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  • Monday, 10 Oct 2016

The Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Development Bill, expected to be tabled in Parliament in December, would help SMEs achieve their targets for exports and contribution to GDP by 2020.

Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Ahmad Maslan said the ministry is confident the Bill would help the SME sector raise its contribution to total exports to 23% by 2020 from 17.6% in 2015 and contribution to GDP to 41% from 36.3%.

“Sixty-five per cent of workers in Malaysia now work in SMEs, meeting the manpower requirement target for 2020, so now we want to achieve the targets for SMEs’ contribution to total exports and GDP,” said Ahmad.

He added that the Bill provides for the establishment of a special fund for SMEs as well as a National SME Development Council to promote the development of SMEs and adoption of public policies, and oversee the coordination of funds.

“The terms of payment for the private sector to SMEs are expected to be standardised to 45 days from an average of 120 days,” he said.

Ahmad said support for the Bill is important as SMEs now comprise 97.3% of the country’s total business establishments, of which 645,136 have been registered.

“Of these, 90% are involved in the services sector, followed by manufacturing (5.9%), construction (3%) and agriculture (1%).

“Of the registered business entities, only 37% are Bumiputera-owned, with 88 being micro-businesses having up to five employees and annual revenue of up to RM300,000,” he said.

The Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) and Japan-based management company, IP Bridge, have signed a collaborative agreement to enable Malaysian technology companies to leverage on Japan’s vast research and development (R&D) field.

In a statement, MDEC said the agreement will see both countries collaborate to promote development of new intellectual properties (IP) towards innovative technologies.

“IP Bridge is allocating its IP resources to invest in technology companies around Asean nations, including Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, with the goal to bring the companies to conduct business in Japan.

“The push for innovation, particularly in areas such as Internet of Things, cloud, big data analytics, cybersecurity, e-commerce and artificial intelligence will benefit both countries in advancing the information technology industry within the region,” it said.

MDEC chief operating officer Datuk Ng Wan Peng said as Malaysia continued to embrace digital economy, it was becoming increasingly important for the company to collaborate with other pioneers in this sector to further push the boundaries of innovation.

IP Bridge CEO/president Shigeharu Yoshii said the company’s innovative information and communications technology (ICT) was developing regardless of countries.

“We can see a lot of opportunities among ICT-related countries including Malaysia and Japan, and are sure that this joint work by MDEC and IP Bridge will accelerate the sustainable growth of ICT industries in both countries and the world,” he said.

500 Startups, the venture firm that successfully backed ride-hailing startup Grab, is doubling down with a second fund focused on South-East Asia.

According to Bloomberg, through the US$50mil Durian II fund, managing partner Khailee Ng plans to invest in 200 seed-stage companies. Malaysia Venture Capital Management Bhd, the country’s largest venture capital firm, anchored the new fund, just as it did when the first fund debuted in June 2014.

The first Durian fund has made 500 Startups the most active early-stage investor in the region, participating in more than 26% of deals from its launch through to May 2016, according to CB Insights.

Ng is searching for the next Grab after being an early backer of the app that is now said to be valued at more than US$3bil.

“We de-risk by spreading across many companies and get a higher probability to catch a unicorn,” Ng, 32, said in an interview. “So far that strategy has proven in Southeast Asia and we are going to continue with that strategy.”

Other startups backed by the first US$25mil Durian fund include online marketplaces Carousell Pte and, as well as Indonesian shoe company The earlier fund backed a total of 119 startups, a quarter of which have raised additional money while none have shut down, according to Ng.

Local consumer brands like, which has a cult-like following in Indonesia, will be one of the focuses of Durian II, Ng said.

500 Startups is investing in a region with rising incomes and a growing population. Southeast Asia, which includes Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, is expected to have 480 million internet users by 2020, according to a report by Google and Temasek Holdings Pte.

500 Startups sprinkles small amounts of money across a large number of startups and has invested in more than 1,500 companies across more than 50 countries so far.

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