Facebook has launched the second phase of its Made by Malaysia, Loved by the World programme, in collaboration with Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), AVANA and a new partner DHL Express Malaysia. The programme aims to train 1,000 SMEs in seven cities across Malaysia. DHL Express’ global expertise and insights would complement the programme by helping SMEs navigate the complexities of international trade.
Country director for Facebook Malaysia, Nicole Tan (pictured centre), said the company wants to enable connections, not just transactions.
“With more than 2.2 billion people on Facebook worldwide, our goal is to help SMEs find people who share the same passion for their products and services,” she said.
Tan added that 87 million people on Facebook worldwide are connected to an SME Page on Facebook in Malaysia, and as people’s preferences and purchases become more global, there is “tremendous opportunity” for Malaysian SMEs to find new customers beyond borders.
There are 907,065 establishments of SMEs in Malaysia, making up 98.5% of business entities in the country, Facebook said quoting SME Info. SMEs alone contributed RM435.1 billion to the Malaysian economy in 2017 with a real gross domestic product growth of 7.2% compared with 2016’s 5.2%. With this, Facebook said SMEs are expected to assume a greater role, not only as an enabler but as a key driver for growth going forward.
However, the biggest challenge posed against the Malaysia government is the race to close the gap with more technologically advanced Asian economies such as China and Japan. In efforts to thrust Malaysia forward into the fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0), the government recently introduced an “industry forward” grant to give SMEs guarantees of RM500,000, or 70%, of investment costs as an incentive to invest in automation and modernisation, Facebook said quoting SME Magazine.
According to Facebook’s Future of Business Survey, 97% of SMEs on Facebook in Malaysia say that knowing how to promote products digitally, including on social media, is important to their business. Also, 85% of SMEs on Facebook in Malaysia say that they use online tools and social networks to show products and services to customers.
Meanwhile, nine in 10 female business owners on Facebook in Malaysia say that social media is helpful to their business, while one in 5 SMEs on Facebook in Malaysia say that they trade internationally.
These insights offered Facebook a glimpse on how it can help Malaysian SMEs boost their business reach and goals, especially in the export market. As such, it is working with MATRADE and Avana to provide SMEs in Malaysia with adequate training and resources in order to grow their businesses internationally.