KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 -- China has proposed a collaboration in areas of technology exchange as well as halal products and services with Malaysia during discussions about potential collaboration in the area of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and startups.
Minister of Entrepreneur Development (MED) Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof said the bilateral discussions were held during the 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting (SMEMM) in Concepción, Chile.
"As a start, Malaysia will consider participating in the APEC Business Forum scheduled to be held in Shenzhen, China from Dec 17 to 19, 2019," the ministry said in a statement today.
Mohd Redzuan, who led the Malaysian delegation to the two-day ministerial meeting which ended yesterday, also had a series of bilateral discussions with the relevant counterparts and senior officials from Chile, Peru and the US regarding potential collaboration in the area of SMEs and startups.
Preceding the SMEMM, officials also met for a two-day meeting of the 49th SME Working Group (SMEWG), where Malaysia made a presentation on the National Entrepreneurship Policy (NEP), which was launched on July 11, 2019.
The NEP, which is the first national policy document on entrepreneurship, was well received by the APEC economies. Some economies also expressed their interest to learn from Malaysia’s experience in this area of policy-making.
The APEC SME Ministers recognise the key role of SMEs as an essential source of economic growth and dynamism, along with the importance of digital transformation, financing and globalisation.
These priority areas have a direct correlation with APEC’s SME Working Group Strategic Plan 2017 to 2020 focusing on entrepreneurship, innovation, and the Internet and digital economy; financing for business expansion and capability development; inclusive business ecosystems that support SME growth; and market access for SMEs.
The APEC SME Ministers will also continue to support cross-fora collaboration to address the issue of ethics in promoting transparency and integrity as these are vital in the process of internationalisation of SMEs.
During the meeting, Mohd Redzuan made a presentation on Malaysia’s experience vis-à-vis digitalisation for SMEs and entrepreneurs, highlighting the role of innovation and technology as well as high growth startups in advancing the growth of the SME ecosystem in Malaysia.
He stressed that these are integral enablers that serve to increase efficiency as well as productivity of SMEs and consequently expand their market reach.
He said Malaysia will continue to focus on the creation of high growth and innovative businesses through targeted assistance in automation, digitalisation and robotics, while increasing support for micro-enterprises and start-ups.
Mohd Redzuan also highlighted the importance of cybersecurity to protect SMEs in a connected world while pursuing the digitalisation agenda, and called for such discussions to be escalated in future APEC SME activities.
He noted that internationalisation goes beyond exports and imports, and further suggested that the concept of internationalisation encompasses activities such as licensing, franchising, subcontracting agreements, providing avenues for foreign direct investment (FDI), joint ventures (JVs) and exchange of technology.
The ministry, which will host the next SMEMM in 2020, is looking forward to working closely with the APEC Secretariat to uphold APEC goals and agendas for SME development among the APEC economies.
For APEC Year 2020 in Malaysia, MED has successfully bid for funding for three APEC projects, namely a two-day workshop for APEC Young Entrepreneurs scheduled in February 2020, an APEC Policy Dialogue on SMEs and Entrepreneurship in May 2020, as well as an APEC Startup Investment Forum in September 2020.