News Highlights: 9 February 2018

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  1. No Blanket EU Trade Ban
  2. MDEC Steps Up Efforts to Protect, Accelerate Cybersecurity Ecosystem
  3. Malaysia’s GDP To Expand 5.8 Per Cent In 2017 – Moody’s Analytics
  4. Consumer Spending to Grow By 5-6 Per Cent This Year
  5. Malaysian online shoppers prefer to shop via desktop: iPrice
  6. Coworking at DOJO KL Gains Company Access to Malaysia’s Most Affordable
  7. Employee Protection Plans from PolicyStreet
  8. Singapore’s Key Household Income Trends, 2017

No Blanket EU Trade Ban
Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said Malaysia is an open economy and the government cannot impose a blanket ban on trade with the European Union (EU). However, Malaysia can collaborate with government-linked companies to determine where to buy and sell goods amid the economic bloc’s threat to palm oil. He said a total ban would be complicated as many European companies were present in Malaysia and vice versa. He said any total ban would result in a lot of disruption to the world, including Mlaysia, as many EU companies have businesses in Malaysia, including those from Germany, the Netherlands, France, Britain and Sweden.

MDEC Steps Up Efforts to Protect, Accelerate Cybersecurity Ecosystem
Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) is stepping efforts to connect British and Malaysian industry players with a local university to further protect and accelerate Malaysia’s cybersecurity ecosystem. MDEC and United Kingdom’s Protection Group International (PGI) Ltd; MDEC and Asia Pacific University of Technology (APU); and, APU and local security solutions provider, TecForte, today exchanged partnership agreements. Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Yasmin Mahmood, said worldwide there was a shortage of over one million cybersecurity talents and Malaysia contributed about 3,000 of the unfilled positions. She said the collaborations would be able to identify gaps and pilot critical skill set development within the academia. “The moves will also help up-skill cybersecurity industry talent to produce high-income professionals,” she told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. Citing a December 2017 LinkedIn report on cybersecurity talent in Malaysia, Datuk Yasmin said only 21 per cent of them had up to just four years of experience. “It is encouraging that the study also showed that 21 per cent of cybersecurity workforce are women compared with 11 per cent in the United States,” she said.

Malaysia’s GDP To Expand 5.8 Per Cent In 2017 – Moody’s Analytics
Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) for 2017 is set to reach an impressive 5.8 per cent, stronger than the 4.2 per cent recorded in 2016, said Moody’s Analytics. The financial services company said even though the GDP grew 6.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2017 (3Q17) — its fastest pace since mid-2014 — the growth was likely to taper to 5.8 per cent y-o-y in 4Q17. “Malaysia did exceptionally well in 2017 and the fourth quarter will extend the trend. “Household consumption is upbeat at the hand of low interest rates and spillovers from the sustained upswing in the global technology cycle, lifting manufacturing and exports,” said Moody’s Analytics report. Government consumption would make a relatively reasonable contribution to GDP growth in the first quarter of 2018, ahead of the general election, scheduled to occur before May, it said.

Consumer Spending to Grow By 5-6 Per Cent This Year
Consumer spending is expected to grow by about five to six per cent this year in line with the country’s economy, said Minister of Finance II, Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani. He said Malaysia’s economy was expected to expand by between five and 5.5 per cent this year. The increase in purchasing power was due to the rise in disposable income following the government’s move to reduce individual income tax rate by two per cent in the 2018 Budget, he said. “For those in the Middle 40 per cent group, it will increase their disposable incomes which are available for spending,” he told reporters after the launch of Small and Medium Enterprises Loan/Financing referral platform in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysian online shoppers prefer to shop via desktop: iPrice
Online price comparison and regional e-commerce network iPrice Group recently presented findings from its insights on Malaysian online shoppers from its State of e-Commerce Southeast Asia 2017 report. The Malaysian edition of the report aggregates analysis of iPrice on more than 1,000 e-commerce merchants across Southeast Asia with data collected from July 2016 to June 2017. According to the report, Malaysia is on par with Singapore with 74% of e-commerce coming from mobile traffic. It has steadily increased from 62% at Q3 of 2016 to 74% in Q2 of 2017. In terms of the conversion rate (the visits by customers that ultimately result in a purchase), Malaysia is 10% lower when compared to other countries. Like Indonesia, Malaysians primarily browse products on their mobile devices but make their decision when using their desktops at home. The total conversion rate on the desktop is 137% higher when compared to mobile. Strangely, e-commerce merchants, suffer a dip of up to 30% of their conversion rates over the weekend, which is consistent across the region. Meanwhile, the average online order value or basket size stands at US$54 (RM210.90). Interestingly online shoppers in Malaysia are shopping for items that are 3.8% more expensive on desktops than on their mobile. Finally, looking at popular payment methods used in Malaysia, the report stated that virtually 100% of e-commerce merchants accept payments via credit card while 50% of merchants accept payments via bank transfer. The least popular payment method is offline Point of Sales (POS), typically performed at convenience stores, at just 10%.

Coworking at DOJO KL Gains Company Access to Malaysia’s Most Affordable Employee Protection Plans from PolicyStreet
DOJO, a 7000 sq. ft. coworking space in the Kuala Lumpur city centre, has partnered Insurtech PolicyStreet, an online insurance marketplace to enable DOJO coworking members to enjoy employee protection plans in Malaysia. DOJO Co-founder, Jack Chan said, “As advocates of innovative, forward-thinking design, we want to commit to our future creators. Malaysian SMEs are the backbone of the economy and startups are going to be the growth engine of this country. However, most do not have the means to offer same level of perks offered by corporates to their employees, and insurance coverage for employees is one of them. That is why we are proud to collaborate with PolicyStreet, DOJO wants to help level the playing field in talent recruitment and also allow the startups to safeguard their biggest assets, human talent. By providing flexibility and competitiveness to startups and SMEs, DOJO is one step closer to serving the end users of commercial real estate. To nurture their talent and help our creators grow, DOJO, in partnership with PolicyStreet, provides the most affordable option for employee protection plan in Malaysia to DOJO members so that they can compete more aggressively in the market.”

Singapore’s Key Household Income Trends, 2017
Singapore’s median household income from work grew in 2017, according to the “Key Household Income Trends, 2017” paper released by the Singapore Department of Statistics today. Among resident employed households, median monthly household income from work increased by 2.0 per cent in nominal terms from $8,846 in 2016 to $9,023 in 2017, or 1.5 per cent in real terms. From 2012 to 2017, median monthly household income from work of resident employed households rose by 15.5 per cent cumulatively in real terms or 2.9 per cent per annum. After accounting for household size, median monthly household income from work per household member grew by 4.5 per cent in nominal terms from $2,584 in 2016 to $2,699 in 2017, or 3.9 per cent in real terms. From 2012 to 2017, real growth in median monthly household income per household member was 22.9 per cent cumulatively or 4.2 per cent per annum.

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