Cover Marc Woo, managing director of Google Malaysia

Being the head of Google Malaysia has many challenges but managing director Marc Woo relish them all.

Marc Woo believes that constant pressure is good as it allows him to flex his mental muscles. It is the reason why he loves his job at one of the most prominent technology companies in the country, Google Malaysia.

Woo has a long history with the search giant and was among the first hires by the company back in 2011. He recounts the early days of Google Malaysia as a challenging yet exciting time. Part of his responsibility in the burgeoning company, which he likened to a startup, was securing sales and revenue generation.

A typical day would see him perform sales pitches in the morning, buy office supplies in the afternoon and travel to Putrajaya to attend government meetings. He recalls spending his spare time to analyse data for insights, and conduct hiring interviews to grow the local team.

Woo worked his way up the ladder and was eventually promoted to be Google Malaysia’s country head in 2018 and was subsequently promoted in late 2020 as its managing director.

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Over a decade, Google Malaysia’s team grew from just two employees (also known as Googlers) to a total of 60 strong today. “I've had the privilege of working with some of the smartest and kindest people around. Without them, it would not have been possible to put Google on Malaysia’s map and Malaysia on Google’s map,” he says.

Though the local office of the Silicon Valley tech giant has changed over the years, Woo maintains that the company’s desire to support the burgeoning local digital economy remains the same.

“In 2021, Google is helping small businesses through our Grow with Google programmes to make the transition to digital as painless as possible,” says Woo. “We are in this for the long run and are committed to ensuring that every business has the support and tools they would need to rebuild."

Part of these efforts include funding through philanthropic arm which has given US$3.3 million to its partners, International Youth Centre and Startup Malaysia with the aim of developing digital literacy modules to train 15,000 Malaysians from underserved communities.

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Besides helping the business community back on its feet, Google is also supporting the education ministry’s efforts to implement a hybrid learning model through the DELIMa platform that aims to benefit both students and teachers.

“We have made it our mission to provide the right tools and technology to empower learning anytime and anywhere,” says Woo.

This includes the use of Google Classrooms to help students and teachers communicate, share, feedback and learn together. Following the implementation of these methods, teachers have had to handle less administrative paperwork and it also frees them to focus on developing lesson plans and concentrate on helping their students.

“There are now millions more students and teachers that are relying on our technology. The past year has shown us there are many opportunities for us to improve on what we already built,” says Woo.

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  • ImagesCourtesy of Google
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