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  • Monday, 12 Dec 2016

Matrade eyes E&E export growth

The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) is eyeing growth of at least 1% in exports for the Electrical and Electronic (E&E) sector this year on the back of a challenging economic climate.

Chief executive officer Datuk Dzulkifli Mahmud said the reality is that many businesses globally are still weathering the effects of volatile currency fluctuation, falling oil prices as well as slow economic growth, which has not spared the E&E industry.

“This has impacted Malaysia’s trading partners and slowed demand for our products. In addition, we are also facing competition from regional peers, especially Vietnam.

“If we can achieve a positive outcome this year, it is something we should be happy about. But, it would be tough to match the same growth as last year,” he said.

Nonetheless, Dzulkifli was still positive on the sector as it continues to be the backbone to industries in Malaysia.

E&E remained one of the top contributors to Malaysia’s exports in 2015, posting RM277.92bil or a 8.5% growth from previously.

Semi-conductors accounted for 49.5% of E&E exports.

Meanwhile, E&E exports totalled RM207.89bil in the first nine months of this year.

The top products included semi-conductor devices, integrated circuits, transistors and valves, automated data processing machines as well as telecommunications equipment.

Cradle’s private investment fund grows to RM190.2mil

Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd is on track to drive more private investment participation to boost the ecosystem for Malaysian technology startups with co-investment funds of RM190.2mil, up from RM161.2mil as of June this year.

Chief executive officer Nazrin Hassan said the co-investment programme was one of the company’s efforts to help reduce government-linked companies’ dependence on government funding.

“Since the inception of the co-investment programme in 2014, four companies have benefited in getting funding through this initiative with total investments of RM6.08mil,” he said.

Cradle signed new partnership agreements with RHL Ventures, TinkBig Venture, Biz Angel Network, EIX Group, Segnel Ventures and PlatCom Ventures, which will take part to fund Malaysian startups totalling RM14.5mil.

This brings the number of partners to 32 with total committed funds of RM190.2mil.

Under the programme, Cradle will channel 50% of its funding allocation to co-investing initiatives and the remaining via direct grant by 2017 and further reduce the allocation to 70:30 by 2018.

Investment activities had slowed this year, with the apparent slowdown in regional investments which in turn affected investments into Malaysian startups.

Nazrin noted that alternative platforms for startups to raise funds such as ECF, peer to peer lending and more active angel funding helped reduce the impact.

Next year, Cradle would also be introducing direct equity investments as a step further from its current role of co-investor.

Amazon rolls out global startup products programme

Amazon Inc, last week, announced the launch of its global programme for start-up products, Launchpad, in India.

“Launchpad is a destination for start-ups to showcase unique products to millions of consumers world over,” said Jason Feldman, director of global innovations, Amazon.

As part of the Launchpad programme, Amazon globally lists consumer products from start-ups to customers through its online marketplace.

“These start-ups usually face a few challenges –uncertainty of demand, they have to invest a lot to start (selling), (face) difficulties in going global.

“Launchpad is able to address these and provide a red carpet programme to these start-ups to launch very fast by using our website, target marketing and global infrastructure to go global,” added Amazon’s India chief Amit Agarwal.

Amazon provides the marketing, discovery and logistics support for these products, which it claims get access to a global consumer base of over 300 million. Products of 25 Indian start-ups are currently listed on Launchpad.

Alipay expands in Europe

Alipay said last Tuesday it has partnered with four more financial services providers in Europe, as it looks to tap into Chinese consumers travelling abroad, in a move that could help China’s top online payments platform expand its global footprint nearly tenfold.

The company has formed partnerships with Barclays PLC, BNP Paribas Group, UniCredit SpA and SIX Payment Services Ltd, giving them access to a network of 930,000 new stores across Europe, the Chinese online finance company said.

Alipay, which has over 450 million active users in China, has sealed a number of successive foreign partnerships in the past two months, hoping to capture the growing market of Chinese consumers travelling abroad.

“Our users’ lifestyles are increasingly global,” said Douglas Feagin, the president of Alipay International and senior vice president of Alipay’s parent company Ant Financial Services Group, in a statement.

Feagin said current retail partnerships in Europe were “extremely popular with travelling Chinese consumers”.

Alipay signed a deal with French payment technology firm Ingenico in August, and inked similar deals with US payment processors First Data and Verifone in October. Last month Ant Financial announced a tie-up between Alipay and Thai payment firm Ascend.

Currently, Alipay covers 100,000 stores in 70 countries excluding mainland China, including Korea, India, Japan and Britain and Australia.

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