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Growing Call Centers in Malaysia

The Malaysian call centre industry has seen considerable growth over the past decade; Telekom Malaysia ran the only operational call centre in the country 10 years ago and now there are over 575 call canters throughout the country employing an estimated 12,000 people. Such a trend reflects the growing importance of the services sector. It is also a clear manifestation of the changing economic structure of the Malaysian economy. Without doubt the growth of the call centre industry has also added a new form of employment opportunity to Malaysians. Of those organizations’ operating call centre, 48% have been doing so for at least 7 years. However, the market continues to grow, with 34% operating for less than 4 years, including 7% that have entered the market in the past 12 months.

Based on research carried out by, over the next 12 months seat growth is predicted to be healthy in Malaysia where it is estimated that the number of seats will rise approximately 15% to 13,750.

It was only recently, in 1999, that the Call Centre Association of Malaysia (CCAM) was founded and in line with the subsequent growth in the industry it continues to withhold their objectives: to develop and promote service standards in the customer service industry and provide a platform for members to achieve accreditation within the industry and to promote the development of programmers’ to assist members in the growth of the call centre sector, thus making Malaysia the regional hub for the call centre industry in the region.

Part of the success of the country’s ability to steal a larger proportion of the available call centre work in the Asia Pacific region lies in its multicultural population which can support more that just the English language; India with its large English speaking population has been the site favored by US-based companies and the Philippines in the region has slowly emerged as another centre because of the dominant use of American English. However, Malaysia has advantages in other areas. While India and the Philippines can offer English language support, Malaysia has the multicultural edge in that it can offer services in multiple Asian languages; for example, Scion’s centre in Kuala Lumpur offers 10 native languages.