SMEs, start-ups told to tap into India’s digital trade platform

Posted on : 07-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) is encouraging more local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups, in their pursuit to expand their network, to seize opportunities in India’s digital trade platform.

Secretary-General Datuk Seri J Jayasiri said India was a big market to tap, with a population of about 1.8 billion, and there was a huge demand for technology tools and systems.

“As this year has been declared, ‘The Year of Internet Economy’, we have hired Alibaba Group Founder Jack Ma as our advisor on digital economy, but we must also look at other markets and participate in business technology events to get a bigger outreach.

“This would save them (entrepreneurs) a lot of time instead of going to  India physically,” Jayasiri told a press conference after the soft launch of the Asean India Biztech Expo & Conference yesterday.

Last year, Malaysia’s total trade with India stood at RM1.85 billion.

Earlier, Jayasiri said businesses could now look forward to greater opportunities to invest and trade in both goods and services once the Regional Comprehensive Partnership Agreement (RCEP) is concluded, as scheduled, in November.

“Not only will the market of 1.8 billion people be expanded to a lucrative market of 3.5 billion, but also a wide supply chain that would provide opportunities for enterprises of all sizes.

“Businesses of Asean and India can enjoy first mover advantage, if only they are willing to take the bold step to invest now,” he said.

The maiden two-day event beginning May 24, organised by the Asean India Business Council (AIBC) in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of Asean-India relations, will be opened by MITI Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

Themed, ‘Bridging Borders Through Business’, it would comprise three main components namely exhibition, conference and the Asean-India Achievement and Excellence Awards.

Meanwhile, AIBC Co-Chairman Datuk Ramesh Kodammal said the exhibition would cover high-technology industries including Internet of Things (IoTs), smart machines, customers digital assistance automative and aeronautical, biotech and pharmaceutical.

“We are expecting more than 5,000 visitors and about 120 booths to be put up by India, Malaysia and businesses from other Asean countries.

Trade and investment flows between Asean and India remained modest with an average of US$67.96 billion over 2011-2015.

In 2015, trade figures stood at US$58.74 billion, which represented only 59 per cent of the US$100 billion target set by Asean leaders.

To-date, Asean has free trade agreements with China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Asean’s global trade per annum is over US$2.5 billion and 50 per cent of it accounted for imports into Asean.


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