Human needs have always been Cochlear’s inspiration, ever since Australian Professor Graeme Clark set out to create the first multi-channel cochlear implant because he saw his father struggled with hearing loss.
After beginning his research into the possibilities of an electronic implantable hearing device in 1967, on a family holiday, Professor Clark saw that the structure of a shell and a blade of grass would allow an electrode array to adapt to any curve. This had been a persistent problem as the device required passing several electrodes through the spiral coil of the cochlea to the auditory nerve.
It was here, on a beach just south of Sydney, Australia that the opportunity to connect hundreds of thousands of people to a life of hearing first came to light.
Today, Cochlear is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions. Since 1981, Cochlear has provided more than 700,000 implantable devices, helping recipients of all ages, in more than 180 countries, to hear and live full and active lives.
Cochlear’s global headquarters are on the campus of Macquarie University in Sydney with regional headquarters supporting Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Latin and South America, and North America. Cochlear has invested more than AUD$2 billion to date in research and development and currently participates in more than 100 collaborative research programmes worldwide. With direct operations in more than 35 countries, Cochlear has a global workforce of close to 4,500 employees.
Cochlear has six key manufacturing sites worldwide – Macquarie Park, Lane Cove and Brisbane (Australia), Chengdu (China), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), and Gothenburg (Sweden).
Cochlear continues to invest and expand in Malaysia, creating a global centre of excellence for manufacturing and repairing of hearing implant sound processors and global operations. Malaysia’s strategic location provides effortless connectivity to global destinations, coupled with seamless access to comprehensive logistics and warehouse services, all bolstered by a readily available, highly skilled talent pool.
From a team of seven in 2014 Cochlear now employs more than 400 people in Kuala Lumpur, making it the 3rd largest site in the Cochlear network. Over the past 12 months the manufacturing facility in Kuala Lumpur has been powered by 60% renewable energy; as part of Cochlear’s global target to achieve net zero carbon emissions in its operations by 2030.
Cochlear’s growth in Kuala Lumpur underscores the pivotal role Malaysia assumes within its worldwide network, a testament to the unwavering support and facilitation by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, Ministry of Health and Association of Malaysian Medical Industries.
Throughout the challenging times Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s support and reliability remained steadfast, enabling uninterrupted operations without the need for shut down.
From left to right: Ybrs. Dr. Mohd Azman Yacob, Director, Medical Development Division, Ministry of Health; His Excellency Dr. Justin Lee, Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia; Ybhg. Datuk Wira Arham Abdul Rahman, CEO MIDA; Greg Bodkin, Senior Vice President Global Supply Chain, Cochlear Ltd.
Beyond Malaysia’s compelling business advantages, it also demonstrates a real commitment to supporting Cochlear’s mission to help the rakyat to hear and be heard.
In Malaysia, on average, approximately 1,500 children are born with hearing loss every year. The Malaysian Government has made a commitment to expand the universal newborn hearing screening programme from a commendable 65% of newborns to an impressive target of over 95%. This progressive initiative is poised to assume a pivotal role in identifying children with hearing challenges early on, ensuring that they receive timely and appropriate intervention. With resolute support from the Malaysian Government, the amplification of the newborn hearing screening programme promises to be a transformative force in the lives of thousands of children across nation. Through this opportunity, it will grant them the priceless gift of hearing and enabling them to fully unleash their full potential.
Overall, Malaysia’s exceptional blend of cost-effective business structures, a talented pool of workforce and collaborative government initiatives not only positions it as an ideal choice for conducting business but also underscores its ascendancy in the global economic landscape. Cochlear is pleased to be one of those who have embraced Malaysia!
Mr. Samuel Pooranakaran
Vice President, Manufacturing & Logistics