Alibaba pledges to help Malaysian MSMEs

PETALING JAYA:, the wholesale arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, has reaffirmed its commitment to helping Malaysia’s micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the global digital economy.

In today’s fast-paced digital world, the question is no longer whether a company should use online channels to grow its business, but how and to what extent. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards e-commerce and digital solutions, and businesses that don’t adapt risk being left behind.

Nianci Phang (Picture), a Malaysian-born woman who leads’s marketing and business development in Asia Pacific, has a deep passion for e-commerce and technology.

Her skills, acquired over a decade in the e-commerce and technology industries, are used to help Malaysian MSMEs identify opportunities to expand their global reach, particularly in the business-to-business (B2B ) Ecommerce.

“I take great pride in my work because when I help MSMEs export better and faster through the e-commerce platform, I directly contribute to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). However, if we look at the overall MSME contribution to exports, it is still quite a small part,” she said in an interview with SunBiz in conjunction with International Women’s Day, which has a global theme #DigitALL.

She understands that there are challenges for these MSMEs when it comes to embracing B2B e-commerce.

“Unfortunately, many of these companies are intimidated by e-commerce, especially in the B2B space. While we, as everyday consumers, are happy to use digital technology to shop for ourselves, the supply chain is a different story.

“Many MSMEs are struggling to embrace B2B e-commerce and don’t know where to start. This is especially true for smaller companies, where the challenges of going global can seem insurmountable. It is clear that these businesses need guidance and support to develop effective strategies to expand their reach and thrive in the digital marketplace,” she said.

Traditionally, global trade has been dominated by big players with many resources. However, the internet and e-commerce have lowered the barriers to entry for small and medium-sized businesses.

Nianci emphasized that it is important for any company, regardless of its size, to plan for the future how its online channels will develop.

“Our platform empowers small and medium-sized businesses by connecting them to global buyers through efficient online channels and reducing reliance on traditional methods such as trade shows and factory visits. While we recognize the importance of larger companies, we prioritize supporting small businesses.

“The beauty of ecommerce is that you don’t typically need a large team to support your online business. What you need is to upskill and retrain your existing team with eCommerce operation skills, which may differ from the skills they have, especially if they have a more traditional approach to business.

“That’s why we’ve partnered with MDEC and Matrade to offer help and support,” she said. has partnered with Matrade and MDEC for the Pandemic Recovery Support Program to help the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) build their cross-border e-commerce capabilities. They have also launched an Online Halal Pavilion to help Malaysian SMEs strengthen their position in the international Halal market as buyers of Halal products are increasingly turning to e-commerce. Alibaba pledges to help Malaysian MSMEs

Andrew Schnitker

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