Lazada Group has pledged to support 8 million eCommerce entrepreneurs and small-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Southeast Asia to grow and thrive by 2030. The company also announced its commitment to create a healthy and sustainable eCommerce ecosystem in the region and champion opportunities in technology and logistics infrastructure to benefit its ecosystem of sellers, consumers and local communities. As part of the pledge, Lazada will provide help for SMEs to digitise their business and gain better access to Internet-savvy and mobile consumers; reduce the entry barriers for sellers to create their own brands on Lazada; and allow them to tap on the company’s logistics network to facilitate the transfer of goods. At a panel discussion hosted by Lazada Malaysia on the state of eCommerce in Southeast Asia and Malaysia, Christophe Lejeune, Chief Executive Officer of Lazada Malaysia said: “SMEs play an instrumental role in further developing Malaysia’s economy, and Lazada is committed to create a conducive ecosystem to drive an era of robust digital transformation. By empowering sellers through our technology, logistics capabilities and extensive network of shoppers locally and regionally; we can help them become sustainable businesses that will contribute to the economic growth of both Malaysia and Southeast Asia in the long run.” Simon Baptist, Global Chief Economist and Managing Director, Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) in Asia pointed out that for eCommerce to develop further in Malaysia, more investment in ‘last mile’ infrastructure is still needed. “While relatively high Internet access and digital payment usage are a good foundation for eCommerce, there are some areas that need more focus. One of these is improved integration of last-mile delivery with national and international supply chains. Second, SMEs will need to engage proactively to avoid being negatively affected by the increased competition. Most businesses in Malaysia are SMEs, however only around 32% of these were using eCommerce in 2016. Awareness of eCommerce and capacity development among Malaysian SMEs, along with support for export capability, will increase the chance that they can benefit. Finally, firms and governments need to continue to make it easier to make and pay for small transactions across borders,” Baptist explained.