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Axiata Announces Biggest Badminton Championship

2012-02-08

Kuala Lumpur, 8 February 2012, Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata), one of Asia's largest telecommunications group, today announced together with the Badminton Asia Confederation (BAC) and Total Sports Asia (TSA), the creation of the Axiata Cup — the world's highest prize money team event at USD 1 million. The Axiata Cup will feature 8 teams from 6 countries participating over a 4-week period. Starting on March 23rd in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Jakarta, Indonesia simultaneously, the semi-finals will be played on a home and away basis on March 30th and April 1st with the Finals played also home and away on April 13 and 15. Participating nations include: Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines. The event will also feature a unique format of play featuring, for the first time ever in BAC history, home/ away matches.

“We are very happy to be sponsoring the most exciting badminton event in the region this year with the biggest prize money among any team event in the world. We are making this investment because badminton has huge appeal amongst our customers across the region and the title sponsorship of such a major global event will help grow the Axiata brand”, said Dato' Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim President & Group Chief Executive Officer, Axiata Group. “We have been searching for the right opportunity to get into sport and we are confident that with this event, we have now found it” he added.

BAC Secretary General, Surasak Songvarakulpan, explained, “The BAC is pleased to present this interesting new event. One of our mandates is to grow the sport of badminton in Asia. This region has dominated the sport over its history and we want to continuously be on the cutting edge of its development. The Axiata Cup will support this directive. It is our hope that we will be able to create more such regional events around Asia.”

Badminton is a traditional sport with firm roots in the ASEAN region. Many of the biggest stars in the sport were born and bred here in Southeast Asia. In order to ensure that badminton continues to compete with other sports in attracting the most talented athletes, the BAC along with Axiata and TSA would like to create events that are dynamic, more attractive to youth and unite the Southeast Asian region.

The aim is to have a badminton tournament unlike any other. The event will be the most exciting badminton tournament with new formats and competitions to raise the bar in the sport of badminton. Apart from the USD1 million prize money, this includes the new and creative format of play. The Axiata Cup will feature matches that would last for a maximum of 3 hours each, unlike the usual 6-10 hours.

Aside from the unique home/away format, used for the first time ever, each team is also allowed to field up to two foreign “parties” (singles or doubles players) to bolster their teams. Players must originate from outside of ASEAN, but teams would be free to approach any available players from China, Korea, Denmark or other countries to play on their teams.

Axiata and its Operating Companies will be announcing soon a series of digital events and activities that will allow fans of badminton across the SEA region to participate in the Axiata Cup directly. Whether it be online chats with players, participating in badminton-themed mobile contests or experiencing the content through digital means, Axiata intends to be a leader in bringing the sport of badminton into the digital space. Another area that will be utilized is Virtual Advertising. An agreement with Brand Magic, the world's leading Virtual

Advertising provider, will allow Axiata and the event partners to enjoy more dynamic brand messaging on screen during the matches without bothering play on the court. “Bringing the feeling of EPL-like digital boards to the sport of badminton will create an atmosphere of ‘bigness' to the game, ” remarked Marcus Luer, TSA's Group CEO and continued, “it's time that badminton upped its game and shows the world that there is more value in the sport than is currently being realized. Working with cutting edge technologies such as Virtual Advertising will allow brands to interact in a more meaningful way with the sport without bothering play on the court. It's a win-win situation.” Check out the event website at: www.axiatacup.com for more information.

Participating teams will announce their player lists by February 23rd and will already be starting to consider who will be offered positions. Songvarakulpan indicated, “Some teams will surely seek support from foreign stars in key areas while others may elect not to.” With USD 1 million in prize money on offer, and as all costs of the teams are covered, there is certainly the likelihood of seeing some big names joining participating teams. Luer continued, “We hope to attract stars from around the world to play in the event which will give it an NBA-like quality that the sport has never before seen. The teams invited to play in the event can truly be strengthened by the world's best players. Moving forward, the event can grow in many directions, we are all very excited.”

For more information, please contact:

Axiata

Faridah Hashim – faridah@axiata.com

+603 2263 8881

Total Sports Asia

Sasha Atepolikhin -sasha.atepol@totalsportsasia.com

+603-7626 8000

Badminton Asia Confederation

Hon Secretary General: Mr Surasak Songvarakulpan - admin@badmintonasia.org

(+60) 3 92845421

ABOUT AXIATA

Axiata is one of the largest Asian telecommunication companies, focused on high growth low penetration emerging markets. Axiata has controlling interests in mobile operators in Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Cambodia with significant strategic stakes in India and Singapore. India and Indonesia are amongst the fastest growing markets in the world. In addition, the Malaysian-grown holding company has stakes in non-mobile telecommunication operations in Thailand.

The Group's mobile subsidiaries and associates operate under the brand name ‘Celcom' in Malaysia, ‘XL' in Indonesia, ‘Dialog' in Sri Lanka, ‘Robi' in Bangladesh, ‘HELLO' in Cambodia, ‘Idea' in India and ‘M1' in Singapore.

The Group's, including its subsidiaries and associates, has over 187 million mobile subscribers in Asia. The Group revenue for 2010 was RM15.6 billion. The Group provides employment to over 25,000 people across Asia. Axiata's vision is to be a regional champion by 2015 by piecing together the best throughout the region in connectivity, technology and talent, uniting them towards a single goal: Advancing Asia.

Axiata was awarded the Frost & Sullivan 2009 and 2010 Asia Pacific ICT Award for Best Telecom Group and the Telecom Asia Best Regional Mobile Group 2010 and 2011 for its operations in multiple Asian markets.

ABOUT BAC

The Badminton Asia Confederation (BAC) the governing body of badminton in Asia. It is one of the 5 continental bodies under the flag of the Badminton World Federation (BWF). Since the establishment in 1959, BAC had been successful in the nursery of champions and ensuring that the talent and standard of badminton in Asia continues to grow with the sport being increasingly popular and the standard of Asian badminton remains as high as ever. Today, BAC boasts a membership of 39 countries and aim to remain as the benchmark for world badminton in manay years to come.

About Total Sports Asia:

Total Sports Asia (TSA) is a leading independent sports marketing agency and content distributor with a dedicated team of over 70 sports marketing experts and four offices in Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Mumbai and Delhi. Media rights distribution, TV production, sponsorship/licensing, events management and consulting are its core business activities. Representation includes major international rights including US Open Tennis, BWF Super Series (Badminton), PSA Pro Tour (Squash), ITTF (Table Tennis), French Football League and the current EURO/WORLD CUP Winner, Spain. Visit www.totalsportsasia.com

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