution.
In his inaugural address, Woon said he realises that he is taking up the mantle with difficult times ahead.
“The general economic climate is expected to be challenging moving forward with the uncertainty in Europe. Growth in 2011 has been revised downwards in the region of 4.6% and in 2012 will be about 5%,” he said.
However, against this “not so rosy” backdrop – as he put it — the local ICT (information and communcations technology) industry has been charting an impressive 8% to 10% growth each year and is now worth about RM50bil.
The goal is to hit RM80bil by 2015, which will contribute 20% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product by the year 2020.
Woon said he plans to carry on and build on various initiatives embarked by the previous Pikom council, as well as add new activities, to ensure the goal is attained.
Pikom will continue to hold its usual ICT-related events, such as the National ICT Month, its Software and Services Showcase, and its ICT Leadership Awards — and preferably, on an even bigger scale.
Forging even closer relationships with the state governments through its regional chapters will also provide both parties with an effective channel to support the ICT initiatives and more, Woon said.
He also pledged to keep the Pikom Angel Group fund initiative active.
Launched earlier this year, this initiative encourages successful ICT entrepreneurs and accomplished industry captains, including retired veterans, to act as angel investors and business advisors.
These angels guide local technopreneurs who need to strengthen themselves or rethink strategies to compete in the global marketplace.
More in store
Woon said he also knows that in any economic slowdown, it is the small traders who will be affected the most.
He said Pikom’s PC Fair and Digital Lifestyle Expo activities are the two countermeasures that will help cushion some of the impact on these businessmen.
On top of that, he said, the setting up the Pikom ICT Mall in downtown Kuala Lumpur — which offers a cost-control environment in terms of rental — enables its member retailers to better plan their overhead expenditures.
Pikom celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Woon said the organisation will continue to grow and will continue to be effective not just domestically but internationally as well.
On the global front, Pikom intends to continue its growing involvement and commitments to its partners, such as the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (Witsa) and the Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organisation (Asocio), which provide its members with avenues to explore business opportunities in overseas markets.
Plans are also underway to bring PC Fair-like events to the other Asean countries; Vietnam and Cambodia in particular.
Woon will also continue Pikom’s call to the Government to set up a single ICT Ministry. The ICT industry is currently covered by two ministries — The Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture, and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
“Many countries are already doing so and have recognised the need to have minimal overlap in such roles. The industry will benefit if it can work with a single, core agency,” he said.
Pikom membership is now 1,405 companies, which are involved in the whole spectrum of information technology (IT) products and services. Together, they command about 80% of the total IT business in the country.