(L to R) Luqman Adris, CEO & Co-Founder of AVANA; YB Darell Leiking, Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Malaysia; Ms. Nicole Tan, Country Director-Malaysia, Facebook; and YBrs Ir. Dr. Mohd Shahreen Zainooreen Madros, Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE).

The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) has announced the launch of the “Made by Malaysia, Loved by the World” program that aims to assist and empower Malaysia’s SMEs to export overseas.

The program provides SMEs in Malaysia with training and resources such as online tools to help them grow their businesses globally.

In making this program a success, MATRADE partnered up with Facebook and AVANA, a Malaysian homegrown social commerce platform. The public-private relationship will help SMEs gain marketing skills they need to reach to global consumers. The facilitation include training by Facebook and AVANA in 7 cities; Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Kota Bharu, Georgetown, Johor Bahru, Alor Setar and Kuala Lumpur.

The training aims to emphasize the awareness on eTRADE Program to SMEs. The eTRADE program offers SMEs financial assistance valued at RM5000 which can be utilised for “Made by Malaysia, Loved by the World” program.

The CEO of MATRADE, Dr. Mohd Shahreen Zainooreen Madros said during the event, “I am encourage to see private sector collaboration, particularly between global and local players, to support the government’s strategic objectives. In ASEAN, e-Commerce has become increasingly important. Collectively, with 641 million people, GDP worth US$2.77 trillion and per capita income of US$4,305, the region is a huge market for e-commerce.

“Today, people have benefited a lot from digital technology so much so they can sell to the buyers in a different continent just by using their mobile phones. There are now close to 400 million mobile subscription, over 370 million people connected to the internet and over 150 million smart phones users. The number are very encouraging and are expected to increase significantly in the next few years,” he added.

E-commerce is still very much at a development stage in ASEAN. Micro, small and medium size enterprises (MSMEs) which account for over 90 percent of the business establishments in the region, mostly conduct their business in the traditional way.

Recognizing the potential and the need for MSMEs to use the strategic advantage of going digital, ASEAN government are already taking steps to facilitate the growth of e-Commerce within the region.