THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 2017, KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) through its export brand awareness campaign called Beyond Nations is urging Malaysian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to integrate export in their business operations, following a relatively low contribution in export by the SMEs despite making up 97.3 per cent of business establishments in Malaysia.
Currently, the export contribution among SMEs stood at 17.8 per cent and this figure is set to rise to 23 per cent by year 2020, according to the SME Masterplan. Additionally, the role of SMEs is crucial to the economy and social development as they contribute to nearly 36 per cent of the Malaysia's Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and 65 per cent of the country's employment.
According to MATRADE's Chief Executive Officer Ir. Dr. Mohd Shahreen Zainooreen Madros, SMEs have to take part in export to ensure the sustenance of their business, especially when Malaysia is driving the agenda of globalisation. "Despite the huge number of SMEs (over 900,000), most still do not include export in their business. There is an abundance of business opportunities overseas. ASEAN alone, our closest neighbour, has a market of 625 million people. China, which is our biggest trading partner has a market of 1.4 billion people and India, our emerging trading partner, has a market size of 1.3 billion people. Not to mention the other big markets such as the USA, Latin America, Europe and Africa – all of which offer billions of consumer database for our SMEs," he said at the Beyond Nations Public Contest prize-giving ceremony held at Menara MATRADE today.
MATRADE through its registry has over 19,000 registered members who are manufacturers, service providers, trading companies, contract manufacturers, trade associations as well as co-operatives, and 48 per cent are exporting. "We would like to invite all Malaysian SMEs to register as a MATRADE member to be the first to know the latest programmes by MATRADE and to be updated with export opportunities from around the world," Ir. Dr. Mohd Shahreen said. He added that MATRADE's 47 global trade offices will also be able to help link local SMEs with potential business partners from over 6 continents.
"The international buyers find our brands interesting and unique. They appreciate our local values and find them a good business proposition to attracting buyers in their respective market. Around the world, out of over 200 nations, Malaysia is the world's top 23 exporting nation and top 24 trading nation. That is impressive for a small country like Malaysia with a population of 30 million people, and proof that Malaysian companies have what it takes to compete globally," Ir. Dr. Mohd Shahreen mentioned.
MATRADE as Malaysia's export promotion agency offers exporters development programmes and organise export promotion activities. The former helps to build companies' capacity in export while the later provides access to market and global business networks. The agency under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) works hand-in-hand with other MITI agencies such as SME Corp, Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and SME Bank to execute its initiatives.
The Beyond Nations brand awareness campaign was launched by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak in September 2016 with the aim of creating a stronger awareness on export and making export a common business value for all SMEs. "It functions to promote the inspiration and aspiration of going beyond borders, beyond the local SMEs' mindset and to breakthrough out of their comfort zone into a vast overseas market; simply by taking a first step, going beyond Malaysia and eventually beyond nations," Ir. Dr. Mohd Shahreen shared.
MATRADE has recently introduced a public contest with the objective of engaging with the community where the public had the opportunity to nominate Malaysian brands or companies they think could excel in export. Six winners have been selected and are being celebrated at the prize-giving ceremony.
The event also features Malaysian companies - Selia-Tek Sdn Bhd, AETINS Sdn Bhd and NCL Solutions Sdn Bhd - that have succeeded in export. These export champions shared their success stories to the companies nominated by the winners, in a bid to inspire them to follow in their footsteps. The export champs are also the contest's strategic partners, along with Petronas Dagangan Berhad.