Chuljin Yoon (pic above), Chief Operations Officer of eCommerce platform 11street agreed with these sentiments. "The Budget is designed to shaping the future of Malaysia's economy, and comes at a time when the country's economy continuing to strengthen. Furthermore, the development of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) hub in KLIA will help Malaysia edge closer to its digital economy vision, while improve the livelihood of Malaysians through growing job and entrepreneurship opportunities, and reduction of income tax for the M40 category."
"Together with the proposed tax and other incentives, Malaysia should grow into a regional eCommerce hub, SMEs and eCommerce will continue to play a vital role achieving the digital economy vision of contributing 20 percent to GDP in 2020," said Yoon. "One key observation is the investment into DFTZ that will drive the participation of 1,500 SMEs into digital economy, and attract investments of up to RM700 million, therefore creating an additional 2,500 jobs. Furthermore, other initiatives are in place to help drive the adoption of e-commerce among SMEs, such as the recent DesaMall project by the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development (Malaysia) in partnership with 11street, providing entrepreneurs a comprehensive e-commerce training development programme to upskill themselves. This programme includes skillset, packaging and promotion trainings, along with platform site support and services - a move we believe will drive greater revenue to local and rural entrepreneurs within the domestic market and international exports."
These comments in particular point Malaysia being geared up for accelerated growth especially in the eCommerce sector. Global brands are increasingly seeking opportunities to explore and expand their offerings within the local online space - signalling a healthy growing consumer spending power and market demand.
Continuing the conversation about the new boosts for local eCommerce, Matteo Sutto (pic above), Senior Vice President of Growth for eCommerce metasearch firm iPrice Group, said: "These are exciting times for players in the eCommerce space as the Malaysian government has included the digital economy in the TN50 Industrial Revolution plan. Tracing the successes of more developed eCommerce in countries such as Taiwan and Singapore, Malaysia's digital sector is at the brink of accelerated growth and we believe the investments announced at Budget 2018 would be a key catalyst to maximise the full potential of the futuristic economy. We welcome the government's investment of RM83.5 million to develop Southeast Asia's first Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) and logistical support for eCommerce. This is in line with the plans stated in the National eCommerce Strategic Roadmap and we're excited to see further improvements in last-mile delivery network that would make online purchases much more satisfactory for consumers."
Sutto also welcomed the efforts to exempt taxes imposed on funds raised by venture capital companies for startups in Malaysia. "In the past six years, the top 10 eCommerce in Malaysia have raised RM14 billion in funds to develop their online platform. With this we hope to see further influx of funds for eCommerce startups in Malaysia to make available a greater number of products and services for consumers in the country and across Southeast Asia."
He also singled out the government's investment in East Malaysia to improve communications infrastructure. "Our recent research on East Malaysian online shoppers showed that shoppers in the East spent 75 percent more time searching for products online and are 10% more likely to shop using a desktop as compared to the West. This was because consumers found it easier to shop via desktop as it provided a more stable internet connection. We hope the government's allocation of RM1 billion to improve its telecommunications infrastructure will provide better broadband mobile internet connections to spur further online shoppers from the East."
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