Miti, Alibaba host panel to explore cross-border opportunities for Malaysian businesses
By Digital News Asia December 6, 2018
- The adoption and growth of e-commerce was vital to Malaysia’s economic future
- Close to 99% of established businesses are SMEs with the potential to go global
A ROUNDTABLE and open dialogue on ‘Opportunities and Challenges in Cross-Border E-Commerce’ was co-organised by Malaysia Ministry of international Trade and Industry (Miti) and Alibaba Group.
The event, officiated and moderated by Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Ong Kian Ming (pic) aimed to provide a platform for government officials, agencies and business partners to share and learn how participating Malaysian businesses have successfully leveraged on the power of global cross-border trade opportunities and benefitted from Alibaba’s innovative technology and robust ecosystem.
In his keynote address, Ong stressed that the adoption and growth of e-commerce was vital to Malaysia’s economic future.
“We hope that through this collaborative session, SMEs will have ease and gain better benefits in their journey via the e-commerce industry, a significant move for them to be visible on the global front. Close to 99% of established businesses are SMEs that have the potential to become global companies.
“Having a stronger association with Alibaba and Matrade will urge more local SMEs to expand their export business and help in achieving an e-commerce annual growth rate of 20%, from a 14.3% posted in 2017,” he said.
Ten representatives from Miti, Matrade, MDEC, Alibaba Group, and participating Malaysian merchants comprising of Kooperasi Usahawan Groom Big Perlis Bhd (Kugpis), Megix Industries, TRL South East Asia, and PT Swift Marketing Sdn Bhd also shared their experiences and provided fresh thinking about the ways forward to seize cross-border opportunities via e-commerce.
“As a corporative association, we are constantly trying to help the small rural entrepreneurs, especially the low income earners (B40). There is a challenge for us in terms of having limited financial facilities in helping these groups to reach out to the right audience in the B2B market.
“The Alibaba platform has helped us in obtaining the right information to excel forward; for instance, we have managed to hit orders in small quantities from countries like Africa, UAE and the Philippines and successfully secured a 12-month contract with Ghana and 24-month contract with China.
“This is the effect of DFTZ for us. We are also looking at tapping into other Alibaba platforms
predominantly in big data and the cloud computing system as we see this as an opportunity for us to customise marketing efforts to push our products in China,” said Kugpis chairman Mohd Nordin Jafri.
“Over the last few years, we’ve seen the e-commerce industry taking off positively in Malaysia. During the initial phase we encountered issues like forex, logistics and custom declaration which were addressed by the Alibaba platform. This helped our business tremendously and our customer grew exponentially ever since,” said Megix Industries managing director Francis Ng.
“In today’s competitive and convenience focused society, e-commerce has become part and parcelfor any businesses. Since we joined Alibaba’s platform three years ago, we have generated at least 70% of new customers from both domestic and International markets including China, United States, Canada, Australia and Singapore.
“Moving forward, by tapping into Alibaba’s robust ecosystem, we wish to open more new markets and increase our sales through the B2C market, via our participation in Tmall,” TRL South East Asia sales director Adrian Yoong said.
“As an organisation that markets bird's nest, it is vital for us to understand our consumers’ needs and buying behaviours. By joining the Alibaba platform, it has allowed us to gain more market insights and understanding towards our customers’ demands as business advices, data bank and customer operation platform is readily available on the platform.
“This has been a vital factor in the success of our online marketing efforts. Having won numerous awards on the Tmall platform, our next course of action is to move away from the current B2B approach and venture towards the B2C platform via Tmall,” said PT Swift Marketing Sdn Bhd executive chairman Dr Abd Aziz Jamaluddin.
“Empowering local businesses to go global via e-commerce is a critical long-term strategy of ours. We are building the future infrastructure of commerce to realise a digital economy where global trade is possible not only for multinational corporations but small and medium-sized businesses as well such as those in Malaysia.
“Thanks to the support from the Malaysian government, Alibaba and local businesses have been able to make great progress as seen through the success cases shared by our local business partners. We look forward to working with more Malaysian businesses to help them seize export opportunities to markets around the world,” said Alibaba Group Global Business director Yao Yao.
The roundtable discussion and open dialogue programme represents the latest effort by Alibaba Group as part of its continued commitment to the Malaysia market, which echoes its effort in establishing the first international eHub in Malaysia under the eWTP initiative in hopes of making it easier for small businesses to participate in cross-border trade.
Placing emphasis on facilitating exports for Malaysian SMEs and young people in Malaysia, Alibaba has since built the infrastructure to support global trade with services encompassing e-commerce, logistics, cloud computing, mobile payment and talent training.
Throughout the strategic partnership with Malaysia, Alibaba has made advances on multiple fronts, including an e-fulfilment hub near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the opening of a local data centre to provide Malaysian enterprises a local choice to build their businesses on a world-class cloud platform, external trade promotion programmes and e-commerce training to develop the skills of Malaysian SMEs and entrepreneurs in support of the development of Malaysia’s digital economy, and launched a week-long campaign to promote brand awareness of Malaysian businesses and products on its online marketplaces with more than 50 Malaysian companies participating.