By Advancing Asia Sustainably, we’re progressing towards becoming The Next Generation Digital Champion. Follow our story from the very beginning.

Our Story

  • Chapter 1


Thirteen years after the name ‘Axiata’ was coined in a coffeehouse in Colombo, Sri Lanka, we’ve embarked on the next big shift in our evolution – to have a more sustainable and lasting impact on people, communities and countries across Asia.

In 2017, we committed towards becoming The Next Generation Digital Champion. In order to achieve this vision by 2024, we diversified our focus on pure play mobile services to include digital businesses and telecommunications infrastructure.

Through this expansion to become a Triple Core driven business, we are well-poised for value creation in the digital era. Today, our strategy is no longer limited to providing connectivity across Emerging Asia as we deliver technologies that enable customers to store their money, expand their business, learn online, improve their productivity, and much more.

Driven by a desire to showcase Asian capabilities, we’re committed towards building a better future for all. However, to truly understand our purpose, we need to rewind to the very start and revisit the unique circumstances that forged our DNA and identity as Axiata.

  • Chapter 2

The world was a rather uncertain place in 2008.

Against the backdrop of the global financial crisis, established orders were being shaken up, the forces of globalisation enabling international telco operators to enter new markets and chart new trajectories.

  • Chapter 3

TMI, a mobile division of Telekom Malaysia, was spun off as a new business entity that would shape the future of telecommunications in Asia.

It would soon become one of the largest telco groups in Asia and a proud Malaysian flag bearer, serving the needs of 40 million subscribers in the region.

  • Chapter 4

Here was a brand new company located in one of the world’s fastest growing regions, but what did it stand for?

From the start of this new chapter, our guiding purpose was to serve the people of Asia; a company with global standards yet local in our approach, and as diverse as the countries we call home.

From Colombo to Kuala Lumpur, ‘Axiata’ simply sounded like ‘Asia’. Except, with its ‘X’, it had a mystique and edginess that felt innovative and ground-breaking, like a brave new Asia for a whole new era.

  • Chapter 5

Having settled on our name, it was time to build the brand.

As a Group doing business in countries with very different cultures, languages and ways of life, we needed to champion this diversity through our identity as Axiata.

The Axiata Prism and its tapestry of vibrant colours represents the rich heritage of ASEAN and South Asia, each speaking to cherished traditions and ways of life that we could celebrate and enhance through our services. It also embodies our vibrant energy as a company - to value different perspectives through the diversity of our staff and to bring out the full potential of Asia’s people by connecting them to one another, developing their talent and encouraging a spirit of innovation.

Our purpose as a company followed naturally - Advancing Asia, and doing so while remaining true to its myriad of cultures and traditions. Thus, the Axiata brand was fully formed as a telco company with a difference, on a mission to show the world the true potential of Asia and its people.

  • Chapter 6

With our company name and brand established, it was time to grow the Axiata family.

In 2009, we acquired Indonesia’s Excelcomindo (later to be renamed ‘XL Axiata’), before welcoming Smart Axiata in Cambodia and Ncell Axiata in Nepal in 2012 and 2016 respectively. Then, understanding the potential of digital technology to transform lives, we took on the responsibility of ensuring that our services could reach every corner of our countries, no matter how remote the location or arduous the journey.

Our infrastructure company edotco has played a huge role in making this happen. With over 22,000 telco towers built since 2013, they have brought reliable connectivity to the most isolated and far-flung communities, providing its people with a digital lifeline by connecting them to education, healthcare, employment opportunities and so much more.

The challenges of bridging this digital divide have been numerous, but they also showed us the amazing possibilities that can be unlocked simply by providing people with the tools to improve their lives.

  • Chapter 7

Access to digital technology was not the only divide we wanted to rectify. Working with the amazing people of Asia on the day-to-day, it became clear that young, hungry and digitally-literate talent were not getting the same stage or opportunities for advancement that their peers in more developed countries were.

Taking on the mantle of addressing this inequality, we launched the Axiata Young Talent Programme (AYTP) in 2011, a first-of-its-kind talent development programme focused on building leadership skills in school- and university-going Malaysian youth. The programme has since been replicated in other countries, sharing a focus on building both the necessary skills and the right mindset to thrive and lead in a digital world.

Digitally-ready talent, however, is of scant use without a vibrant digital economy in which their ideas and energy can make a difference. With a vision of spurring the development of ambitious digital startups, we launched the Axiata Digital Innovation Fund in 2014. By identifying, funding and coaching promising companies and their founders, our efforts have since benefitted 32 startups across Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Cambodia, providing them with the gameplan and the resources they need to scale their companies, create jobs in their communities, and make a lasting impact within their societies.

As the demographics of the world tilt towards our neck of the woods, we will continue to invest in building a modern, agile and innovative Asia - one that can stand on its own as a protagonist in the global digital revolution.

  • Chapter 8

The world as we knew it ground to a halt in early 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic kept people from the things that matter most - their lifestyles, livelihoods and loved ones.

It was a time that called for us to set aside commercial interests and make a difference as members of our communities. Across our footprint and in tandem with our Operating Companies, we assisted with contact tracing efforts and digital solutions, donated to humanitarian funds and ensured that our networks were equipped to handle increased traffic from residential areas. Leveraging digital capabilities, our efforts contributed to slowing the spread of the pandemic and enhancing the resilience of societies to cope with its multifaceted challenges.

However, amidst the restrictions of the pandemic there was also an important opportunity. Their movements confined, people needed digital technologies more than ever, and we responded by developing solutions that improved outcomes for all. By swiftly repivoting our strategies, we have helped enterprises achieve digital transformation, enhanced consumer convenience through digitisation, and enabled greater inclusion for the underserved by expanding the capabilities of our digital businesses.

The pandemic was a challenge like none other, but it also brought about learnings like never before. Together, we’re stronger for it.

  • Chapter 9

Today, we are one of Asia’s leading telecommunications companies with more than 150 million subscribers across our markets. We’ve come a long way since 2008, yet our journey reminds us of one thing above all - that leadership is about looking always to the future.

For humanity as a whole, the prosperity of our shared future will depend in a big way on how we respond to the grave dangers of climate change. Taking the lead within our industry, we have committed to become a net-zero carbon company by 2050, outlining a roadmap that will enable us to harmonise the needs of our business with those of the environment.

This is just the beginning of our climate action journey, and in Advancing To Zero we have committed towards science based emissions reductions against which we will measure our progress across all our companies and countries. We have placed this imperative at a level pegging with our Next Generation Digital Champion vision as touchstones of the future we wish to build.

With the world changing at breakneck speed, just as it was when our journey began, we’re more than ready for what’s next.

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