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Enabling growth beyond borders

If there’s one takeaway from Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd founder and executive chairman Jack Ma’s recent visit to Malaysia, it’s that SMEs and the younger generation are better positioned than ever to tap into crossborder e-commerce.

Global e-commerce is projected to exceed the US$4 tril (RM15.99 tril) mark by 2020, according to market research company eMarketer. As the sector continues to make big strides, it is also changing the way global trade is done.

Thanks to Internet technology and e-commerce platforms, it is also becoming increasingly easy to get one’s business online and tap into a wider demographic of customers worldwide.

And local SMEs must look outwards for growth. Globalization is picking up pace and China’s imports will grow exponentially, in tandem with its population boom in the near future, says Ma, adding that globalization and competition is a given.

In the next five years, the economic powerhouse will import US$8 trillion of goods. Its rising middle income population has already exceeded 300 mil and is set to grow to 500 mil in 10 to 15 years, meaning that it could import at least US$24 tril during the period.

“I think our job [Malaysia and the electronic world trade platform (eWTP)] is to address how we can enable Malaysia’s small businesses to benefit from this volume of import.


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