Shape the future of MSMEs with a solid online presence

Establishing an online business presence is the future for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to expand their reach locally and globally for future sustainability, said Datuk Hasnul Fadhly Hasan, CEO of MYNIC Bhd (MYNIC).

MYNIC is an agency of the Malaysian Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (K-KOMM) that manages and sells Internet country code top-level domains for Malaysia under the domain (.my). It manages nine domain name categories namely .my,,,,,,, and .name. My.

Hasnul said it is important for MSME, or any business in general, to address the adoption of digital premises as building an online business presence is the future for customer reach and sustainability.

I’ve noticed that it’s become a habit for consumers to use search engines to find anything interesting. The search engine then helps the public find the information they need and redirects users to relevant websites, social media accounts, or shopping platforms. By establishing a digital premise on the internet, merchants can find customers and vice versa.

“Social media is a digital billboard. We have a physical billboard in real life, we have a virtual billboard that is social media. That’s where dealers find customers,” he told SunBiz.

“So if you’re not online, how are you going to grow your business? Not only locally but also internationally, so don’t miss this opportunity while other people benefit. Grab it, get in quick and hopefully that will allow you to sustain your business going forward,” he urged.

Meanwhile, MYNIC has launched PRIME (Program Realisasi Impian Ekonomi Digital), which offers 20,000 eligible MSMEs a free subscription for one year with its digital branding of the domain (with GO2 Brand Standard) and includes basic website tutorials and guides. The program is still open for applications and participation is subject to company approval.

Hasnul said that three goals of PRIME are to create awareness of the importance of having that digital brand, identity or space; provide a platform; and human capital development. I added that the company works with many private and public institutions. MYNIC is currently working with around 50 agencies in the program to ensure people move from offline to online.

Additionally, he said the company has another program called Cerita .MY Saya that highlights the success stories of attendees or alumnus who have inherited an online business presence from an offline business. I’ve noticed that anyone can do it and their students are happy to share their experiences. The program involves going from state to state to communicate the success stories.

“We had a story in Jasin, Malacca. They built loyang, the mold for cooking, so it was just a normal family business in the area. But when they got online within a few months, they started exporting it. Once they go online, the world basically sees them. When the world finds this product, the world can see it. Before then, no one can see them except those who know about them in the area or through word of mouth. So that’s the power of the internet, and that’s why we need to showcase these people. Don’t think just because you’re selling something local doesn’t mean it won’t have a widespread customer base.”

I added that another example of a successful user is a paraplegic or special needs person who has developed a portable ride device that is approved by the Road Transport Department or JPJ. So far I have only used online shopping platforms and social media. Within two months of launching a .MY domain, his website reached 116,000 visitors. His sales from him, which ranged from 8,000 to 10,000 RM monthly, tripled to 25,000-30,000 RM monthly, reaching 100,000 RM in May 2021.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a challenging time for many people, including small business owners, but acceptance of domain names and online businesses increased locally and globally as movement restrictions became an opportunity for businesses to find creative ways to market and sell their products and services.

“The path to a global digital economy is certain. It’s only a matter of time. The pandemic has prompted our populations and entrepreneurs to start establishing an online presence sooner than expected. Because of this, we are seeing strong growth in online businesses. And in the endemic stage, they continue this journey as well,” he emphasized.

As for the prospects for the industry, he said that the domain registration business is showing steady growth of 5-7% annually. There are currently around 600 million domains worldwide, and the trend is rising.

“It’s a very good deal…it has a lot of potential and can continue to grow over time,” Hasnul said.

Going forward, MYNIC would like to increase its local efforts for Cerita. MY Saya to create awareness and engagement locally as well as establish a better outreach program for community engagement with its alumnus.

“So there’s always going to be this engagement with the alumnus, what’s new, what are the trends, what are the things that they need to learn so they can adapt and move forward in the global digital economy. So those are the two main things that we really need to focus on in order to achieve internet (domain) adoption of Malaysians,” he said.

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$!Shaping the future of MSME with a solid online presence Shape the future of MSMEs with a solid online presence

Andrew Schnitker

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