SMEs urged to embrace e-commerce

(File pix) Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation chief executive officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood says small and medium enterprises have to look at making their websites more sophisticated with payment gateways. Pix by Ahmad Irham Mohd Noor

KUALA LUMPUR: The estimated one million small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia should take advantage of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) by embracing e-commerce, said Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) chief executive officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood.

About 97 per cent of Malaysian companies are SMEs, making them a big component of the economy.

“However, their contribution to the gross domestic product is less than 40 per cent. So, there is a lot of room to move by collaborating with China’s Alibaba Group to transform SMEs towards better, stronger economic empowerment,” said Yasmin in an interview recently.

She said embracing e-commerce was important to the survival and growth of retail  businesses.

“Malaysia has 25 agencies and ministries coming together under the National E-commerce Council to look at how to respond to the situation. For SMEs which had not done so yet, I advise them to make their digital presence felt.”

Yasmin said it could be in the form of easy-to-use social commerce and marketing tools on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, or some basic website building.

“At the next level, which is e-commerce, SMEs have to look at making their websites more sophisticated with payment gateways. The final level is about using e-commerce to create and sustain cross-border trade.”

Yasmin said MDEC had always been serious about helping SMEs, and it was imperative that SMEs be given opportunities and support because cross-border trading had always been challenging.

The DFTZ would position Malaysia as the regional hub for transshipment of marketplaces and global brands from all over the world, she said.

“Asean is a fast-growing market and there are a lot of opportunities within the Asean market itself, so it is not only the SMEs that will gain but also the nation. The DFTZ is all about this facilitation,” added Yasmin.

 

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