Alibaba Group, in a presentation at Malaysia’s second annual national eCommerce Day, outlined the steps it has taken to continue its support for the growth and transformation of the country’s digital economy. Brian Wong, Vice President of Global Initiatives, Alibaba Group provided a comprehensive update on the number of Malaysian entrepreneurs who have benefited from courses at various Alibaba institutions, such as Alibaba Business School.

Wong also spoke on the DESA Project – a promising programme extending the reach and opportunities in the digital economy to rural communities around Malaysia. The programme was created by four enterprising locals following their participation in an Alibaba Netpreneur Training course. “The world is in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution – one that is firmly grounded in the digital economy. As a multicultural society with a keen interest to embrace the digital economy, Malaysia is well positioned to help local enterprises to tap into the some of the largest markets across the globe. We will continue to support Malaysian businesses and help them achieve their fullest potential during this transformative period.” said Brian Wong.

Outreach Bearing Fruits of Success

Alibaba Group has empowered and supported all levels of the society including public, private and educational sectors with various initiatives, touching hundreds of digital entrepreneurs and thousands of university students. These initiatives include the New Economy Workshop, the eFounders Fellowship, the Alibaba Netpreneur Training and the Global eCommerce Talent (GET) programme:

New Economy Workshop: A 4-day module for government officials with lectures and seminars by senior executives on e-commerce, fintech, logistics, platform governance, government policies, with field studies for participants to gain first-hand experiences of e-commerce’s impact on local society and the roles the government can play in enabling development.

UNCTAD and Alibaba Business School’s eFounders Fellowship: A 12-day course for digital entrepreneurs to learn from real-life case studies on how e-commerce is changing local society, with lectures and seminars by top academics and senior Alibaba executives. To date, eight classes have been conducted with over 270 entrepreneurs from across Asia and Africa completing the programme.

Alibaba Netpreneur Training: A 10-day programme for local traditional business leaders aspiring to digitize their companies or the digital enablers who help them to transform. To date, there have been three editions held in Malaysia, with a total of 145 netpreneurs graduating from the initiative.

Global eCommerce Talent (GET): A 5-day programme for local trainers in universities, it aims to empower participants to better equip their students with knowledge of the e-commerce industry and foster talent for the digital economy. Since its launch in 2018, Alibaba has trained 200 people from 30 Malaysian Academic and Training Institutions with a combined student population of 3,996, in collaboration with five GET-certified universities in Malaysia.

One success story is the aforementioned DESA Project. With the support of the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Lazada and their respective partners, the initiative seeks to establish a dedicated platform for rural-based businesses to be able to participate in and benefit from the digital economy.

Inspired by their introduction to the Taobao Village concept when they were in China, a product of rural villagers banding together to learn how to sell their produce on Taobao, the pilot project in Bentong, Pahang, will help rural producers of organic rice, raw ginger, ginger powder, soy sauce and Sempali groundnuts to market their wares to online consumers across Malaysia and new markets around the world.

The Economic Impact of E-commerce
A key benefit of e-commerce is how it enables access beyond local markets to a truly global marketplace for local brands especially when consumers around the world are keen to buy more from Malaysia. This is evidenced by the year-on-year growth in the total Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) value of products from Malaysia transacted during Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival 2019 which grew by 122%. The 693 million annual active users across Alibaba’s China retail marketplaces buying items produced in Malaysia from bird’s nest to coffee powders and snacks.

Apart from unlocking additional revenue for rural producers, the DESA Project and other e-commerce initiatives in Malaysia promise to create more jobs in the digital economy era. For example, the Taobao Villages around China have created 6.83 million jobs in China and garnered over RMB700 billion in GMV sales to date.

“E-commerce will benefit many aspects of Malaysian society. Apart from promoting rural development and economic inclusion, it also creates the impetus for small and medium enterprises to innovate and tap on the enterprising spirit of young people, in particular, to speed up business development and create even more jobs for all regardless of geography and background,” said Brian Wong.

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