Media News

5th April 2024 - Becoming A Global Champion
ViTrox Corp Bhd president and group CEO Chu Jenn Weng believes to be a global champion, an entrepreneur needs a few things. First, is the mindset. You must have the belief that you can.

WHAT does it take for a Malaysian company to become a global champion?

In my opinion, Vitrox Corporation Bhd is yet to be a global champion as we are a small company on a global scale. We started the company in 2000 with only about RM20,000, and although today ViTrox is worth about RM7 billion, when we convert it into US dollars, the figure is nothing compared to global tech giants.

So what would it take to be a global-leading company, especially in the semiconductor industry?

Our journey at ViTrox has not been easy. What led us to the dream of building a technology company was a trip to Silicon Valley in 1995.

I stopped by the HP Garage and realised that two Stanford University graduates built a technology company, Hewlett-Packard Co, from a garage, which went on to become one of the greatest technology companies at that time.

I wondered, why Malaysian graduates cannot do the same? Our Malaysian graduates are as good as other nations’ graduates!

So, with that belief, we created a compelling vision, ViTrox, so that hopefully, one day, Malaysians don’t always have to work for foreign companies on home soil. We were naive and crazy enough to make that happen.

Now a world-leading vision inspection company, ViTrox has successfully expanded its business to 44 countries, serving around 300-plus Tier 1 and Tier 2, EMS (electronics manufacturing service) , OSAT (outsourced semiconductor assembly and test), CM (contract manufacturing) and IDM (Integrated Device Manufacturer) companies including Motorola, Intel etc.

I believe to be a global champion, an entrepreneur needs a few things. First, is the mindset. You must have the belief that you can.

Unfortunately, a lot of Malaysians don’t have that mindset. They wait for the government, they wait for “godfather” to help. We need to change this first.

Second, you need to have a compelling vision, and third is about execution. To execute your vision, each company needs to have a competitive advantage where three things are important:

- Your product has to be focused on customers. Build what customers really want and are willing to pay.

- You must be able to get the right people. Talent is the biggest challenge for local companies where you have to fight hard against multinational companies (MNCs) which invest billions of dollars, taking away the brightest brains in the country.

- The third important thing is culture. Your company must have a compelling work culture that is able to attract the right talent to work together to grow a small SME into a global champion.

Attracting talent

Talent is a critical factor in becoming a global champion. Every country right now is facing talent scarcity.

Our best and brightest are working in Singapore or for MNCs that offer them lucrative pay packages. How can a local SME compete to get the top talents in order to become a global champion? We need to sort out this problem.

But ViTrox started from the “bedroom” with almost nothing. This shows that an SME can still create a compelling vision and attract a small percentage of Malaysia’s top talents who believe in having a “crazy” dream and are willing to work hard inside the “bedroom” to achieve it.

Now ViTrox employs about 1,000 employees, and about 75% of our ViTroxians hold an engineering or science degree. We design and build our own automated vision inspection equipment and advanced x-ray inspection equipment, serving the middle and back-end semiconductor manufacturing industry, as well as the electrical & electronics industry.

We need talented people, and hopefully, the government can help cultivate that kind of “can-do” attitude and bring back more Malaysian talents from overseas or big MNCs to start their own companies. This will give us hope of having our own global champion in the future.

Factory automation golden opportunity

One thing that I observed is that the Chinese government will spend a lot of money to invite MNCs such as Apple and Tesla to come and build factories, but with the condition that they must build the local content. If the local company doesn’t have the competency, China will throw in money to ensure the SMEs will deve- lop the competency to build the supply chain to support the MNCs for longevity.

We need to do something similar. If we just invite MNCs and FDIs to come here without developing local content, and without making local SMEs part of the supply chain, this is not sustainable. We will not be able to create a global champion like China’s BYD.

We do have the potential. If we look at the top 10 technology companies listed on Bursa Malaysia related to automation and equipment technology, their combined market cap in 2010 was about RM300mil. Fast forward to 2022, these top 10 companies’ market cap is almost RM35bil, a growth of about 100 times.

I think how to develop Malaysian companies into global champions is about positioning.

We cannot compete with China, Taiwan or the US with their larger customer base and established giants, but what we can do is position our companies to deliver complementary products and services.

I think Malaysia have a strong competency and ecosystem in technology equipment and factory automation over the last 20 years, from machine vision, embedded electronics, fabrication, robotics and automation to artificial intelligence (AI).

This will support many other industries and presents a golden opportunity that Malaysian companies should seize, especially in the emerging era of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) and AI boom, we can design, create and manufacture the I4.0 hardware and software factory automation solution for local SMEs and MNCs, as well as to export them globally.

sourced from: The Star