KUALA LUMPUR (May 5):- E-commerce’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to rise this year on increased consumer confidence in digital transactions amid the Movement Control Order, said MDEC chief operating officer Ng Wan Peng.

She noted that under the National e-Commerce Strategic Roadmap, e-commerce was estimated to record a 20% growth rate this year to RM170 billion.

“We believe that this (growth) may be higher due to the change in consumer behaviour. Even after the MCO, consumer behaviour should still remain as it is — people would still prefer to buy online — so we are poised to achieve our target,” she told reporters at the e-Dagang Expo (eDX) virtual press conference here today.

In 2018, e-commerce made up only about eight per cent of the GDP, amounting to RM150 billion, and it has grown since, especially during the MCO period.

MDEC chief executive officer Surina Shukri said the 2019 e-commerce figures were still being verified; however, the numbers seemed encouraging with the emerging trends in consumer behaviour that saw an increase in confidence from the consumer and business standpoints.

“People are trying to go digital and see it is quite easy to do so, and this is very encouraging.

“We are now very focused on scaling the (digital) initiatives to upgrade the ability and upscale everybody in this area,” she said.

eDX, running from May 4 to 8, 2020, is a free, virtual event hosted by its Go e-Commerce platform, designed to accelerate business readiness, adoption of electronic business tools and advance capabilities of micro-entrepreneurs, startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) alike.

Surina said during the MCO, it was a pleasant surprise to see the high level of cooperation and coordination among industry peers in trying to achieve the same goals.

“The collaborations that we’re seeing are very encouraging as we are now very focused on scaling the (digital) initiatives to upgrade the ability and upscale everybody in the area,” she said.

She said the government had tried to nurture e-commerce since 2017, through the National e-Commerce Strategic Roadmap with the help of ministries and agencies, particularly SME Corp, the International Trade and Industry Ministry and its agencies such as the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA).

“E-commerce has been identified as an essential service during MCO, as going digital has become a norm and an enabler during this time,” said Surina.

Surina said for the nation to achieve a digital superpower status, it would depend on connectivity as well as the digital tools to be connected.

“In business, that is the reason why we have e-commerce — to enable companies and businesses to connect directly to their customers.

“Our goal is to give the necessary information to as many people, businesses and entrepreneurs as possible to enable them to go online,” she said.

eDX is the first-of-its-kind initiative aimed at engaging with businesses nationwide. 

eDX will see a series of free webinar and panellist sessions covering key topics, tips and tricks of the e-commerce trade and inspirational success stories.