Mara Digital Mall: Seven years and counting

KUALA LUMPUR: For nearly seven years, the first Mara Digital Mall here has provided a platform for information technology (IT) entrepreneurs to market their products.

Despite ups and downs, the mall, which is strategically located in the Mara building on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, continues to allow IT entrepreneurs to rent shop lots and spaces at a cheaper rate compared to other locations.

Trader Azmil Asrop, 34, who owns Setia IT Solution, a computer repair and maintenance outlet which has been in business since the mall was established in 2015, told Bernama that his business has survived market ebbs and flows.

"In the first four years, sales were good but sales were affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Business is okay as I have been doing business here for over six years and have regular customers.

"During the movement control order, we were given a three-month rental exemption... the rent here is (also) cheap compared with other locations," he said here on Tuesday (Aug 16), adding that he hoped that the mall management will carry out more promotional activities as there are still people who are unaware of the existence of the mall.

It was reported that the Mara Digital Mall initiative recorded a turnover of RM18.4mil as of November 2016, a year after it was established.

Noorasyikin Shafie, 24, whose company Iiman Empire just started operating here six months ago, concurred that foot traffic to Mara Digital Mall, which is located on the third floor of the building, is comparatively low compared to the lower levels.

"The sales are not so bad and we still do have walk-in customers. However, it is quite low so we have taken the initiative to promote our shop via online platforms such as Shopee, Lazada, Facebook and TikTok.

"We cannot be too dependent on walk-in customers nowadays and we need to make use of social media to advertise our products and shop. We encourage customers to come and visit because some of prefer to purchase laptops at a physical store instead of buying online," she said.

Following Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said during a surprise visit to the mall on Monday (Aug 13) that Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) has been instructed to continue with the Mara Digital project to open up more opportunities for bumiputra youth to venture into IT entrepreneurship.

He said several Mara Digital centres had been established so far, namely in Shah Alam, Selangor; Kuantan, Pahang and Ipoh, Perak, while other locations that had been identified were Larkin, Johor; Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu; Kota Baru, Kelantan; Kuching, Sarawak and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

The opening of Mara Digital as a telecommunications and IT equipment sales centre in 2015 was spearheaded by Ismail Sabri, who was then rural and regional development minister. – Bernama

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