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Smarten Asia To Open APAC R&D Center In Cyberjaya

Customer care and IP billing solutions provider Smarten is currently setting up its Asia Pacific R&D center in Malaysia's Cyberjaya technology hub in the Kuala Lumpur vicinity to focus on developing billing solutions for the telecom industry, and providing information and communications technology (ICT) training for fresh college graduates.

Malaysia was chosen to host the Italy-based company's regional R&D center because the country is a strategic entry point into the Asia Pacific telecommunications market, said Datuk Eugene Campos, chairman of Smarten Asia Sdn. Bhd. Smarten considers Kuala Lumpur as the new capital of high-tech business as it is within easy traveling distance to other technology hotspots such as Japan, India, Singapore and Hong Kong, he added.

Expected to be operational by mid-2002, the R&D center will initiate software development activities such as the localization of Smarten's solutions for the Chinese and Japanese markets.

The company had recently launched an office in Kuala Lumpur in line with its expansion into Asia. Responsible for generating sales and providing professional services and post-implementation technical support for Smarten's billing solutions, the new office will create 100 jobs by next year, said Angus Campos, Smarten Asia's director of operations. "Smarten Asia has invested extensively in acquiring talents and we will continue to expand by adding headcount as the demand requires," he said.

The KL office will also be tasked with providing localized support for future offices in Asia such as in China, Japan and India.

Said Claudio Vacarella, Smarten's founder and chief executive officer, "Malaysia's stable government, its history of cooperation with European companies, and its commitment to building new technologies are key factors in our decision to establish the Asia Pacific operations in Kuala Lumpur."

Smarten Asia is currently in negotiations with Malaysia's telecommunication operators, potential local partners and systems integrators to form partnerships to enhance its local industry knowledge and ability to integrate into the market. The company also plans to form joint initiatives with local universities to offer on-the-job training to graduates as part of its plan to boost its local human resources.

Added Eugene Campos, "Smarten Asia is targeting a regional market with more than two billion fixed-line and mobile phone users. We are confident of doing well in the local and regional market, with potential clients such as Maxis, Celcom and DiGi."

The Asian operation expects to secure US$3 million in local business dealings in its first year, and to increase this revenue figure two-fold the following year.



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