News Snippets: 5 July 2018

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Highlights:

  1. Matrade encourages SMEs to be part of its initiatives
  2. Malaysia-China trade, investments unaffected by ECRL suspension
  3. Constant interest in Singapore high-end properties by Malaysians
  4. IDEA Accelerator Graduates Emerge as Agents of Change
  5. CCCS Finds Grab/Uber merger has lessened competition substantially

Matrade encourages SMEs to be part of its initiatives
The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) is encouraging small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to participate aggressively in the various initiatives undertaken by the trade promotion agency in order to boost their business. Deputy Chief Executive Officer Sharimahton Mat Saleh said financial assistance offered under the Market Development Grant (MDG), for example, could help SMEs realise their goal to expand further. “This year, the MDG allocation has been raised to RM40 million compared with RM27 million and RM35 million in 2017 and 2016, respectively,” she said. The incentive is one of the initiatives undertaken by MATRADE to help SMEs become active e-commerce participants and to eventually turn them into exporters. “We want SMEs to play a bigger role in the economy. As of now, only 18.6 per cent of our SMEs are exporters and our target is to increase that number to 23 per cent by 2020,” she added.

Malaysia-China trade, investments unaffected by ECRL suspension
Minister of International Trade and Industry, Darell Leiking said, any decision taken in relation to the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) will not affect trade and investment relations between Malaysia and China. “Malaysia is still the main hub that everybody wants to engage with,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur after attending a “Tech Tarik Talk” session with industry players on Industry Revolution 4.0.

Constant interest in Singapore high-end properties by Malaysians
Upper-class Malaysians have continuously been interested in purchasing high-end residences in Singapore even when the ringgit was weakening against the republic’s currency over the years. GuocoLand (Singapore) Pte Ltd Group Managing Director Cheng Hsing Yao said strong interest was also shown in the company’s two iconic projects, Wallich Residence and Martin Modern. “Malaysian buyers see Singapore properties as a good investment opportunity. Everyone is interested to acquire a piece of property here, ” he told Bernama. He added that currency fluctuations was not a determining factor as Singapore was a natural business hub in Southeast Asia due to its strategic location. The ringgit depreciated against the Singapore dollar from late 2015 to hit an all-time low of RM3.18 against to the dollar in April last year.

IDEA Accelerator Graduates Emerge as Agents of Change
The Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) celebrated the completion of the first cohort of MaGIC’s IDEA Accelerator with a Demo Day where 29 impact driven enterprises (IDEs) and social enterprises (SEs) presented their refined ideas to investors, corporations, government agencies, and MaGIC Impact Partners. IDEA Accelerator Programme aims to provide early-stage IDEs and SEs with the opportunity to pilot their idea, strengthen their business model, solidify their impact delivery models, and secure capital through fundraising. MaGIC’s IDEA Accelerator Programme is structured on a build, validate, and learn cycle that requires participants to refine and develop their ideas into practical businesses that are impact driven. Over the past six weeks, handpicked participants were exposed to the programme’s rigorous curriculum that focuses on seven topics: lean execution, gaining traction, guerilla marketing, fundraising masterclass, business model creation, pitch perfect, and demo day. Ashran Dato’ Ghazi, Chief Executive Officer at MaGIC, said: “We are seeing a rise in the number of entrepreneurs who are in the business to make an impact to the society or the environment. We have been greatly encouraged by the number of driven change-makers here in Malaysia who are taking it upon themselves to improve the world around them. We now hope to unleash you as agents of change into Malaysia’s business community where you will play a pivotal role in the larger transformation journey of Malaysia.”

CCCS Finds Grab/Uber merger has lessened competition substantially
The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) has issued a Proposed Infringement Decision (PID) against Grab and Uber in relation to the sale of Uber’s Southeast Asian business to Grab. In the PID, CCCS has provisionally found that the Transaction has led to a substantial lessening of competition in the provision of chauffeured point-to-point transport platform services in Singapore. CCCS has provisionally found that the Transaction has removed competition between Grab and Uber, which were each other’s closest competitor. The merged entity is likely to be able to increase prices and has in fact done so since the completion of the Transaction.

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