05 Mar 2017 11:15:06 PM

Sajith Sivanandan on Growing Google in Malaysia

At the common area of Google Malaysia's 'Gerai Gugel' cafeteria, Sajith Sivanandan stands casual as he speaks to a group of enthusiastic university students. Paying homage to Malaysian culture, the cushioned seats are clad with traditional batik patterns in Google's staple colours. Behind Sajith runs the backdrop of a large TV screen with a feed that displays the week's top trending Google searches in Malaysia.

The students are from Australian and New Zealand universities, home for their semester break, and attending TalentCorp's Semester Break Programme. Eager to speak to the man from the world's most valuable brand in 2016, the Q & A session picks up as the highlight of the event.

As the Managing Director of Google Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines and New Emerging Markets, Sajith is no stranger to sessions like these. He has travelled and worked across Southeast Asia, meeting and speaking with professionals from all levels.
Malaysia as a Second Home
In 2011, Sajith moved to Malaysia with his wife and two sons to start up the Google Malaysia office, hopping over from the causeway from his previous stint as the Head of Sales for Travel in Google Singapore. At that time, his boys were just 3 years old and 7 months old.

"Malaysia is a large part of their childhood and they very much love it here," Sajith said, when we caught up with him after his session with the youths.
We've seen many parts, though not all parts of Malaysia, and we love what we've seen."
Having lived and worked in Malaysia for 6 years, Sajith has watched Malaysia mature and thrive through its recent years of transformative drive.

When Google made the investment for its Malaysia branch, there was only a small handful of people on the team.

"Today we have a fully-fledged staff and office," he says. "We're fully invested."
A Digitally Connected Country

Sajith also spoke on Malaysia’s digital growth especially in mobile, saying that today, 65% of YouTube watch time in Malaysia is done through mobile devices. In comparison, 6 years ago, the mobile views were next to nothing. He tells us:
80% of the Malaysian people are probably online. So, it's critical that we are in the market serving our partners."
Going on to explain that the Google Malaysia branch serves as a business office, focused on educating businesses on how to connect to their customers through Google's expansive offerings.
Sajith is excited about the prospects Malaysia has in store.

"You have got great infrastructure, is online first, relatively affluent, has great quality of living, and has much promise ahead of it," he said.
For all of those reasons, it's a great place to be."


Sajith Sivanandan is the Managing Director of Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines and New Emerging Markets at Google. He has been living and working in Malaysia for 6 years now, and is a Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T) holder.

The RP-T offers expatriates the ability to work and live in Malaysia for up to 10 years. It also provides flexibility in employment and is extended to spouses and children (below 18 years of age). Connect with us to find out more.