When Dave McClure, a venture capital investor from Silicon Valley, spoke at an internet entrepreneurs’ club in China last week, he had a lot of praise for his hosts.
“Chinese entrepreneurs are most likely smarter and more aggressive than [those] in the US,” he told the audience. “Beijing is one of the few places in the world where the pace of innovation is faster than in Silicon Valley.”
But in China, the recent mood has been more sober. The death of Apple founder Steve Jobs this month triggered rounds of soul-searching over why the country lacks technology entrepreneurs as successful as Mr Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, who came up with products that changed the world.
“Chinese companies can be expected to have market valuations and business models like Apple’s within ten years but it is difficult to expect any type of Apple-like innovation,” says Lee Kaifu, the former head of Google China who, with his incubator Innovation Works, has become a guru for internet start-ups in China.
Although the number of Chinese internet users – now at 500m – has overtaken the population of the European Union and that growth keeps hatching new internet ventures everyday, most of these copy ideas from the US.
To name the best-known examples, Baidu, China’s largest search engine by revenue, is a copy of Google, while RenRen, China’s largest real-name social network, was modelled on Facebook. China is estimated to have as many as 5,000 clones of Groupon, the US daily deals site.
That is not because the founders lack creativity, they themselves argue. “The reason you set up a business is that you want to solve a certain problem or need you see around you,” says Gong Yu, a veteran internet entrepreneur and chief executive of Qiyi, the internet video site owned by Baidu.
“But China’s internet is just so many years behind that of the US, so internet entrepreneurs in the US will inevitably encounter many problems and needs first.”
Many Chinese web business founders agree. “It’s not about being smart but about being there first, just like gathering mushrooms,” says Wang Xing, founder and chief executive of Meituan, one of China’s first Groupon copies and the country’s most prolific internet business closer.
Mr Wang has been billed “the Mark Zuckerberg of China”, mainly because he followed Facebook, founded in 2004, with what is now RenRen, a similar site launched in 2005 as Xiaonei, or On Campus. Less than a year later, he sold that business for less than $4m to Oak Pacific Interactive, the company which took it public this year. RenRen is now valued at $2.25bn.
“I studied computer networks, therefore I have an understanding for social networks, it’s the same pattern,” he says. But when he made that connection, Friendster and Facebook were already there.
Mr Wang is not apologetic. He believes that Chinese consumers are not yet mature enough in terms of income and tastes to need revolutionary new internet products.
“When consumption develops, there are three phases,” he says. “The first is focused on quantity, providing enough to meet demand, the second on securing product quality, and only during the third will people start developing tastes. On the internet in China, we’re still very much in the second phase.”
Experts observe that, given China’s vast market, it is natural to exploit easy business opportunities first. “In the US, entrepreneurs have to be innovative to find market opportunity,” says Mr McClure. “If you live in a country with a population of 1.3bn and you see an idea that works, it would be foolish not to copy.”
This extremely pragmatic mindset is a common trait among most Chinese internet entrepreneurs. “Many start-up founders in the US start out with a technological idea they want to realise, and don’t worry about money until much later,” says Chen Tao, a partner for China at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants.
“In China, it’s the other way round. Monetisation comes first, innovation comes later.”
The biographies of many Chinese internet entrepreneurs reflect this more conservative outlook. Very few are university dropouts like many of their US counterparts. Most have much more industry experience before they start their own business than their American peers.
Robin Li worked as a software engineer for a division of Dow Jones and for Infoseek, an early US web search engine, before setting up Baidu in 2000. Jack Ma lectured at university on international trade and headed an IT company set up by a unit of the foreign trade ministry before he founded Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce company by revenue, users and transaction value in 1999.
At Qiyi, Mr Gong’s background is similar. “Although I knew already in university that I very much wanted to set up a business, I didn’t feel ready,” he recalls. So he first went to work as a software development and maintenance engineer at Itochu, the Japanese trading company, and later helped set up the China unit for a company founded by a friend in the US before he dared to start his first own venture, the online portal focus.cn.
“On the first day, the office was completely empty – it was just me,” he says, recalling how unfamiliar and slightly fearful he felt.
There was no long tradition of entrepreneurship in the People’s Republic of China when the country’s first internet companies were set up. Capitalism was new, and the internet even newer. The resulting caution can be seen among the investors who back the sector, as well as its entrepreneurs.
Lei Jun, China’s most prominent homegrown angel investor, only backs the companies of friends or friends of friends, and prefers serial entrepreneurs because the chances of success increase over time. Mr Lei has invested in less than 20 companies such as Vancl, an online clothing retailer, and Keniu, a security software maker.
But foreign venture capitalists and stock market investors, a far larger source of funding for Chinese technology start-ups, follow similar principles. The rise of the thousands of Groupon clones in China has been fuelled by a wave of venture capital money from the US.
Benjamin Joffe, chief executive of Plus Eight Star, a digital strategy consultancy, says: “Investors love to recognise something they know.”
If there is anything Chinese internet users are as passionate about as stealing cabbages in social games such as Happy Farm, it is the debate about who came up with the idea for such games in the first place.
“It was not [US company] Zynga who invented farm games – those were around in China first,” says Li Shanyou, the founder of Ku6, one of China’s leading internet video sites, who now heads the centre for entrepreneurship and investment at China Europe International Business School in Shanghai.
Although the incessant cloning of foreign internet sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Groupon in China have given Chinese entrepreneurs a bad name as mere copycats, there are cases where China was early or first in developing certain internet products or business models.
Farming games are the most-cited example because 5 Minutes, a Chinese game company, completed development of Happy Farm in May 2008, well before the start of Farmville, Zynga’s equivalent in the US.
But there are several other cases where Chinese internet entrepreneurs did not follow a US lead.
Sina Weibo, China’s leading microblogging site which was seen as a Twitter clone when it started, has now transformed into a service combining a microblog and a social network. It has many features Twitter does not have, for example allowing users to watch videos inside a post.
Baidu, China’s largest search engine by revenues, pioneered Tieba, a social network where people can form discussion groups based on search queries they have in common.
Tencent, the company that operates QQ, the world’s largest instant messaging service, came up with QQ Groups, a service that allows users to form message groups, something that did not exist in the west at the time. Taobao, China’s largest consumer e-commerce company, set up an instant messaging service before Ebay acquired such capabilities by buying Skype in 2005.
Chinese executives cite YY, a completely voice-based instant messaging tool, and UCWeb, the independent mobile browser, as further examples of China-first innovation.
But none of these have created a stir beyond China’s borders on the scale of Facebook or Twitter – mainly because the innovations were not as far-reaching or disruptive.
“Chinese internet entrepreneurs are particularly strong in micro-innovation – tweaking existing models to fit the needs and habits of consumers in this market,” says Mr Li.
Industry experts believe that will not change until China’s internet has become much more mature. “I think there will be a window of at least another ten years for building internet businesses based on ideas copied from the US ,” says Gong Yu, chief executive of Qiyi, the online video site owned by Baidu.
Chinese executives believe the area most likely to spawn major innovation will be the mobile internet because Chinese web users are going mobile much earlier than their American counterparts. Says Mr Gong: “If anywhere, this is where China will come up with something really different.”
Mr Lee Tzu Yang, chairman of Shell companies in Singapore, on his way to catch a ferry to Pulau Bukom. He said the fire was his most challenging battle with safety since joining the oil giant in 1979. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA
By Robin Chan
For 32 hours last month, Singaporeans watched with rapt attention as a fire burned on an island 5km off the southern shore of Singapore.
While firefighters battled to contain the conflagration at Shell's Pulau Bukom refinery, an eight-man strong crisis team huddled inside a room at Shell's headquarters on 83 Clemenceau Avenue, miles away from the action. Heading this team was Mr Lee Tzu Yang, the 56-year-old chairman of Shell companies in Singapore.
For the man facing the largest refinery fire in Singapore for more than 20 years, the pressure was on. There was a hint of irony too in the situation - Mr Lee is also the chairman of Singapore's Workplace Safety and Health Council. But if the heat was on him, one would have been hard-pressed to see it.
Shell chairman takes leave from workplace safety council
Shell Singapore chairman Lee Tzu Yang, who also helms the Workplace Safety and Health Council, took a temporary leave of absence from the industry body last Monday.
He told The Sunday Times that the move was to avoid any conflicts of interest as the inquiry into the cause of the Pulau Bukom fire gets under way.
'I wanted to make absolutely clear from the beginning that I do not seek to, and will not, have any influence whatsoever on the investigation, and Shell will fully cooperate,' said Mr Lee.
'This leave of absence will also enable me to better focus on Shell's recovery efforts.'
The blaze, which engulfed a pump house at the oil giant's half-a-million barrel-a-day refinery on Pulau Bukom, burned for 32 hours two weeks ago. As a result, parts of the refinery - Shell's largest in the world - have been temporarily shut down.
Investigations by the Ministry of Manpower and Singapore Civil Defence Force are still ongoing.
Mr Lee said he is confident Shell will take the lessons learnt from the fire in its stride and be the better for it.
'Safety is too important for us to shrink from the responsibility to make this message heard,' he said. 'If we do not step up to this, we will not succeed in making Singapore a leader for safety and health in the workplace.'
The 18-member council was established in 2008 to help raise workplace safety and health standards among local industry players.
The Manpower Ministry said yesterday that Maritime Sustainability chief executive Heng Chiang Gnee will be acting chairman of the council.
Shell's response to the crisis turned out to be so slick and well-oiled that Mr Lee said he did not have trouble sleeping about four or five hours each night, and did not even need to set foot on the island until the fire went out on Sept 29.
Speaking to The Sunday Times in an exclusive interview eight days after the incident, Mr Lee - dressed in a navy blue protective jumpsuit (known as personal protective equipment) on his way to Pulau Bukom - cut a cool figure as he shared his thoughts on his 'most challenging' battle with safety since joining the oil giant in 1979.
It started with a phone call at about 1.45pm on Sept 28.
On the line was Mr Martijn van Koten, vice-president for Shell's manufacturing operations, who said a fire had broken out at Pump House 43 - an area containing an intimidating network of pipes carrying gasoline, kerosene and other expensive refined oil products.
That first conversation was deliberately short.
'In a fire, the protocol is to let the folk at the fire fight the fire and not burden them with questions. Because that's not going to help them,' Mr Lee said.
Forty-five minutes later, he got another call telling him that the fire was being contained by Shell's own 40-man strong firefighting team, which was eventually boosted by some 100 personnel from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
At the site, safety mechanisms had also clicked into place.
First, automatic pumps were activated, spreading foam on the fire.
A drainage system around the pump house area also kicked into gear, pumping any run-off liquids out, away from the fire and pipes.
The fact that all these systems worked was a big relief for Shell, and they played a significant part in helping to keep the gigantic inferno to a contained area measuring 176m by 65m.
'These systems are designed for that purpose, but they may not be designed for that amount,' Mr Lee said.
'So we needed to make sure we could handle the volumes of foam, water and hydrocarbons that came through. And it worked, so that was another confidence-builder.'
Meanwhile floating barriers called 'booms' had also been put out as a precautionary measure, along with a boat that kept watch in case any of the chemicals spilled into the sea. But that did not happen.
Firefighting in the office
Mr Dai Nguyen, Shell's health, safety and environment manager, was attending a course on nearby Jurong Island when he heard about the fire through an automated emergency call-out message.
He could already see the huge plumes of smoke from where he was and, as he was a key member of the Emergency Response Team, he rushed back to Bukom to coordinate the site response and link up with the SCDF.
The cool and systematic approach to dealing with the fire came as no surprise to the thousands of staff and contractors who commute to Bukom each day.
Pulau Bukom, a 1.45 sq km mass of land that Shell has occupied since 1891, has 12 islandwide drills a year that specifically include firefighting, and contacting the SCDF in emergencies.
As luck would have it, its most recent exercise last month was its one annual joint exercise with the SCDF.
'These are the sort of things you thank God for after the event, that you have actually practised,' said Mr Lee, a father of three.
The SCDF came well-prepared too, so much so that piles of extra equipment, such as pumps and foam tenders, lined Pasir Panjang ferry terminal.
'They prudently over-responded,' said Mr Lee, smiling. 'You can laugh at it, but at the time, it was a great source of comfort.'
After receiving the second phone call at 2.30pm, there was radio silence from Bukom over the next few hours. Mr Lee hoped that meant the fire was being put out.
But instead he got shocking news that there had been a violent surge at around 6.30pm which damaged three fire trucks.
That was when Mr Lee declared a crisis in order to get more help, and formed a crisis management team at Shell House.
'I activated the office-based staff to start bringing them in and thought, 'OK, this is going to be a long night,'' he said.
'It was not just the people at the site who now needed to be fighting the fire, we needed to, as a company, think about what this might mean.'
Among the team were people in charge of Shell's manufacturing, supply, communications and human resources, and also an overall co-coordinator who would act as Mr Lee's back-up.
By then, Mr Lee had already made a phone call to Shell global chief executive Peter Voser in the Netherlands, who had offered words of support and asked Mr Lee to make sure that no one was being 'overstretched'. Mistakes happen in such circumstances, he had said.
But the more difficult conversation with Mr Voser came a day later, after a second violent surge in the middle of the day dented the spirits of the Shell and SCDF people.
'To have had not one, but two surges, that was quite worrying,' Mr Lee said.
'Some of our people had already been working for 20 to 30 hours straight. So we started to put on shifts and to find alternates. We started to say: 'Okay if this were to take a week, do we have the resources?''
Emerging from trial by fire
As the hours wore on and the fire continued to burn, the weariness and worry started to be clearly apparent on the faces of Shell and SCDF staff at their second media briefing at a temporary tactical HQ at the Pasir Panjang ferry terminal on the night of Sept 29.
The SCDF said it had never seen this kind of a fire, described later as 'complex and multi-dimensional'. And even Shell's experts could not figure out what was actually feeding the fire from the myriad pipelines.
They had decided to fly in Shell's global health, safety and environment consultant Evert Jonker to provide more help.
A weary Mr Lee headed back to the office, planning for another long day of crisis management.
But, just as unexpectedly as he had found out about the fire, he got a call telling him that it had finally been put out, 32 hours after it began.
Looking back, a stoic Mr Lee said he was just relieved that the fire was not bigger, and that no one was seriously injured.
'Fire is one of the things we fear the most and we are most loath to have because hydrocarbons and fire don't mix,' he said.
That the situation did not play out worse had much to do with training and rehearsing, he firmly believes.
'We are in an industry where the implications of taking your eye off the ball are horrendous, so we take safety very seriously in my company,' said Mr Lee.
'We train and train our people. And we tell them this is what we need to do, this is what we need to be ready for. And that even if this happens once every 20 to 25 years, one incident can wipe you out.
'I am still very, very interested in what caused the fire, because that's the other side of the safety angle that we need to pay attention to, but I'm very glad that on this side, we were able to protect people.'
The refinery on Bukom has now reached a stable and safe state, said Mr Lee, after it had been progressively shut down since the start of the fire.
With a key hydrocracker unit shut and others operating at low throughput, the challenge now is to find a way to supply customers with the petrochemical products they had ordered.
A dedicated safety study has been performed for all units adjacent to the incident site, which has confirmed that they are not damaged.
'We can confirm that some operations have continued and some operations will resume at the site but we are unable to comment on operational specifics,' he said.
Shell is now looking at re-connecting the network of lines within the refinery to start up operations without the damaged areas, which are currently under investigation by the Ministry of Manpower and SCDF.
One bone of contention that Shell has had to deal with is the concept of force majeure, which means the company is freed from contractual obligations in the event of extraordinary circumstances.
Although the company declared force majeure on some of its contracts, it does not mean Shell would be walking away from its obligations to its customers.
'It does not imply automatic cessation of supply or even reduction,' said Mr Lee. 'It basically gives notice that the circumstance agreed between buyer and seller in the contract has happened, so we need to re-think and follow the clause.
'We have been in Singapore for 120 years. We wouldn't be here if we didn't take our customers and our obligations seriously.'
Rising from the ashes
After any crisis, it is common for someone at the top to take the blame. But Mr Lee said he has no plans to resign and never felt any pressure to do so over the fire.
'Do I feel personally responsible? There is certainly a sense of responsibility,' he said.
'But I need to understand what I could have done better and I think I rely on the investigation to do that.'
He does let on, however, that he has been turning over in his mind things he could have done 'over the last three years, five years, or 10 years' that could have made a difference in preventing the fire from starting in the first place, or that could have made his people even better prepared.
But that reflection will have to come at a later time.
'My responsibility now is to make sure the company is brought together during this difficult period, make sure the co-operation with the public services goes on well, that the recovery for our customers is well managed and then let the investigation come up with its recommendations,' added Mr Lee.
Shell will go through an internal process of what he called 'causal learning' - looking back at each action that led to the fire 'almost to the point of absurdity'.
'You go back to not only what created the spark, but also what created the atmosphere around it. Was there deficiency in training? Were there things that we could have done differently?'
Before he left to catch his ferry to Bukom, Mr Lee could not help but warn Singaporeans not to be alarmed when Shell eventually starts up its refinery fully again.
'In a start up or shut down, you will always see a bigger flame!' he quipped.
'We don't want the public in Singapore to believe that this is any problem, this is entirely normal. And it is safer to have a bit of a flame than not to have it.'
A fire which is better than no fire? For Shell, clearly not all fires are so bad after all.
The Iskandar Malaysia development zone was launched five years ago, with the aim of boosting Johor's economy by attracting a wide spectrum of investments. As it approaches its fifth anniversary nextmonth, The Straits Times looks at how it's faring.
Aside from the serious business of education and tourist attractions like Legoland, recreational facilities in Nusajaya include a marina and clubhouse in Puteri Harbour. -- ST PHOTOS: CHEW SENG KIM
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Aside from the serious business of education and tourist attractions like Legoland, recreational facilities in Nusajaya include a marina and clubhouse in Puteri Harbour. -- ST PHOTOS: CHEW SENG KIM
Model builder Lee Khai Yuen, 36, putting together a building made from Lego bricks. The Legoland Malaysia theme park will be completed next year.
By Reme Ahmad, Assistant Foreign Editor
NUSAJAYA: Some time next year, frisky American pre-schoolers squealing with delight at the madcap adventures of The Cat In The Hat will join budding doctors and seamen in the education hub that is rapidly taking shape in southern Johor.
EduCity in Nusajaya, a 15-minute drive from the Johor side of the Second Link, has become a popular destination for education providers looking to open new schools and campuses.
Raffles Education Corp, a private Singapore education group, told The Straits Times that when its American school opens next year, it will offer classes starting at kindergarten level all the way up to 12th grade, the equivalent of the GCE A levels.
APART from educational facilities, other big projects coming up include Pinewood Studios, Legoland and an indoor theme park featuring Hello Kitty and other cartoon characters. The expected completion dates of the projects are given in brackets.
Pinewood studios (2013), the same group that produced Johnny English, Batman and Lara Croft, among others, will occupy 32ha of land.
Legoland Malaysia (2012)
An indoor theme park (2012), with attractions that include Hello Kitty Town, Barney and Bob the Builder, will be located by a retail mall.
Johor Premium Outlets mall (to open next month) will have 80 shops offering discounted fare from top brands such as Burberry and Armani.
Traders Hotel, 292 rooms (2012)
Renaissance Hotel, 300 rooms (2014)
Palazzo Hotel and Serviced Suites, 293 rooms (2014)
Gleneagles Hospital, 300 beds, 150 suites (2014)
Columbia Asia Hospital, 82 beds (opened this year)
OFFICES AND COMMERCIAL SPACE
Medini Square, 1.05 million sq ft of office space and retail shops (2013)
Many new projects have been launched by landowners. These include waterfront homes in Danga Bay (by a Malaysian group of the same name), and Senibong Cove by Australia's Walker Corporation.
Temasek Holdings and Malaysian sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional are planning a wellness township.
The flagship zones
MOST reports on Iskandar Malaysia tend to zoom in on Nusajaya - large plots of empty land now being transformed into Legoland, university campuses and residential areas. But Iskandar actually has four other 'flagship zones'.
Johor Baru City zone: The area located just past the Causeway includes the Johor city centre, with its supermarkets, hotels and malls that many Singaporeans often patronise. There is also the Danga Bay waterfront project facing Singapore.
Western Gate Development: The Port of Tanjung Pelepas is found here as well as the 2,100-megawatt Tanjung Bin Power Plant. It also includes Heritage Park with its 9,300 hectares of mangrove park suitable for eco-tourism.
Eastern Gate Development: Site of Johor's key industrial hub that includes Pasir Gudang and Tanjung Langsat industrial parks, the Johor Port and the Tanjung Langsat Port that handles bulk cargo and liquified petroleum gas.
Senai-Skudai zone: Senai airport along with an air cargo and logistics park are its key features. Universiti Teknologi Malaysia is also located here.
Iskandar Malaysia in total covers 2,217 sq km, about three times the size of Singapore. Launched on Nov 4, 2006, it is part of the federal government's strategy to turn Malaysia into a fully developed nation by 2020 by lifting per capita incomes to US$15,000 (S$19,500) from US$6,900 in 2009. Incentives include tax breaks and exemptions from the so-called 'bumiputera rules', allowing foreign investors to own 100 per cent of their businesses.
Apart from the ample land in Nusajaya, one of its key attractions is its proximity to Singapore, where the large number of expatriate families is seen as a potentially lucrative source of revenue. 'There are a few hundred people in the queue for the American school in Singapore,' said Mr Gan Chin Huat, the group's special project director.
To make it more attractive, the group plans to run a shuttle bus service to and from Singapore, as well as offer hostel facilities for older children.
The Raffles group, which has 38 colleges in 14 countries, is one of several foreign education providers that are making Nusajaya the fastest-growing of the five Iskandar zones.
Other players include Britain's Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia and the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS), with plans for a 12ha campus. Marlborough College, the British public school whose alumni include Prince William's wife Catherine Middleton, will open its campus next year.
The sprouting of the schools is in marked contrast to the initial scepticism towards the Iskandar Malaysia project. It was launched along with four other huge 'economic growth corridors', making some observers wonder if there were sufficient investment dollars to make them viable.
And then there was Malaysia's chequered record with mega-projects. Some, like the Entertainment Village and BioValley ventures in Selangor, were ditched after failing to pull in investors.
So, will Iskandar Malaysia meet the same fate?
Five years on, progress in the sprawling and multifaceted economic region has been uneven. The Iskandar region, which covers most of southern Johor, has an area of some 2,200 sq km. Other than Nusajaya, none of the other four 'flagship zones' appears to have created the same buzz or reeled in big foreign entities. It has yet to get a company that's big in business process outsourcing, or the backroom operations of a foreign bank, to come on board.
It is also too early to say whether the newer services being brought in, such as movie-making by Pinewood Studios, and tourist facilities like Legoland would create big demand for skilled labour, said Mr Francis Hutchinson, a visiting fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
'With regard to competition on service quality, Singapore comes out ahead, and with regard to competition on price (such as for call centres), the Philippines will win,' he said. But he added that Johor has always done well with property and manufacturing, and has shown potential in education, health and logistics.
Certainly, there is interest from small and medium-sized industries from Singapore in ventures involving engineering and manufacturing, said Mr Loh Lian Hiang, president of the Johor Baru Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
By February, cumulative investments in factories from Singapore companies stood at RM3.49 billion (S$1.4 billion), compared with RM517.9 million when Iskandar was launched in 2006, officials say. In the last five years, Iskandar has attracted cumulative investments of nearly RM76 billion. Of this, the government's share is RM6.28 billion - or just 8.3 per cent of the total, said the Iskandar Regional Development Authority.
And of the total investments pulled in, 40 per cent 'have already been spent on the ground for the various projects', said the government agency's chief executive Ismail Ibrahim.
'The development of Iskandar Malaysia is private sector-driven. As such, the government sees its role as facilitating and encouraging investment, rather than just injecting it in,' he said.
For those coming in, Iskandar offers the convenience of being near Singapore, minus its higher costs. Crossing into Nusajaya from parts of Singapore via the Second Link would take about the same time as 'going to Jurong or Changi', said Dr R. Theyvendran, MDIS' secretary-general.
The entry of UK-based Pinewood Studios has raised hopes of benefits to downstream industries. Global Capital & Development, a firm majority-owned by Abu Dhabi investment fund Mubadala, wants to set up a 'media village' next to it to be used by related media businesses.
To be sure, the studios will not be completed until 2013, and much more remains to be done to rev up investor interest and activity in the other zones.
But Mr Ismail, in an interview earlier this year, believes things will pick up once the first phase of major projects comes onstream. These include the medical university, the Johor Premium Outlets, scheduled to open next month, and the Legoland theme park which will open next year. 'People will really see the buzz in Iskandar Malaysia' then, he said.