Many years ago, my grandfather and his siblings, seven out of nine of them left Kinmen to seek a better future for their next generations. One of the most important legacies they gave us is the prime importance of education. I always enjoy speaking to university students like you. You are open-minded receptive young minds with so much to live for, dreams to pursue and ambitions to fulfil.
However, many of you already know that the world today is in bad shape. There are upheavals and uncertainties at every level of politics, economics and society. I certainly don't blame you if you are concerned for your futures. Globally and locally, it looks as if the global economic crises from 2008 have opened the Pandora's Box, bringing forth turbulence and uncertainties in unprecedented scale.
It is the long standing inflexibilities within political and economic systems and practices that have plunged the world to where we are today. Especially, the failure of governments, markets and businesses to adapt to changing times, as well as to implement strategies to move forward.
This inflexibility is caused by what I call the monopoly economic model, which is prevalent in our world today. Many businesses grow very fat by monopolising resources, technology and intellectual capital.
When products and services are monopolised, businesses could charge high prices. For example, food prices are very expensive. The heavy costs invariably rest upon customers and users. In many cases, we have low prices on many products and services. But only because they are subsidised by governments. What the collapsed Greek economy shows is the follies of any government heavily subsidising a few industries at the expense of the whole nation.
However, I am here this morning to champion the abundance model, which is a radically different paradigm and approach. It is responsible, practical and champions the common good. By making resources, technology and intellectual capital, including access to these things abundantly available, we create an ecosystem that sparks business ventures, promotes competitive growth and nurtures business entrepreneurship.
The internet has endless wealth of information and opportunities. And undoubtedly, it is the most powerful example of abundance in our world today. The world is saddened by the death of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple. But at his death, Apple is valued more than Exxon Mobil an energy company. And we know that energy companies were traditionally monopolies.
What powers technology companies like Apple and Google is the internet. And because in America, there was and is no censorship of the internet, it spawned the silicon valleys and brought massive economic development.
Let me also highlight Google Android. Some years ago, Google spent a lot of money to invest in the Android Operating System for mobile phones. Or Andy's droid. They made it an 'Open System', unlike Apple's iOS or Nokia's Symbian OS. Because Google does not make their profits from devices. Also, by opening up the android operating system to everyone, Google has given all of us the chance to innovate and come up with exciting Apps or applications for mobile phones. Apps are basically gateways to the wealth of knowledge and information within the World Wide Web.
But what this also means is that the internet breeds flexibility both in terms of marketing, as well as the delivery of one's products and services. But don't think competition is not good for the companies that offer the resources, technology or intellectual capital.
Google made the android system an open system. And last week, they announced a 26% increase in third quarter revenue, amidst the worst economic mess and downturn. They have benefitted in so many ways through the abundance model.
This is also why in early February, Nokia's CEO admitted that the company was in trouble. Nokia's market share of the smartphone business had been overtaken by Google because Google Android System had "innovation at its core" with its open system. Nokia's own Symbian Operating System could not compare with Google Android in terms of experience, which is backed up by an entire ecosystem, and they have also failed to put their innovative ideas in the market fast enough.
Just look at the internet again. Not everyone is happy with it. Governments have tried everything possible to shut it down and there are not many countries where there is a non-censorship of the internet.
But even in China where there is censorship and limited internet, the Baidus, Alibabas have spawned. Alibabas market capitalisation is huge and growing. Can we imagine if there isnt internet censorship in China?
In the 1990s, together with a group of people, we persuaded the visionary ex-PM, not to censor the internet in Malaysia and he agreed. And this commitment has since been reaffirmed by the current PM.
And because of this pledge, Malaysia now has the first and fastest nationwide 4G mobile internet network in the world. In Malaysia, we have brought the very best experts in 4G ecosystem to create not only this network and increase our national broadband penetration, but we intend to spearhead this 4G ecosystem and hopefully across the region. Ladies and gentlemen, the abundance model works. Our 4G mobile internet attests to this.
But of course, with 0 & 1, everything once stored in huge computers the height of Empire State Building can now be squeezed into tiny 'mobile' devices like smartphones, iPads and mobile tablets. What Steve Jobs calls 'Post- PCs'. And of course, to put a library in your smartphone whenever and wherever, you need serious mobile bandwidth. The smartphone is only as smart as its network.
Malaysia now has the worlds first nationwide mobile internet network that could truly power chunks of information into smart mobile devices. YES 4G is the worlds smartest mobile internet network with voice by all accounts.
That is also why, I am very keen to see here in the land of my fathers', that Taiwan also goes for 4G. This country already leads the way with technological development, with some of the best ICT companies of the world. Yet, as my friend in HTC bemoans, 4G has yet to take off in this country. You all must ask and encourage your government to head that way. So that throughout Taiwan, you could be a true mobile Internet giant, and be a leader in the next generation of Facebooks, Googles, HTCs and more.
But as your country is next door to Mainland China, it is also a distinct advantage that you quickly lead the way in 4G. As I showed you earlier, the world has been taken over by the binary language of 0 & 1. This is a message that China has embraced. This year, there has already been more internet- related business registered in China than non-Internet related businesses. We also know that there are so many more opportunities for Mainland China to move forward in the Internet world. Of course the internet is much feared by various political leaders. But the Internet is also a powerful tool for business and solving many social ills.
And if we have the right DNA, as I would advocate, there will be responsible usage of this powerful tool of abundance. You won't abuse it as some would. We mean to be a force for good and we persevere in bringing positive change through what we do. I believe God will reward us for this and I thank God, this is what He has done for YTL.
Please join me in this revolution for good. Your generation and my children's generation have the best opportunity to make my hopes come true.
Thank you and God bless all of you.
Speech by Tan Sri Dr Francis Yeoh
Managing Director of YTL Corporation Berhad
At National Quemoy University, Kinmen,Taiwan.
17 October 2011