• PIKOM inks MOUs to boost digital economy growth
  • Singapore’s GDP growth races to near 4-year high in Q3
  • China cuts import tariffs on range of consumer goods
  • Target Of 1,000 Franchise Companies By 2020 Achievable

Pikom inks MoUs with Fusionex, Cybersecurity Malaysia, Matta to boost digital economy growth
The National ICT Association of Malaysia (Pikom) has initiated and signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with three organisations to boost further adoption and growth in the digital economy for Malaysia. Pikom signed an MoU with Fusionex to equip ICT professionals with the right skills and training in Big Data, in line with the government’s target of achieving 20,000 data professionals by 2020.  To heighten awareness of the malice and threats of cyber-security attacks, Pikom also signed an MoU with Cybersecurity Malaysia (CSM). In preparation of the Visit Malaysia Year in 2020, Pikom signed an MoU with the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) to promote further adoption of the digital platform for the travel industry. “These initiatives will certainly help in expanding opportunities for the SMEs in their respective sectors and we need to keep up and embrace changes in the rapid convergence between the physical and digital world,” said Pikom chairman Chin Chee Seong. (Media Release)

Singapore’s GDP growth races to near 4-year high in Q3
The Singapore economy has turned in yet another better-than-expected report card. With the manufacturing sector continuing its stellar run, third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 5.2 per cent compared to a year ago, trumping the earlier-announced advance estimates and second-quarter growth number. This marked the trade-reliant economy’s best showing since end-2013. On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted basis, Singapore’s economy expanded by a whopping 8.8 per cent, also beating official estimates and was well above the second-quarter’s 2.2 per cent growth. The Ministry of Trade and Industry also upgraded its full-year growth forecast for 2017 to 3 to 3.5 per cent, from the previous range of 2 to 3 per cent. This prompted some private-sector economists to revise their estimates upwards. OCBC now expects Singapore’s economic growth for 2017 to be at 3.4 per cent, a nu(CNA)

China cuts import tariffs on range of consumer goods
China’s Finance Ministry announced today that the government will cut import tariffs on some consumer products starting next month. The move comes amid long-standing complaints from nations including the United States about China’s trade surplus with many of its trading partners. A notice from the Ministry said tariffs on products such as food, health supplements, pharmaceuticals, clothing and recreational products will be reduced to an average of 7.7 per cent from 17.3 per cent. “This round of cuts concentrates on products in short supply domestically and will provide more choice for domestic consumers and guide the upgrade of domestic supplies,” the ministry said. The reduction in tariffs also comes amid a preference among some Chinese consumers for foreign goods, which they deem to be of higher quality. “Such tariff cuts are largely symbolic and its boost to imports will be fairly limited,” said Zhao Yang, chief China economist at the Japanese financial services group Nomura. “Despite import tariffs being greatly slashed over the past several years, 17 per cent value added tax remains intact,” he said. (SCMP)

Target Of 1,000 Franchise Companies By 2020 Achievable
The target of increasing the number of local franchise companies to 1,000 by 2020 from 844 at present is achievable, Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry’s Director Franchise Development Division Siti Aisah Ismail said. He said 65 local franchise companies had expanded their business into 66 countries involving the opening of 4,217 outlets in selected destinations. “This shows that home-grown franchise brands are accepted overseas and most of the franchise sector overseas is related to food and beverages.