macXcess Interviews Apple Malaysia’s Head Honcho
by Verne
2001-08-24

macXcess had the privilege to interview the General Manager of Apple Computer Systems (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Mr V.S. Lingam yesterday, via email. Malaysia has a considerably small although close-knit community of Mac users. The purpose of the interview is really to enquire more about Apple’s activities in Malaysia on the whole, for the benefit of Malaysian readers. Though a thousand miles away, I never forget my roots! The interview went like this:

Hello Lingam, It’s a pleasure to have a chance to talk with the head honcho of Apple Computers Systems (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd. I will try to be as uncontroversial as I can, avoiding sensitive questions like numbers!

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First thing’s first, what is Apple Malaysia up to these days?
We are basically going to the basics and that is :

Focus in building our presence and image in the markets we focus in which is essentially Creative, Education, Consumer and SME.
Focus on the coverage of the nation through our channels, the quality of our channels and also the industries they focus on.
Coverage and quality of our support capability throughout Malaysia.
On your personal opinion, what is the current installed base of Macintosh users in Malaysia?
Rather not comment.

Has it increased over the years?
Yes it has certainly.

Due to the comparatively small (but relevant) market, will we ever see a major Apple event e.g an Apple-Expo or a Macworld in Malaysia?
We will certainly see some major events in Malaysia. We have ahd some big events/seminars in Malaysia for quite sometime.

With the downturn of the PC market which will undoubtedly hurt Apple as well, what are the steps Apple Malaysia is taking to elevate interest and boost sales in the local market?
We are very aggressive with our special offers. New product announcements make the Mac a much more interesting product for users especially for desktop movie-making, music and the internet. It also complements the digital lifestyle (in line with Apple’s ‘digital hub’ strategy).

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Will we see more Apple presence through events and promotions? Yes you will definitely more presence of Apple.

More presence in the media perhaps? More attractive bargains for the budget-conscious?
Yes.

Education has been a primary area where Apple has traditionally excelled in, and the numbers speak for themselves despite certain data survey companies citing otherwise. What is the current situation in Malaysia? How are Macs faring in schools locally?
We’ve major progress and we have many new Mac Users in Malaysia. Some new institutions using Macs are Kolej Damansara Utama (KDU), Informatics and Cosmopoint. (these are established colleges in Malaysia offering under-graduate and post-graduate courses ranging from business to technology, graphic design to publishing).

The publishing industry has been and still is one of Apple’s biggest strengths. Are we seeing publishing houses, advertising agencies, production houses and other publishing companies adopting Apple solutions, hardware and software on a larger scale, with the impressive barrage of software/hardware available now compared to, let’s say 5 years ago?
Yes, certainly and that explains our revenue growth. We are probably the one of the few IT companies that is still showing a positive growth in Malaysia.

Are the new Quicksilver Macs flying off the shelves, so to speak? Absolutely, and we are still catching up on backlog.

And has the over-demand (or rather under-supply) of the popular iBooks been solved?
No, we still have some catching up to do. Demand has simply been tremendous.

Apple’s retail strategy in the States has been successful so far, although worrying certain resellers. Will we ever see an Apple Retail Store in Malaysia, you reckon?
No there is no need for that as we have Apple centres that serve the purpose of the Apple retail Outlets.

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And although online purchasing is not as wide-spread where local online businesses are concerned, will Malaysia ever have an online Apple Store, like other Asian counterparts?
When the online purchase capability justifies, we will certainly have an online store.

On the local reseller front, what are the current number of resellers/distributors (including AppleCenters)?
We currently have 7 Applecentres and 50+ VARs.

Coming to the question of the operating system that will revolutionise computing – Mac OS X. How is the adoption of Mac OS X in Malaysia? How has response been?
Reasonably promising. However many of the killer applications are just about coming and that is when we expect a boom. Killer applications such as : Office for Mac, Maya, Adobe and Macromedia products.

Last but not least, the enterprise market has never been a key market for Apple. With Mac OS X Server, will we see Apple pushing solutions to the business market in the future?
We will remain focused on the 4 major markets (Creative, Education, Consumer and Small Medium Enterprises)that plays into our strengths.

Thanks for your time, Lingam!

All’s well that ends well. From the interview, Malaysian Mac users can expect more activities and presence from Apple in the coming weeks and months.

If you have any queries about Apple and Macs, contact:
Apple Computer Systems Malaysia Sdn Bhd
VS Lingam – General Manager
Suite C-09-01, Block C,
Plaza Mont Kiara
No. 2 Jalan 1/70C,
Mont Kiara 50480
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (603) 6203 4361
Fax: (603) 6203 4364
Email address : [email protected]
For the benefit of all Malaysian Mac users, macXcess dug up some info on the current resellers, AppleCenters and service providers in and around the country.
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