Alibaba.com and CBSA co-host first Open Sesame event in Malaysia to promote safe and smart online trading to small businesses.

Kuala Lumpur, October 18, 2012 – Six Malaysian entrepreneurs yesterday were honored in front of an audience of about 300 other businesspeople for their outstanding efforts in e-commerce adoption during the 2012 Open Sesame Malaysia event co-hosted by Alibaba.com and CBSA Online Sdn Bhd, its local channel sales partner. Against the backdrop of weak global demand that is weighing on small companies worldwide, these individuals have been able to weather tough market conditions and grow their businesses by embracing online trade. The recipients of Alibaba.com’s Customer Excellence Awards were Mr. Goh Kiam Teck of Altitude Technology sdn bhd; Ms. Cindy Sin of GT Max Plastic Industries (M) sdn bhd; Mr. Jenson Heng of Mapo Industries sdn bhd; Mr. Jason Chau of Method Machine Works; Mr. Zheng Hao of Federlite sdn bhd; and Mr. KT Chin of Erapoly sdn bhd. Over the past year, they outshone the rest of Alibaba.com’s Malaysian Gold Supplier members in terms of effective use of the B2B e-commerce platform to engage and conduct trade with online business buyers from around the word.

“We are glad to see that more and more of Malaysia’s small businesses, irrespective of their industry, have come to recognize the value of e-commerce in helping them grasp global trade opportunities that were previously only accessible to big players,” said Thomas Ho, Malaysia Country Manager of Alibaba.com. “Nevertheless, e-commerce is not just about having an online presence. It is proven that those companies that make a persistent effort to reach out to potential buyers with the different online tools available to them will more likely realize significant returns on their e-commerce investment. The winners of our Customer Excellence Awards have set an excellent example for other Malaysian entrepreneurs who aspire to develop a successful online business.”

The award ceremony was part of Alibaba.com’s first Open Sesame event in Malaysia, which aimed to train its Malaysian supplier members on how to take their online business to the next level and ensure safety at the same time. With the participation of a group of overseas Alibaba.com buyers who are interested in sourcing from Malaysia, the event provided an excellent opportunity for the online platform’s Malaysian Gold Supplier members to not only listen firsthand to successful online trade professionals but also benefit from face-to-face ideas exchange with the buyers.

Among the speakers of the event yesterday was Noel Vong, Senior Associate Trainer of TNI Consultancy. He discussed the importance of trust between buyers and suppliers and shed light on possible ways to enhance payment safety in global e-trade. “While e-commerce has brought us a lot of opportunities and convenience, as they would in the offline world, small businesses should remember to protect their own safety and show buyers that they are serious in order to fully enjoy the fruits of their efforts,” said Noel Vong. To help Malaysian suppliers better establish trust with overseas buyers, Alibaba.com in July introduced the Verified Membership program in Malaysia. Suppliers participating in this program undergo basic background checks to confirm that they are legitimate businesses. Those who successfully pass the verification process will gain a special logo on their Alibaba.com profiles and enjoy higher search rankings than free members. Based on Alibaba.com’s experience, the majority of buyers on the platform prefer working with verified suppliers.

The Open Sesame event also featured a panel discussion participated by two of Alibaba.com’s members, who shared their success stories in global e-commerce and tips on safe trading. During the panel discussion, CK Yeoh, CEO of AXG Industries Sdn Bhd, a Gold Supplier member of Alibaba.com, said: “Having experienced the power of the Internet in bridging homegrown suppliers like us and buyers from around the world, I believe e-commerce will continue to be a prominent trend. However, where there are opportunities, there are also hidden risks. It has become increasingly important for exporters to take real steps to safeguard their business as they are exploring e-commerce.” As of June 30, 2012, Alibaba.com had more than 700,000 registered users in Malaysia, representing a growth of 29% year-on-year. In Q3 2012, the top three industries for Malaysian suppliers, as measured by the number of buyer inquires they received on Alibaba.com from around the world, were agriculture (14%), food & beverage (7%) and health & medical (5%). Interestingly, inquiries to Malaysia have been predominantly stemming from local buyers, and there was an increase in the proportion of domestic inquiries from 19% in Q3 2011 to 22% in Q3 2012. This suggests that domestic trade is playing a relatively more important role than before for Alibaba.com’s Malaysian supplier members.

The “Open Sesame” event is part of Alibaba.com’s offline training and networking program for its community of online trade professionals. Programs vary by geographic region to suit unique market conditions and educational needs and have previously been held in cities such as Sydney, Hanoi, Mumbai, Istanbul and London.