The International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) aims to bring approximately 10,000 companies onboard the Digital Free-Trade Zone (DFTZ) e-commerce platform by the end of 2018.
This is following the 1,998 companies it brought on board last November. According to the New Straits Times, Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said interest among local and international e-commerce players increased ever since the launch of the DTFZ. He added that MITI will ensure the sustainability of the DFTZ-listed small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and help more SMEs to list on the platform to ensure they are "future-ready" and able to break into cross-border e-commerce.
Quoting statistics from the Department of Statistics Malaysia, he said that the digital economy account for 18.2% of Malaysia's economy in 2016. Meanwhile, the share of e-commerce in the national gross domestic product increased from 5.9% in 2015 to 6.1% in 2016.
Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed described the last two years as "exciting" for e-commerce, adding that nine out of 10 Malaysian businesses were SMEs. About 28% had an online presence, while 15% leveraged that presence for export purposes, the New Straits Times reported.
Meanwhile, Datuk Yasmin Mahmood, CEO, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) said it aims to expand the DFTZ in 2018 beyond the Alibaba platform. The New Straits Times reported that MDEC is targeting 11Street, Lazada and Aladdin Street to focus on exporting into Southeast Asian markets. Datuk Yasmin Mahmood added that this year's vision will revolve around the expansion of DFTZ to include trade by sea. The first phase of this expansion will include locations within the country, such as Bukit Kayu Hitam and Port Klang.