What should a company do to survive an economic downturn? We had a chat with several Malaysian firms

2020-10-16, 5:00 pm Beijing Time

A sudden COVID-19 crisis, namely the "black swan" event, set off the global economy and financial fluctuations, however, it also contributes to the new economic growth. New business opportunities in some industries such as e-commerce, online services, and telecommuting emerged, which have played an important role to fight against the crisis. Besides, many countries have also started to promote the development of 'Internet Plus', which can contribute to the development of the digital economy.

Among them, Malaysia is an example worth learning from. Malaysia's former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng cited a report showing that the contribution of the digital economy to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) will increase from the current 18.5% to 21% by 2022.

To boost the development of the digital economy, the Malaysian government has allocated RM21.6 billion (US$5.2 billion) to develop the National Fibre Optic and Connectivity Programme (NFCP), which can upgrade and expand Malaysia's digital infrastructure. Besides, the government has also allocated RM3.7 billion (US$900 million) in five years to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to digitize their business processes. In another detail, the government has enacted measures for e-wallet and digital payment utilization (e-TunaiRakyat scheme), which will allocate RM450 million (about US$110 million) to encourage consumers to use digital payment.

In the context of the government's push for the digital economy, how do Malaysian tech startups view and leverage these policies to advance their digitalization? HoloBase (https://www.holobase.io/), a news aggregator platform under GeekPark(https://www.geekpark.net/) that focuses on Internet products and tech trends through insightful product reports and quality offline conferences, had a chat with several Malaysian tech firms.

|Ms. Foong Yuh Wen, Founder & CEO of SushiVid



Affected by the epidemic, the consumer lifestyle has undergone some changes in the global, the "cloud shopping", "cloud services", "cloud office" and other online life and consumption methods are more widely accepted. However, traditional convention and roadshow marketing models have been limited and offline store traffic has been cut back from pre-epidemic levels as localities remain apprehensive about crowd gathering events. How does SushiVid, an online platform that provides a campaign management system for brands to launch a data-driven marketing scale, attract consumers' attention, and gain their trust?

"We have always been genuine and honest with what we share to the public, be it on our social media platforms or other forms of virtual communications. This includes our case studies, interview videos with clients and reputable people, webinars to share knowledge and information about influencer marketing trends and demands. We are also an award-winning influencer marketing company, which helps to showcase the positive value of our company. All these have eventually helped us build the necessary trust with our clients," said Foong Yuh Wen, Founder & CEO of SushiVid.

Therefore, Foong Yuh Wen believes that by establishing a dialogue and generating interaction with customers, brands can build trust, reinforce customers' perceptions of brand reliability, and provide the value they expect.

Mr. Sheldon Tang, Overseas Business Development Director of SkinRun

Back in 2019, SkinRun, a leading data intelligence service provider for the beauty industry, received a $10 million round of Pre A+ funding led by Kairous Capital. Kairous Capital, founded in 2016, is a cross-border venture capital firm focusing on China and Southeast Asia. It is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and seeks to invest in companies operating in the fintech, medical technology, insurance technology, retail technology, education, and many other technology-related industry sectors. Its investment region includes Greater China, ASEAN, and GCC. It has invested some companies including iPayLinks, DaShuBao, CareLinker, etc.

Many cosmetic medicine brands have been hit hard by the epidemic, with national cosmetic retail sales declined 13.2% year-on-year from January to March 2020. The major brands all actively save themselves, brand marketing focus begins to turn to online services, intelligent experience, and live commerce quickly becomes the mainstream development trend. In response to the challenges of the epidemic, SkinRun provides three distinctive solutions based on technology, data, and marketing empowerment to help global cosmetic medicine companies to digitally transform and achieve intelligent retail upgrades.

In the future, SkinRun will also be committed to using technology to empower the upgrade of the cosmetic medicine industry and solve the industry dilemma of online price comparison orientation and offline diversion difficulties. Amid the epidemic, it will lead the cosmetic medicine industry in digital transformation and further promote immersive experience services on a large scale.

Mr. Sivavenayakam Velayutham, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation(MDEC)

The epidemic has accelerated the transformation of Malaysia's digital economy, with 84% of Malaysian SMEs complaining that they are having problems with customers and suppliers, according to Deloitte. This has prompted the government and businesses to rethink the way they do business and to adopt more digital technologies to enhance business resilience and sustained growth.

MDEC is stepping up its efforts to support businesses in the face of the epidemic. With the #DigitalvsCovid campaign, MDEC is rallying local and foreign technology companies in Malaysia to provide digital solutions and services to businesses and citizens. The campaign is supported by hundreds of technology companies that provide free video conferencing tools for businesses to help business owners and managers maximize their ability to work from home. In addition to this, MDEC has launched five innovative funding schemes including alternative financing, virtual venture capital/investor matching program, and technology relief fund for startups.

On October 16, 2020, HoloBase will be partnering with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation(MDEC) to present a webinar focused on the development of the Malaysian digital economy. The webinar will feature Kairous Capital, SushiVid, and SkinRun to discuss the new opportunities in Malaysia's digital economy.

This event is limited to 100 participants!

Sign up for your seat nowhttps://forms.gle/fu7YLjs3heeSkZVZ6