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Investors keen on Malaysian digital economy

Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) reportedly stated that international investors and established digital economy ecosystem builders remain bullish and committed in their investments towards Malaysia’s digital economy.

This is the result of the government forging ahead with its initiatives geared towards establishing the country as ASEAN’s leading tech and digital hub.

MDEC said this as the Malaysia Tech Week 2019 (MTW19), the launch event of its #SeriouslyDigital month, registered strong interest from international and regional tech and digital companies.

The MTW19 attracted RM30 million investment inflows, demonstrating strong confidence by established ventures and investments that Malaysia is firmly on track to becoming the preferred hub of ASEAN’s digital economy.

Over 2,000 participants which included Malaysian corporations, ecosystem partners, tech start-ups, international investors, regulators and government officers were in Kuala Lumpur to share experiences, explore investment opportunities and discuss new modalities of public-private partnerships.

The MTW19 was held alongside the MyFintechWeek 2019, which was organised by Bank Negara Malaysia.

On catalysing growth in the Islamic digital economy, MDEC said a venture capital firm has announced a US$6 million (RM24.84 million) allocation to Islamic tech start-ups in ASEAN, with Malaysia chosen as the distribution hub for the fund dispersal.

This includes US$2.5 million which was committed to start-ups during the MTW19. (Moreover), China-based VC fund Gobi Partners announced a US$1 million award to IslamicMarkets.com, a platform that unlocks Islamic investment and business opportunities.

Meanwhile, Communications and Multimedia Minister stated that Malaysia has dedicated its efforts to transform digitally to create a vibrant and world-class digital economy over the past two decades.

Malaysia has long been a hub for traders, with the Straits of Melaka being favoured as a major route connecting Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Today, Malaysia has evolved to being a hub of highly skilled talent, thriving within a vibrant business ecosystem founded on world-class infrastructure.

The country continues to offer limitless opportunities for anyone who has a vision for the future and a passion to make it happen.

The Minister said that Malaysia has gone “seriously digital”, adding that the Multimedia Super Corridor’s (MSC) cumulative total investment has reached US$79 billion, with export sales worth US$39.74 billion creating a total of over 180,000 jobs.

Over 4,000 companies have been awarded the MSC Malaysia status — 74% of these companies are Malaysian-owned, while 26% of them are foreign-owned, including 180 multinational companies.

The range of programmes that MDEC curated through the MTW19 highlights the frontier technology and thinking in the ecosystem that places the country firmly as the investment and innovation destination everything tech-related and digital in ASEAN.

The support from these international companies and organisations is welcomed; OpenGov Asia reported that SMEs across Southeast Asia (SEA) are looking to invest in digital technologies within the next three years as the key enabler to drive new business propositions and user experiences, and deliver on significantly enhanced offerings.

However, they face challenges around digital talent shortage and transformation, cyber-security risks, as well as in determining how to incorporate a holistic strategy for continuous digital innovation, a report noted.

The study revealed that transformative technologies will overtake current technologies to become an investment priority in three years’ time.

Only 6.8% of Malaysia’s SMEs are at stage five of digital maturity, where organisations have a single digital platform to scale technological innovations and consider themselves digital native enterprises.

The majority of SMEs in Malaysia (62.7%) are in the early stages of digital maturity, with digitalisation programmes remaining largely unaligned with the broader enterprise strategy and multiple initiatives running in parallel across business functions.

The report noted that adopting a digital mindset goes beyond executing discrete projects within a specified timeframe.

Therefore, companies can receive support in the form of funding, expertise and technology to help them reach the fifth stage of digital maturity.

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