GEORGE TOWN (Sept 5): Motorola Solutions Malaysia Sdn Bhd’s newly opened research and development (R&D) complex here is expected to spearhead innovations to enhance the technology of two-way radios in the world.
Its Managing Director Dr Hari Narayanan said the USD20 million (RM63 million) centre, called Innoplex, would site 1,200 engineers who are conceptualising the technology for the next generation’s public safety radios.
“The two-way radio business is still very strong in the world. It is interesting to note that there are 40 million analogue radios at this point in time.
“If you look at communications, it is going through an exponential change of technology. Some of these are being conceptualised and innovated now. This particular design centre is spearheading this technology,” he said.
The seven-storey centre covering 227,000 sq ft was built over state land. Both the land and building were leased by the state government to Motorola, he said, adding that it was Motorola’s largest R&D facility outside the Unites States.
He said the centre would be equipped with state-of the-art laboratories and product design and development capabilities.
It will focus on developing the next generation mission-critical Land Mobile Radio (LMR), broadband-LTE devices and system solutions for the company’s customers throughout the world.
Speaking to reporters after the opening of the centre by International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Hari said 85% of the worldwide supply of solutions and products were from Penang.
“This building, which is linked to the manufactuing facility via a bridge, is a joint collaboration between the state and us. In terms of [our] own investment, we spent more than USD20 million for facilitation.
“The state government put up this building and we are leasing back from them. Innoplex is dedicated to R&D, and with the manufacturing facility, we are co-located in one place to get the best out of both worlds,” he said.
US-based Motorola, which is a market leader in providing two-way radio communication for business-critical and mission-critical communication, set up its Malaysian base in 1974.
Meanwhile, Mustapa said the growth in the electronic and electrical (E&E) sector was evident as investments had remained resilient over the years.
He said after several years of economic turbulence, E&E exports rebounded in 2013 with a 2.4% growth from 2012, which amounted to 43.2% of total exports of manufactured products.
"In the same year, the sector contributed 6% to the gross domestic product (GDP) and 30.8% of total employment. This year, the sector recorded a 13% increase in growth in the first six months.
"From January to May, we approved 31 projects worth RM6.4 billion. Of these, RM221.9 million are domestic investments and RM6.1 billion are foreign direct investments," he said.
As for government incentives for the E&E sector in the upcoming 2015 Budget, he said most were to encourage industries to increase their knowledge-based human capital.
“The E&E sector is important to the country as 33% of exports are derived from here. Incentives are important but it is not the single most important factor.
“The sector is not like 40 years ago. We started from low-end, now we have become more sophisticated. Now, there are human capital challenges such as shortage of engineers,” he said, adding that the incentives are for companies to train their staff or support trainings in universities.