By Cecelia Alphonsus
CEO Liew Choon Lian’s MDT Innovations is one of the fastest growing tech companies in the region
SUNWAY – MDT Innovations is one of Asia’s top 25 IoT companies currently earning RM200 million in revenue of which 95% is export driven. The company, since it ventured into RFID (radio frequency identification) and the wireless sensor market in 2005 has grown its revenue from RM1 million to RM10 million, then onwards to RM100 million to where it stands today at double that figure. CEO Liew Choon Lian hopes the upward revenue trajectory will hit RM1 billion by 2025.
When other tech start-ups were feeling the bite of the economic downturn, MDT Innovations wasn’t feeling the pinch as according to Liew they have consistently ploughed 10 to 15 percent of their revenue into Research and Development to stay ahead of the market.
“Overseas markets are more receptive to new technology and have bigger budgets so it is easier to penetrate compared to focusing on the local market.”
“China alone has tremendous purchasing power and high new technology adoption rate,” says Liew.
According to Liew, they have dedicated their research works to the development of IoT components as well as enabling the seamless integration of auto-identification, information and communication technologies to ensure that their products are more creative and future needs driven.
To date, their products have established markets in the United States, Japan, China, Indonesia, India, Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, the Middle East, some ASEAN countries as well as South Africa.
Liew, who was recently nominated OP of the Year by the alumni of the Royal Military College exemplifies the school’s motto “Serve to Lead” in the way he strategically manages the growth of MDT Innovations.
His corporate mission is “to ensure each and every one his staff become millionaires.” This is what drives him to innovate new technology and why R&D and Intellectual Property are at the core of the company.
Judging by the number of awards and accolades they have garnered; the strategy appears to be paying off. MDT Innovations created history when they emerged 12th in Deloitte’s Fast 500 Asia Pacific 2011listing, the highest ranking an ASEAN company has ever achieved. They also swept 10 Asia Pacific ICT awards between 2006 and 2013 and not to mention two Prime Minister Best of the Best awards in 2007 and 2013. It doesn’t end there, in 2008 they hooked the Red Herring Asia 100 Award and the following year tackled the Red Herring Global 100 award and won. MDT Innovations also consecutively swiped the Best Brand Asia and Best Employer Awards four years in a row from 2014 to 2017. In 2016, MDT Innovations found itself alongside the big names in tech when they were chosen by Internet of Things (IoT) Business Platform Asia to be among one of the top 5 vendors behind Microsoft, IBM, Google MDT and Cisco.
Without a doubt MDT Innovations is truly a Malaysia Boleh company that has soared in the global market as a pioneer enabler in IoT technology and systems applications in the region.
It is easy to see why as Liew comes across as a very smart and vibrant man who is continuously thinking about the future and how to anticipate next generation needs. The wealth of experience he has acquired working overseas, certainly holds him in good stead as he applies the same working culture he was exposed to in Japan and the US to his team here in Malaysia.
The global working standards of the company is apparent as earlier this year, MDT Innovations was selected as one of the top 25 companies in APAC and a few months ago cinched the Frost & Sullivan IoT Company for 2018.
Soft-spoken, humble but with a great sense of humour, Liew isn’t one to blow his own horn. During the interview, he left his colleagues to share about his past experiences before adding one or two vital details about himself. After graduating, Liew worked in Manhattan for five years with Fuji-Keizai USA. He went on to become a successful industry analyst and strategic consultant in New York, San Jose and Tokyo, working for corporations like NTT, Panasonic and NEC before being appointed as the General Manager of Worldwide Operation at Matsushita (Panasonic) Corporation, based in Fujisawa. In the early nineties, not many people would have known that our very own Malaysian was a top market analyst that was involved in the success of the then Palm Pilot and Zaurus working alongside the likes of Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky from Palm Computing and Maeda of Sharp Corporation.
It was when Liew was involved with Matsushita Display Monitor Division that he brought the embedded design and manufacturing technologies to Malaysia, making it a hub for analyses, design, sourcing and procurement of key components of flat-panel displays, wireless communication technologies and RFID.
SERVE TO LEAD
MDT Innovations now specializes in IoT smart devices design particularly wireless sensor gateway, active RFID tag and NFC in SIM card solutions. They also focus on IoT application development, system implementation and project management as well as providing software and hardware for multi-platform systems. Key business activities include IoT embedded systems as well as providing turnkey application solutions for the systems.
A few examples of flagship applications include Industry 4.0 – Work in Progress Tracking, LINOTAG Connected Apparel Suite where yarn was adopted as Wireless Antenna in Apparel and Smart Trolley to connect and control trolleys wirelessly. Coles Australia is currently using this system to trace, track and provide relevant analytics within the supermarkets and its chains. Others include Automated Vehicle Management System, SchoolTrac School Surveillance and Security System, People-Asset-Analytics and Intelligent Impact Monitoring.
It is clear that their innovative spirit is certainly leading the way in serving the community, industries and even countries. However, Liew is not resting on his laurels as yet as in order to scale up the business to hit the target of RM1 billion revenue in 2025, the company is looking at strategic partnerships and even an IPO to turn things up a notch.
This budak boy, as alumni of RMC are fondly called has certainly come a long way in serving to lead not just nationally but globally.