SMEBiz news in brief


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  • Monday, 21 Mar 2016

What happens to TPPA if Trump wins?

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) has been urged to clarify Malaysia’s stand on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) should Republican frontrunner Donald Trump win the 2016 US Presidential election in November.

Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim (Independent-Bandar Tun Razak) said at the Dewan Rakyat that Malaysia would not benefit with the billionaire as President.

“Trump has said that he is not in favour of the US signing the TPPA as it would not benefit the US.

“I hope the Minister, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, could clarify what Malaysia’s strategy would be if the US had a President such as Donald Trump who would focus on the domestic economy and disregard other economies,” he said.

Besides Trump, US Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have also criticised the TPPA in their campaigns, saying it would harm the world’s biggest economy.

Khalid said Malaysia would not lose if it did not have a free trade agreement (FTA) with the US as the country’s dependence on international trade with the US is declining.

“Even without an FTA with the US and we open trade to other countries including in Asean, which has great potential, we can still survive and progress. We have to make preparations,” he said.

Alibaba expands teen e-commerce in rural China

Alibaba plans to train a million teenagers in rural China to help start their own online businesses, taking e-commerce to the country’s vast rural areas, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

China’s biggest e-commerce company has reached an agreement with the China Communist Youth League to support the youngsters through funding, training and partnership.

Alibaba’s Internet finance arm, Ant Financial, plans to invest a billion yuan (US$154mil) to support college graduates who want to return to their home towns to start businesses.

E-commerce, strongly backed by China’s leadership, is spreading quickly in rural China with more farmers selling their produce online.

Premier Li Keqiang included e-commerce expansion when he laid out his “Internet Plus” strategy in an address last week at China’s annual parliamentary meeting in Beijing.

In villages, service stations have been set to help those who lack the necessary skills to trade online. Villagers can order goods at the stations and then return a few days later to collect their packages, Xinhua said.

The number of these village hubs has risen from three in 2009 to 780, with plans to add another 100,000 village stations and 1,000 county stations by 2019 at a cost of around 10 billion yuan, Xinhua said.

Rural shoppers, who account for nearly one-third of the total, spent 195 million yuan online last year, Xinhua said.

pitchIN aims for 10 equity crowdfunding

Crowdfunding operator pitchIN is aiming for 10 issuances for its newly launched equity crowdfunding platform this year, its chief executive officer, Sam Shafie said.

Currently, he said pitchIN has four issuers who planned to raise funds on this platform which was slated to go live in mid-April.

“The issuances come from various sectors like education, aquaculture, technology and transport,” he told reporters after the launch of its equity crowdfunding platform last week.

The issuances comprise KRU Academy, a vocational college; Aqua Genesis, a fish nursery, hatchery and grouper and shell fish distributor; KakiTangan, a free human resource system; and Gastro Baby, a baby food supplier.

He said details on the four companies had already been uploaded on pitchIN’s website for investors to view, and they planned to raise between RM150,000 and RM3mil.

Sam invited startups and early-stage businesses that had traction and looking for funds to contact pitchIN.

“Equity crowdfunding has the potential to become an alternative funding source in Malaysia, as it has done well in the UK, the US, New Zealand, Europe and Middle East,” he said.

Sam said the equity crowdfunding was opened to anyone and investors could invest as little as RM1,000.

“Besides equity crowdfunding, pitchIN is also operating a reward-based crowdfunding platform and had completed about 40 projects to date and raised funds totalling RM300,000 since its inception in 2012,” he added.

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Business , Central Region , briefs , March 21

   

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