The establishment of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC Malaysia) and Cyberjaya in particular, will enable Malaysians to leapfrog into the Information Age. We hope to create the ideal environment that will attract world-class companies to use it as a regional multi-cultural information age hub.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, during Cyberjaya’s groundbreaking ceremony on 17 May 1997
Every story has a beginning, and ours begins on 2,800 hectares (6,960 acres) of mostly undeveloped land, 40km south of Kuala Lumpur. It is the mid-90s, and Malaysia’s economy has been dubbed one of Asia’s ‘tiger cubs’, thanks to an aggressive 8 per cent growth since 1988—the second fastest after China.
The site where our particular story takes place is a former palm oil plantation, one of many swathes of monoculture left over from Malaysia’s agricultural days. As the pages of history turn, we see this land being uprooted and sown with very different seeds, marking a new era in Malaysia. We witness the machinery of development busy laying the foundations of Malaysia’s first intelligent cybercity, and with it, a new hope for the nation.
Cyberjaya. A space for startups to create and innovate; for students to pursue dreams of changing lives with technology; for tech giants to make new discoveries; for small businesses to conquer the world one market at a time. For creative, entrepreneurial minds, it was going to be the place to call home.
PARTNERS IN A MASTERPLAN
The idea for a high-tech city akin to the Silicon Valley stemmed from a study on the setting up of the MSC Malaysia by management consultancy McKinsey & Co in 1995. Cyberjaya would be the core of MSC Malaysia, a designated zone where technology entrepreneurs and global multinationals enjoy attractive tax breaks, access to world-class human capital and infrastructure, at developing nation costs. The ambitious project would spearhead Malaysia’s transformation into a new knowledge economy, one that would be better able to compete on the world stage.
To ensure the project’s success, four key stakeholders were appointed to oversee distinct responsibilities:
Under the lead of Cyberview Sdn Bhd as the Cybercity Manager, a supportive and supple ecosystem was developed to attract investors. This included providing a collaborative environment and incentives such as competitive rental rates, flexible repayment schemes, building allowances, and customised solutions for investors based on their business requirements, budget, and growth plans. With all systems in place, the next step of the strategy was simple, on paper at least: Woo the big tech players to settle in.
In 1996, Nippon Telephone and Telegraph (NTT) agreed to develop a research and development (R&D) facility in Cyberjaya, which proved to be the project’s catalyst. Soon, other giants like Dell, HP, DHL and Shell began to follow suit. With the global icons establishing their presence in Cyberjaya, the entire ecosystem began to form naturally.
Cyberjaya was launched on 17 May 1997 as a fully integrated city, and Malaysia's pioneer tech hub. Looking back, the road to success has not been without its challenges.
Almost two decades after its inception, Cyberjaya has reached the tipping point where it has the right scale and mass, and most importantly, the proven track record in helping companies to grow and prosper.