Rakuten says it is encouraged by initiatives to grow the ecosystem to support the expansion of e-commerce in Malaysia
Malaysia is an attractive market owing to its economic stability and well-equipped infrastructure for the development of e-commerce, including internet, logistic and online payment facilities. The growth forecast of between 4.5% to 5.5% in 2013 indicates a positive economy ahead and we foresee an exciting environment for the further development of e-commerce in Malaysia.
We believe the key measures presented by the Prime Minister during the tabling of the 2013 Malaysian Budget will ensure a sustainable economy that is critical in moving Malaysia towards a high-income and developed nation.
Notably, Rakuten applauds the fund of RM1 billion under the SME Development Scheme to intensify the growth and development of small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs), which form a huge segment of businesses in Malaysia. To this end, there is a strong potential to help SMEs in Malaysia grow by bringing their businesses online.
We welcome the allocation under the Get Malaysian Business Online Programme (GMBO) which aims at assisting up to 50,000 entrepreneurs, particularly women. Not only would this be a catalyst for more budding entrepreneurs to start businesses online, it would also encourage existing entrepreneurs to utilise e-commerce as a tool for business expansion.
We are pleased with the Government’s continued emphasis on increasing broadband and smartphone penetration rate in Malaysia, which is one of the factors that underpinned our confidence in the market. By enabling greater internet access through some of the combined measures outlined in the national budget, more Malaysians will be able to benefit from various internet services including online shopping. This would certainly have a positive impact in making Malaysia an attractive market for e-commerce. Among ASEAN, the market presents Rakuten a bright opportunity with the encouraging online shopping trends observed in Malaysia where studies have shown that Malaysians spend on average RM2,461 per person on online shopping in a year.
Overall, the 2013 Malaysian Budget reaffirms Rakuten’s market entry into Malaysia as our first greenfield investment that forms part of our global e-commerce expansion. We are greatly encouraged by the initiatives and development plans to help create and grow the necessary ecosystem to support the expansion of e-commerce in Malaysia.
Rakuten brings a unique approach to the local e-commerce sector, introducing the Business-to-Business-to-Consumer (B2B2C) model set to empower merchants with the right e-commerce platform, tools and know-how they need to benefit from online business. As the only industry player that adopts this model here, we have the first mover advantage in Malaysia to offer a unique yet effective approach to local retailers. We believe our experience in pioneering Rakuten Ichiba and growing it to be the largest online shopping mall in Japan with over 39,000 merchants serves as an invaluable asset to our plans here in Malaysia.
 Online and Mobile Shopping Insights, PayPal & The Nielsen Company (2011)
The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.
Photo credit: Flickr user Andrea Crisante