Datasonic targets overseas expansion


Malaysian ID firm Datasonic Group plans to aggressively expand its business overseas this year, focusing on Indonesia, West Africa and Middle East as it is confident of the business prospects in these markets, and believes it has more than half a chance of clinching projects tendered.

"Our focus will be on secured identification (ID) business, driving licence and passports," deputy managing director Chew Ben Ben told reporters after Datasonic's 10th annual general meeting today, reported The Edge Markets. "We will not go into foreign countries if the chance of winning the contract is less than 50%. It is not worth the cost spent."

He pointed to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar as some of the potential markets which Datasonic considers to be politically and financially stable.

The second largest shareholder with a 25.33% stake, Chew said Datasonic aims to tender for projects with a profit margin of about 20%.

"We will also bank on the support of a good local partner, while we expect the government there to be a good paymaster. Once secured, we hope that earnings contribution will come in starting from FY20," he added, noting that contracts in foreign countries normally have a long gestation period.

This year, Chew said Datasonic hopes to secure a significant government contract in at least one of the 17 West African countries.

"The contract that we are aiming for is the secured ID Solutions," he said, adding the goal next year is to secure a sizeable immigration-related contract from the Saudi government, which handles more than two million Muslim pilgrims yearly.

"The Saudi government is very impressed with our product offering, particularly with our ability to clear one immigration customer under 15 seconds via our proprietary passport and facial recognition technology, without compromising on the security aspect," he said.

In Indonesia, Datasonic is hoping to secure work to upgrade magnetic bank cards to chip-based cards.

In December 2016, Bank Indonesia announced that the archipelago will be rolling out chip-based technology bank cards by early 2022, which will affect 143 million debit cards and 17 million credit cards currently in circulation, and over 100,000 automated teller machines.

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