Malaysia plans to launch a lab to encourage startups across Southeast Asia to use data analytics in their businesses.

The ASEAN Data Analytics Exchange, to be launched later this year, will connect startups, academic and businesses “in a central location to inspire and enable organisations to embrace data-driven innovation”, said Dr Karl Ng, Director of Innovation Capital, Multimedia Development Corporation.

It will have a digital platform and a physical lab where startups and small and medium enterprises can learn about the latest technologies in big data.

The lab will be launched by MDeC, but “we expect it to be driven by the private sector”, Dr Ng said, as more small and medium sized businesses look to use analytics.

The project is part of Malaysia’s plan to become a regional hub in big data by 2020. The country has created a network of data labs, including a Big Data Analytics Digital Government Lab to test how data can be used in public sector.

This year the focus is on adoption of analytics. “We already have the leading ecosystem when it comes to technological infrastructure in ASEAN, and the focus this year is adoption,” Dr Ng said.