by FARA AISYAH / pic by BLOOMBERG
TENCENT Holdings Ltd, one of the leading Internet providers with value-added services in China, is expected to set up a data centre in Cyberjaya soon.
Tourism Malaysia chairman Datuk Dr Siew Ka Wei said the Internet company’s foray in Malaysia is a follow-up of its recently introduced Smart Tourism 4.0, an initiative that creates a digital tourism ecosystem targeted at Chinese tourists.
“Tencent has put a high priority for this collaborative project. I hope by April 30, the company will announce the establishment of its data centre in Cyberjaya.
“It has already identified the location for the centre and will be the first company servicing the entire Asean region,” Siew said at the Malaysia Retailers Association’s Retail Conference 2018 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
He added that the initial phase of the initiative will include the joint production of a series of 40 five-minute videos on Malaysia’s tourist offerings.
Siew also said the Smart Tourism 4.0 platform by Tencent is expected to be launched around July and August this year.
“This is very important for some of you (retailers) because it will set up an incubation centre for the local partners,” he said.
Siew said Tencent will provide the brand, technology and reach into China’s market for Malaysian businesses, while the Tourism Malaysia will provide the facilities in return.
He added that a lot of Malaysian start-ups can benefit from the initiative as it is also a major project for the industry with millions of jobs to be created with the establishment of the ecosystem.
Smart Tourism 4.0 initiative is expected to increase Malaysia’s tourism revenue by fourfold, from RM96.6 billion to RM425.04 billion by 2030.
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said in a recent report that such an initiative would be game changer that could carry the industry forward.
“The world is now undergoing the so-called fourth industrial revolution, which will see growth being driven by huge amounts of data exchange, advancements in technology and the development of hightech interfaces.
“For the tourism industry, this will have a huge impact on how people travel and in this new demanding environment, tourism-related businesses must either transform the way they operate or lose out on opportunities,” Nazri said at the launch of Malaysia Smart Tourism 4.0 earlier this month.
He added that now was the time for the country to leverage on the changing environment as the global outbound tourists number is expected to reach 1.8 billion people by 2030.
Nazri said a huge portion of that number will be tourists from China.
In addition, some 200 million tourists from China are expected to make outbound trips by 2020.
The minister said: “The future of the industry rests upon platforms such as Malaysia Smart Tourism 4.0, where every part of traveller’s journey automatically connects through technology. The Malaysia travel industry must change now to keep pace with the digital age.”
He added that this means, higher income revenue for the national economy, the creation of more job opportunities, the creation of new businesses, a huge opportunity for improved infrastructure and tourism services development and overall economic development.”