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May 28, 2024 -Tuesday


Wednesday 11/10/2023

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 (Bernama) -- The envisioned digital landscape of Malaysia, represented as a bountiful orchard, is being swayed by the encroaching storm of global e-commerce platforms, which are pivotal yet potentially disruptive.
Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil’s thoughtful considerations about TikTok Shop underscore valid concerns, drawing parallels with Indonesia’s recent ban due to issues of predatory pricing and data security.
e-Commerce Malaysia, a chapter of the National Tech Association of Malaysia (PIKOM), firmly believes in not merely seeking shelter but shoring up our orchard’s resilience to benefit from the rain while safeguarding our fruits from violent storms. Banning TikTok Shop would severely affect numerous local SMEs, creators and e-commerce enablers.
Banning TikTok Shop, like what Indonesia has done, also inadvertently restrains the growth and reach of our local businesses, especially the micro SMEs which constitute a significant 78.4% of businesses in our nation.
TikTok Shop has catalysed a seismic shift in ‘social commerce’, connecting creators and businesses directly with consumers for e-commerce. It is one of the most significant e-commerce innovations witnessed in recent decades, intertwining social media and online trading in a manner reminiscent, yet surpassing, the transformative wave initiated by marketplace platforms like eBay decades ago.
It has seamlessly integrated content creation with commerce, providing a novel, accessible and engaging platform for SMEs, creators and e-commerce enablers to converge and thrive.
Against this backdrop, Malaysia’s digital marketplace narrative is distinct from our regional neighbours, such as Indonesia, which boasts several giant, locally-owned marketplaces.
Given that prominent e-commerce marketplaces operating in Malaysia, such as Lazada and Shopee, are foreign-owned, outright bans on others could potentially stifle the entrepreneurial spirit among the rakyat and local businesses. This scenario particularly impacts the B40 demographic adversely by limiting accessible platforms to sell their goods.
Hence, e-Commerce Malaysia calls for the elephant in the room to be addressed – which is specifically TikTok Shop’s role and responsibility in our local business environment.
Just like an elephant making its way through the forest, TikTok Shop has a big impact on our local SMEs, creators and e-commerce enablers.
It is more than just a shop in our marketplace. Rather, TikTok Shop is a giant that can help shape and grow our business community. So, it is crucial that it does not just wander through, but actively helps nurture and strengthen the environment it has become a part of.
e-Commerce Malaysia's recommendations include:

· Community Engagement: TikTok Shop should actively engage with industry associations, creator communities and e-commerce enablers on local policies including revenue sharing policies before unilaterally determining and making decisions on such policies which may detrimentally affect the local business climate and TikTok Shop’s reputation in the community.

· Upholding and Fostering Local Capacities: TikTok Shop should prioritise the capacity building of local creators and e-commerce enablers over foreign ones through workshops, training and platform tools that enable local players to navigate and leverage the digital market effectively and ethically.

· Community Investment: TikTok Shop should also partner with local communities, industry associations and government agencies to co-fund capacity development programmes for local creators and SMEs that enhance the capabilities and competitiveness of local entities.

· Prioritisation of Local Brands and Enablers: TikTok Shop should prioritise local brands and e-commerce enablers over foreign owned ones by ensuring that local consumer traffic are channelled to local brands and e-commerce enablers rather than foreign owned ones.

At its end, the Government, while keeping a firm eye on local interests, can then craft policies that do not solely exclude global platforms like TikTok Shop, but rather encourage them to weave constructive community investment and involvement into their operational fabric.

This ensures that while they extract value from our markets, they simultaneously infuse beneficial resources, knowledge and opportunities back into our local economies. Such measures include:

· Balanced Regulatory Measures: Envision our digital marketplace as a communal dining table, where local and foreign entities share the feast of e-commerce. Our policies should function as equitable serving rules, preventing any entity from monopolising the spread with predatory pricing or jeopardising consumer data protection. Rather than blocking seats, let’s ensure that every participant respects the dining etiquette, contributing to – and not exploiting – our vibrant Digital Economy and “eating our lunch”.

· Inclusivity in Prosperity: Devise strategies that ensure the economic benefits trickling from global platforms are distributed equitably among local entities, particularly safeguarding and empowering the B40 segment and which includes rural communities and sellers from the kampung.
e-Commerce Malaysia and PIKOM envision a future where global and local digital entities coexist and collaborate, each reinforcing the other towards a thriving, equitable and sustainable Digital Economy. TikTok Shop and similar platforms can be instrumental in amplifying the reach and capabilities of our local entities, provided their operations are tightly aligned with the well-being of our Digital Economy.
In carving out a digital future, policies should not only shield but also skilfully utilise global innovations to nurture and elevate our local digital landscape. We unreservedly extend our expertise and advocacy, pledging to work hand-in-hand with the government and international platforms.
Our collective effort aims to persistently nurture a future where Malaysia stands robustly positioned within the global digital arena, benefiting our economy and societal development in this thriving digital age.

Yours sincerely,

Ganesh Kumar Bangah
Chair of e-Commerce Malaysia, a chapter of PIKOM
Advisor to PIKOM

Source: e-Commerce Malaysia, A Chapter of PIKOM

Name: Ong Kian Yew
Email: / 




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