Why are Digital Exports important for the Digital Economy?
By Gopi Ganesalingam June 9, 2023
- Entrepreneurial approach adopted by MDEC to building out global networks
- Provide founders a support system that understands challenges they face
Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), an agency operating under the Ministry of Communications and Digital, stands at the forefront of Malaysia's digital economy development. Its paramount mission is to empower businesses and propel digital transformation, ensuring Malaysia's unwavering competitiveness on the global digital stage.
The drive to achieve this comes from the top with MDEC CEO, Ts. Mahadhir Aziz who emphasized, "Through Malaysia Digital (MD), our aim is to revolutionize Malaysia's digital capabilities, harness technology and innovation to fuel sustainable economic growth, catalyse digital adoption across industries, and firmly establish Malaysia as the digital hub of ASEAN.”
MDEC assumes an active role in spearheading initiatives that champion and facilitate digital exports, forging strategic partnerships and implementing pioneering programs. This concerted effort creates an environment conducive for businesses to expand their digital exports, propelling Malaysia's economic growth to new heights. Guided by the MD vision, MDEC's pursuit of global recognition and market presence through digital exports is a core pillar of the national strategic initiative.
MDEC recognises the importance of Digital Exports and has established the Digital Exports (DEX) team to support Malaysian tech companies in their efforts to expand globally. Working closely with Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the DEX team is actively working on trade opportunities for our local tech companies across the globe.
Why is it important for the digital economy to be connected to the global networks and connections in order to facilitate and enhance exports?
The digital economy refers to the economic activity that arises from billions of online interactions among people, businesses, and devices all around the world. There are a number of reasons why it needs to be connected to global networks:
- Access to a larger market - Businesses can reach a wider audience and tap into new markets to penetrate greenfield opportunities, increase sales and revenue ultimately leading to higher profitability.
- Access to global talent - The digital economy is highly reliant on skilled workers who can develop and maintain complex technological systems Businesses can access talent from all around the world and build diverse teams that can bring new ideas and perspectives to the table. A global talent acquisition strategy then comes to play.
- Access to new technology and innovation – Businesses can stay up to date with the latest technological advancements and trends. It is noted that technological progress puts innovation in the front seat, and vice versa. This can help our tech companies optimise operations, increase efficiency, and continuously improve products and services to customers.
- Increased competitiveness - Businesses can compete with other companies on a global scale. This, too, can lead to increased innovation, better products and services, and more efficient operations.
- Increased collaboration – In most parts of the world, business is a relationship game. Global connections and networks facilitate collaboration between businesses, governments, and other organisations. This can lead to the development of new technologies, the sharing of best practices, and the creation of new partnerships that can benefit everyone involved, thus creating a vibrant tech ecosystem.
So how is MDEC’s Digital Exports (DEX) team operationalising this link to global networks and connections?
Having the pulse of the industry and leveraging on our GAIN methodology (Gateway, Amplification, Investor, Nurturing), MDEC is taking a nimble approach to building global entrepreneurial networks, that we believe will prove invaluable for the growth of our startups and small and medium business. In doing so, our companies now have:
- (G) Opportunities for collaboration into new markets: Collaboration is essential for global growth and being part of a global entrepreneurial network can help you find potential partners, investors, and customers who are interested in working with you. It can also give you access to markets and opportunities that may have been difficult to reach on your own.
But don’t take it from me. This is what Dato’ Kenny Goh , Co-founder of Macrokiosk Bhd who is coming up to his 25th year as an entrepreneur has to say. “Macrokiosk operates through 12 global offices while accelerating our new market expansion in collaboration with MDEC via GAIN. It has definitely strengthened our pace and acts as a beacon to the in-country market launch of our BOLD. enterprise solutions platform. To date, Macrokiosk serves more than 5,000 customers from 37 countries across 24 industries.”
- (A) Increased visibility and credibility: Which can help you gain recognition in the market . It can open doors to new opportunities, partnerships, and collaborations. It can also help you build a reputation as a reliable and trustworthy entrepreneur and business.
Speaking of building reputations, this is the experience of Koh Dim Kuan, co-founder and CEO of Sophic Automation Sdn Bhd who says: “Over the years MDEC has promoted us into global networks such as JETRO (Japan), Institute for Information Industry (Taiwan) and many more, allowing us to share our value with clients and growing together in their digital journeys.” Koh credits us for providing Sophic with what he describes as, “a global stage in orchestrating automation symphony for our MNC customers.” That is a nod to the Sophic tagline, “Other people make machines talk, we make them sing.”
- (I) Access to a larger pool of investors: Tapping into a larger pool of investors, including venture capitalists, angel investors, and institutional investors who have their respective areas of interest creates greater opportunity for our companies to find a match.
Some of our GAIN companies have found their investors thanks to the networks we have created. Chan Kee Siak, the outstanding founder and CEO of Exabytes Network Sdn Bhd said, “With MDEC's assistance, we were able to connect with a wider range of investors and secure the resources needed to grow and expand our business. We greatly appreciate MDEC's ongoing commitment to promoting the growth and success of Malaysia's digital economy.”
- (N) Access to expertise and resources: You gain access to a wealth of knowledge, skills, and resources from other entrepreneurs. You can learn from their experiences, tap into their expertise, and get access to resources that can help you grow your business. You can call this mentoring or nurturing.
It is something that we take seriously, as Johary Mustapha, the dynamic founder and CEO of Forest Interactive Sdn Bhd will attest to. “MDEC’s support and guidance has been instrumental in helping us navigate new territories and access previously untapped opportunities and we are grateful for their partnership.”
We know that support and motivation is of utmost important because being an entrepreneur can be a lonely journey. Hence, a global entrepreneurial network can provide you with a support system that understands the challenges you face and can offer guidance, motivation, and encouragement when you need it.
We believe that MDEC’s GAIN programme that we have built over the years, provides a valuable growth pillar with its soft landing in 12 markets covering ASEAN, Japan, Australia and Dubai (for the Middle East). Since 2016, a total of 70 GAIN companies have brought in new contracts worth more than US$1.2 billion and I expect higher exports as under DEX, MDEC is working towards adding new territories and more companies to join us in the globalisation of our tech companies.
MDEC believes being connected to global networks is essential for the digital economy to thrive and grow. It can provide access to new markets, talent, technologies, and collaboration opportunities that can help businesses stay competitive and innovative in a rapidly changing global landscape.
Gopi Ganesalingam is Senior Vice President, Digital Exports, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC)
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