KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 4): The Malaysian Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) is collaborating with Weibo to develop and implement a pilot Virtual City portal that will run on Weibo’s social media platform to promote Malaysian products and services.

The portal, according to MDEC in a statement yesterday, will enable China consumers to obtain information of the products and services offered by any Malaysian city, besides provide shared experiences, recommendations and useful tips with each other.

MDEC has inked a memorandum of understanding with Weibo for the pilot project.

“This collaboration between MDEC and Weibo is aimed at raising awareness and expanding the cross-border relationship with Malaysian brands and products. This will be done by leveraging on the power of China’s social media capabilities. The goal is to drive demand for Malaysian brands and catalyse cross-border e-commerce activities between Malaysia and China. It will also see the cultivation of Malaysian talents, who can specifically use the Weibo social-commerce platform,” MDEC said.

“We are excited to embark on this Virtual City collaboration with Weibo. With its extensive user-base and comprehensive content channels, the pilot will raise the awareness levels and engagement rates with the people in China; specifically on Malaysian brands and products. It can also be used to promote tourism and draw visitors from China to Malaysia,” said MDEC chief operating officer Datuk Ng Wan Peng.

“Our ultimate aim is to motivate local business owners to embrace digital technology, enabling them to access global markets. Malaysia’s presence on the Virtual City portal will open new opportunities for local businesses. This will ensure they can be a part of China’s booming eCommerce industry and provide them with unparalleled business growth,” she added.

MDEC plans to engage with key government agencies and private sectors to participate in the development and implementation of the Virtual City portal.

Tentatively set to be launched some time this year, it will be the first Virtual City in Southeast Asia and the third to be launched outside China, after London and Tokyo’s.

Weibo International General Manager Jennie So, meanwhile, said the virtual city will be a key digital bridge linking Malaysia with China via Weibo, to promote greater exchanges of economic, cultural and business interactions.

“Weibo commands a massive global user-base, especially in Southeast Asia — where digital adoption is accelerating. Virtual City aggregates a city’s key government bodies, enterprises and social influencers, through multiple Weibo-powered digital products and content features. With these advanced features, this system can create holistic city-wide brand impacts and influence uplifts,” So added.