KL continues to draw investments in global business services, as seen in Alcon’s decision to set up hub

The setting up of Alcon Global Services (AGS), a regional business services hub for Alcon Laboratories, shows that Kuala Lumpur continues to attract investments in the global business services (GBS) sector. 

In 2019, Alcon Laboratories decided to locate its GBS hub for Asia-Pacific in KL as the city has a lot to offer multinational corporations (MNCs), including a large pool of multilingual talent, especially in the financial services sector. 

"One of the key considerations when deciding to set up a regional hub in Asia was the language capability to support Asia-Pacific countries. With its diverse cultural background, Malaysia offers the best talent in the region with language capabilities such as Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean and Bahasa Indonesia, to name a few. Malaysia also fared better in terms of talent pool availability, especially for finance functions," says Alcon head of Asia Pacific Nathan Vaidyanathan.

Alcon is an MNC based in Geneva, Switzerland, that specialises in ophthalmology, producing vision care products such as contact lenses, lens care products and ophthalmic surgical products. Its vision care portfolio ranges from disposable contact lenses to reusable colour-enhancing contact lenses, while its comprehensive portfolio of ocular health products includes products for dry eyes, contact lens care and ocular allergies.

The Alcon product line has expanded from pharmaceuticals to surgical products. Today, the company has operations in 75 countries and its products are sold in more than 180 countries.

" The Alcon regional hub in KL has been created to embrace change and evolve to the next level. The hub concentrates on language support across various functions, including finance, procurement, supply chain,enterprise resource planning, IT and quality assurance. "


"The Alcon regional hub in KL has been created to embrace change and evolve to the next level," says Nathan. The hub concentrates on business support (with language expertise) across various functions, including finance, HR, procurement, supply chain, enterprise resource planning, IT and quality assurance. 

Alcon invests RM15 million a year on operational costs for the AGS KL regional hub. This includes hiring the best talent in the market as well as facility costs. The hub also supports small and medium enterprises and local businesses in the Greater KL area, especially when it comes to collaborative efforts at events and other engagements. AGS’ vision is to expand the KL centre with multiple functions and areas of expertise, says Nathan. 

The decision to set up AGS was made easier with the assistance provided by InvestKL in areas such as hiring, Malaysian entry and visa applications for non-Malaysians as well accessibility to the Human Resources Development Fund.

"InvestKL keeps us updated on government regulations applicable to MNCs. This helps us to stay on top of the latest policies that impact our hiring needs and plan accordingly," says Nathan. 

AGS has been providing high-quality finance and accounting services to the company’s offices in the region, says Alcon’s head of global FRA (financial reporting and accounting) operations Brian King. "We are currently adding more finance and accounting roles into AGS based on our confidence in the availability of strong talent in the market with finance and accounting skills, digital competencies and language capabilities. AGS has developed a strong culture around Alcon’s values and behaviors, as well as key initiatives to instill a mindset around continuous improvement, customer service and talent development." 

Meanwhile, Alcon’s head of AGS Lars Christophers says AGS is an integral part of Alcon’s multi-year transformation journey. " The AGS teams around the world are partnering with Alcon’s functions and businesses in order to deliver better outcomes for our customers, first and foremost of which is to make our patients see brilliantly."

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