Digital economy in Malaysia will be worth RM85.8 billion by 2025.

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Realising the RM85 billion industry


A recent update from Google, predicts that the digital economy in Malaysia will be worth RM85.8 billion by 2025. The key sector in digital economic growth is the e-commerce industry followed by the online tourism industry and the ride-hailing industry.

However, the same study by Google states that the contribution of the internet to the country’s GDP is 2.7 per cent in 2018 and is expected to grow rapidly in the coming year. However, what needs to happen to realise it?

Replicating the success of e-commerce from foreign countries

Jim Jarmusch, an independent film director, states: “Nothing is original. Take from anywhere that echoes with inspiration or spark your imagination.” In other words, the original idea usually sparks when one combines two or more ideas and makes it something new.

It has also been proven to work in the commercial world, where local businesses have managed to profit by replicating successful brand business models.

While various e-commerce platforms can produce genuine products and solutions for the market, it may sometimes be better to localise the successes seen abroad.

This is the inspiration behind the e-commerce business such as FashionValet (FV).

Vivy Yusof, founder of FV, said he was inspired by the fashion e-commerce platform when he was exposed to consumerism in the United Kingdom. With just a few clicks, users can easily purchase products and receive the purchase at their doorstep easily.

Together with Fadzarudin Shah Anuar (her boyfriend and her husband), FV was launched in 2010 with a minimum budget of RM100,000 from their savings and personal loans. A few years later, FV became more prominent and has successfully raised funds RM310 million from investors to date.

Today, FV receives more than 438,000 visitors each month and has four major physical stores throughout Malaysia.

Although FV was born out of a western e-commerce model, Vivy localized its business model for Malaysians and is now one of the most popular fashion brands in the country starting from the online space.

With so much success from around Southeast Asia and the world, entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs can observe successful e-commerce players abroad as an inspiration for their business ventures.

Changing the way we hire

According to market research, e-commerce businesses experiences major challenges when looking for highly skilled personnel in technical fields such as

  • software engineering, 
  • digital marketing, 
  • data science, and 
  • product marketing.

Finding employees working with experience in this technical role can be challenging due to the rapid growth of e-commerce in the region, meaning that there was no previous workforce supply for the digital economy in previous years in certain technical roles.

The lack of talent for specialized e-commerce is an issue identified as the most critical challenge in Google & Temasek’s recent report as well. Therefore, regular practice for e-commerce to recruit foreign talents with relevant experience and knowledge.

Although this solves the problem in some sense, this may not be the best long-term solution as most expatriates work on short contracts and only a handful of them would stay in the job for more than five years.

The ideal solution is to invest in local talent who are more likely to commit to a career in the long run.

Resolving this problem requires the participation of both recruiters and future workforce. One way to resolve this issue is to change the traditional recruitment process to a new process for digital economy.

One of the ways to solve this problem is to rethink the hiring process and prioritize highly motivated candidates, with high skills in problem solving and creative thinking.

This may mean putting lower importance on the technical skills and industry-specific knowledge. Recruiters from the digital sector need to invest their resources in training their workforce as well to reduce the lack of technical skills and knowledge.

Jeremy Chew is the head of content marketing for iPrice group, the fastest growing product meta-search platform in Southeast Asia. For further information, please visit

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