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Diversify to mitigate geographic risks, MATRADE tells SMEs

Last update: 25/06/2019
Datuk Wan Latiff Wan Musa

KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 (Bernama) -- Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are encouraged to diversify their businesses in the face of a challenging market.

Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) chief executive officer Datuk Wan Latiff Wan Musa said there is no right or wrong time to consider exporting products and services.

“Given the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, it is important that SMEs mitigate their geographic risks while expanding their businesses via exports,” he told reporters at the SME CEO Forum 2019 here today.

The SME CEO Forum, held at the MATRADE Exhibition and Convention Centre, was organised by SME Magazine in partnership with MATRADE. Over 1,000 SMEs gathered at the forum to discuss access to new markets.

He said many local SMEs are finding it increasingly more difficult to survive in a rapidly changing market.

Wan Latiff said digital disruption has taken its toll on many businesses, from retail and manufacturing to trading and logistics.

“If this is not mitigated, many of our SMEs could be out of business in as little as three years’ time,” he said.

According to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, SMEs contributed RM283.3 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP) last year -- a five per cent growth year-on-year.

In 2018, the total value of Malaysia's exports was RM835.48 billion. Just 18 per cent of these were contributed by SMEs.

In officiating the forum, Deputy Entrepreneur Development Minister, Datuk Wira Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli, also encouraged SMEs to diversify their businesses.

"The ministry is committed to the development of our SMEs. As part of the National Entrepreneurship Framework, it is our aim to strengthen the economic contribution of SMEs from 37.1 per cent of GDP in 2017 to 41 per cent by 2020.

“We are always ready to act as facilitator to assist entrepreneurs and SMEs in this regard," he said.


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