Here’s how Malaysia is helping SMEs scale themselves
E-COMMERCE is a gold rush right now. With more and more consumers in Southeast Asia preferring to shop online, the importance of businesses transforming from brick-and-mortar stores to the online marketplace is more prevalent than ever before.
But when it comes to e-commerce, it seems that Malaysia is still at a nascent stage. Currently, the country is experiencing a steady growth at around 11 percent year-on-year. But according to Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) Head of E-Commerce Strategy and Industry Development Nurezali Osman, this is not enough.
“We want to double this to 20 percent,” he said during the Malaysia E-commerce Summit in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
But how exactly do they plan to accelerate this growth? During the summit, a panel comprising of Nurezali, Matrade Director of Transformation and Digital Trade Division Noraslan Hadi Abdul Kadir, and SMEcorp Senior Director, Business Development & Entrepreneurship Division, Zaky Moh discussed the current programmes aimed at SMEs to help them flourish in e-commerce and encourage cross-border exports.
MDEC – Go eCommerce
The aim of this program is to help guide SMEs along their e-commerce journey by providing them with the right resources. Go eCommerce is an online platform developed by MDEC and SME Corporation Malaysia.
It acts as an active learning platform for SMEs to explore and build their businesses via e-commerce.
It encourages SMEs to evaluate their readiness through questionnaires to discover their capabilities, as well as the tailored requirements needed to fast track their business.
The program also teaches sellers how to export to other countries, and helps them understand the market potential of their products in those countries.
“For example, you can’t sell spice to India, or gadgets to China,” Nurezali said.
The program also teaches useful skills such as how to take a good quality photograph, how to write a successful product description, and how to get packaging right.
Go eCommerce welcomes everyone to sign up as members of its platform for free.
Matrade – eTRADE
For many aspiring entrepreneurs, the financial cost of getting started with e-commerce can deter them from making their business plan a reality.
eTRADE is a programme implemented by Matrade to promote the adoption of e-commerce among Malaysian companies by accelerating exports through participation in leading international e-marketplaces.
The eTRADE programme currently includes 14 e-markets such as Alibaba, Alladin Street, and JD.com.
“We are in the process of adding more,” Matrade’s Noraslan Hadi told the audience.
In order to boost the adoption of e-commerce among the SMEs, eTRADE offers successful applicants both financial and non-financial incentives. This includes e-Vouchers of up to RM5,000 (US$1,288 approx) per company.
The vouchers pay for setting-up expenses on e-marketplaces such as Lazada. For instance, listing and subscription fees, photography fees, translation fees (for product listing), and shipping to overseas warehouses.
In order to qualify for the eTRADE program, your business must comply with the following:
- Be a Malaysian owned company (at least 60 percent Malaysian equity)
- Incorporated under the Companies Act 1965 / Companies Act 2016/ Registration of Business 1956/ Limited Liability Partnership Act 2012/ Co-operative Act 1993
- Exporting Made in Malaysian Products and Services, or Malaysian Brands
These initiatives from the Malaysian government are an attempt to boost SME growth in the country and facilitate them in their efforts to expand to other markets.
According to MDEC, Malaysia is on track to achieve 21 percent e-commerce growth by 2020, and these initiatives will only boost the market further.
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