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Malaysia and Australia Keen to Promote Tech Partnerships

The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysia’s lead agency in digital transformation, in collaboration with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) had recently called on tech companies from both countries to participate in a virtual event that outlined programmes and initiatives which aim to boost bilateral digital trade and investment via the Australia-Malaysia Tech Exchange (AMTX). The webinar took place on 6 May 2021.

The announcement follows the comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in December 2020 which is a core component of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) jointly announced as the elevation of diplomatic relations between both countries at the Australia-Malaysia Leaders’ Virtual Summit in January 2021 by both our Prime Ministers.

The MDEC CEO stated, “Australia is an important trading partner and we are looking forward to building closer bilateral trade relations in the areas of digital trade and investment via this programme. We are committed to providing our utmost support to strengthen the tech ecosystems in both countries for mutual success. Effective collaboration will improve innovation as we look to stimulate the growth of the digital economy in line with the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL).”

To further enable the entry and expansion of Australian tech companies into Malaysian markets, MDEC offers the Malaysian Tech Entrepreneur Programme (MTEP) which provides a one-year pass to new entrepreneurs and a five-year pass to established ones. Moreover, the Malaysia Digital Hub (MDH) programme is also available to provide support with co-working spaces, thereby easing the market entry process.

MDEC and Austrade have also set up a one-stop platform to provide assistance and guidance to tech companies looking to make Malaysia their base for expansion into the wider ASEAN region and beyond. Interested companies will only need to fill up a form here and MDEC will revert accordingly to provide the necessary support.

It was noted that Austrade sees AMTX as a business-focused platform to support and enhance public-private partnerships between tech service providers and larger corporates with support from both Australian and Malaysian governments. The MDEC Vice President of the Digitally-Powered Businesses division noted that the agency is confident they can mutually benefit and grow both nations’ digital economies by creating an equitable, inclusive and technologically integrated society in line with Malaysia 5.0.

AMTX was introduced to drive digital collaboration among tech companies from both nations, facilitate and create pathways for bilateral trade and investment in the digital economy, provide platforms and avenues for collaboration and innovation in the digital economy reducing digital trade barriers and promote consistent and open digital trade rules in the region.

Both nations have cooperated closely on digital trade and investment for decades. Australian investments in Malaysia from 1997 to 2018, via the Multimedia Super Corridor, totalled RM2.53 billion (US$617 million), with 41 active companies in the market. Australian tech companies are drawn to Malaysia by its strategic location, attractive business environment, and reliable infrastructure.

Australia is a key market for many Malaysian tech companies for expansion, with the country being a key market for testing products before a European or North American expansion. In recent years, 11 Malaysian tech companies having been listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), making the country an appealing business destination.

Since its inception, MDEC’s market access programme has formed partnerships with over 200 parties globally and forged over 800 business matching opportunities for its portfolio companies. All of this has resulted in over US$1 Billion in digital export revenue. This new MoU will build upon that success and further strengthen the digital relationship between the two countries.

To date, MSC Malaysia has attracted a cumulative RM345 billion investments, creating close to 185,000 jobs. This mostly came from multinationals that have opened their global business services and regional operations here in Malaysia. Malaysia is also ranked second in ASEAN and 26th globally in the recent IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2020.

Malaysia’s diversified multi-lingual and digitally-skilled talent pool; ready infrastructure and thriving digital economy ecosystem has led it to be recognised as a first-mover for the high-value digital business services in the region.

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