Minister of International Trade and Industry, Dato Sri Mustapa Mohamed said Malaysia’s digital economy has seen exponential growth over the years. “To date, 58,824 online businesses have already registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia. Latest numbers from the Department of Statistics Malaysia also indicate that the digital economy accounted for 18.2% of the country’s GDP in 2016 while the share of eCommerce in the national GDP has increased to 6.1% compared to 5.9% in 2015. Nine out of 10 business establishments in Malaysia are SMEs. Twenty eight percent of these have online presence and 15% already use that presence for export purposes. The Government is committed to undertake initiatives that will further push these numbers. The launch of the DFTZ Pilot Project by the Prime Minister last year also saw growing interest among local and international eCommerce players. The Government will work towards ensuring the sustainability of the 1,998 SMEs that are already DFTZ-listed, and assist more SMEs to list on the same, in line with the national aspiration of ensuring SMEs are future-ready and equipped to venture into cross-border eCommerce,” he added. Dato Sri Mustapa was speaking at the Malaysia Digital Economy Forum themed “Transforming Business and Society through eCommerce” in Kuala Lumpur. Hosted jointly by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the Forum was attended by some 3,000 participants, mostly SMEs and logistics players in the digital business ecosystem as well as members of the public. Fifty-three exhibitors from various eCommerce segments, including eMarketplaces, telco players, payment solution providers, logistics and fulfillment players, Chambers of Commerce and associations; as well as online sellers including SMEs, participated in the Forum. Dato’ Sri Mustapa also highlighted that “The DFTZ is already a success in institutionalising some of the trade facilitation measures undertaken by the government. These include reduced cargo clearance time from six to three hours in KLIA Air-Cargo Terminal 1 (KACT1), KLIA as well as further simplified documentation procedures. Going forward, the DFTZ could be the first of many more institutionalised trade facilitation measures expanded to other parts of the country, which will only serve to facilitate local businesses sourcing from third country markets.” Speaking at the event, Datuk Yasmin Mahmood, CEO, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) said, “The Forum highlights the government’s efforts to promote digital transformation across the most important sector – the SMEs. SME development will remain a key focus area under the Government’s digital transformation agenda. The DFTZ initiative is a game changer for our digital economy that will focus on providing a state-of-the-art platform which gives convenience for SMEs to conduct their businesses and services. This will ensure that the DFTZ will allow equal opportunities to Malaysian SMEs and focus on encouraging them to penetrate the export market and improve our cross-border efficiency,” “This year, we will take this vision further by focusing on DFTZ’s expansion to include trade by sea, changing the global trade market. The first phase of this expansion will include locations within Malaysia, such as Port Klang and Bukit Kayu Hitam,” she further added. According to Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation’s (MATRADE) Chief Executive Officer Ir. Dr. Mohd Shahreen Madros, the DFTZ is set to boost Malaysian companies’ participation in export. “The current contribution of 18.6% in export by SMEs is still relatively small considering SMEs making up 98.5% of business establishments in Malaysia. We are confident the DFTZ will be a catalyst to increase this contribution to 23% or more by 2020. Complementing the physical and soft infrastructure provided through DFTZ is our eTRADE Programme, incepted in 2014 to push Malaysian companies’ exports through eCommerce platforms. In 2017, of the 1,998 companies recruited under the DFTZ initiative, 1,378 are eTRADE participants,” he said. During the Forum, a number of SMEs were also recognised for their success in expanding their businesses into third country markets, through the use of eCommerce. “In a digitised world, SMEs today have no other option but must establish their presence in eCommerce with the ultimate goal of exporting their products and services across border. SMEs must quickly shape up and align themselves to the opportunities that are abound in a digitalised world and make a significant presence in the global market”, said Datuk (Dr.) Hafsah Hashim, Chief Executive Officer, SME Corp. Malaysia.