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How Malaysian retailers can disrupt the disrupters: MDEC CEO Dato' Yasmin

AvantiKumar | July 19, 2017
'In this digital disruption era, it is time to swim...or sink' - MDEC CEO Dato' Yasmin Mahmood said during her conversations with Malaysian Retail Chain Association (MRCA) members and supporters.

DFTZ (official)

Photo (from left) Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia and Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group

Alibaba, as the strategic partner to the DFTZ, has invested heavily into making Malaysia an e-commerce and logistic hub in the region. An e-fulfilment hub located in KL Aeropolis (the former LCCT) will act as a centralised custom clearing area to handle high volumes of goods from the expected larger number of transactions in the region. At the same time, this is expected to shorten the processing time for fulfilment of orders.

But it is not just physical changes that DFTZ will bring to Malaysia, it is also about readying the platform and preparing Malaysian SMEs to think out of their local markets and go global, said Yasmin.

National roadmap

"Malaysia is a trading nation, and as trade goes into eCommerce, if we don't make sure that we're on board, then we'll be marginalised," she warned. "We have a National eCommerce Strategy Roadmap that aims to double the growth of eCommerce; it covers SME adoption, e-procurement, lifting non-tariff barriers, etc. It's multidisciplinary, covering both the private sector plus public sector."

Apart from improving their efficiencies, the other big incentive for retailers to bring their business online is that they would be able to access new markets as the world continues to be increasingly connected online.

"The two goals of the DFTZ are to increase SME cross-border trade, and to position Malaysia as a regional hub for e-commerce logistics," Yasmin added.

DFTZ positions Malaysia as regional eCommerce hub

Speaking of being connected online, Yasmin asked retailers to consider if they considered they were in a position ready to serve digital natives.

"Retailers need to adjust their strategies to take into account the next generation of users who have grown up in an Internet connected world," she said. "Should they not adopt a digital strategy to address this group they stand to lose relevancy in the future."

"Retailers need to realise that the world out there is their oyster and not be confined to the market being just Malaysia," Yasmin said. "They should also take the initiative to connect with startups that can provide them with the technology they need to either get on board the eCommerce ship or to step up their eCommerce game."

"At the end of the day, the DFTZ will help open Malaysia up to global eCommerce trade and position Malaysia as a regional hub for eCommerce," she said. "Essentially, it can be seen as Malaysia's opportunity to the region and the world; and it is our fervent hope that Malaysian retailers realise this now before their regional counterparts get a head start on them."

[See - Computerworld Malaysia's feature on "Why DFTZ will double Malaysia's SME exports"]

For more about Digital Malaysia, see:


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