Strengthening digital trade and digitalisation in Malaysia: Challenges and pathways towards a resilient digital economy post-Covid-19

By Calvin Cheng and Juita Mohamad

The growth of digital technologies and the digitalisation of the global economy have led to lower costs and efficiency gains for businesses and consumers. For digital-enabled trade, technological innovations like e-commerce platforms reduce search and information costs and boost cross-border trade growth. In terms of the digitalisation of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), a wide range of digital technologies can make it easier for them to access financing, tap global markets, and realise productivity gains. Similarly, innovations in digital payments increase the efficiency of business transactions and allow entrepreneurs to make and receive payments. 

In Malaysia, a 2019 Department of Statistics (DOSM) report estimates that the digital economy, including e-commerce and information technology, contributed about RM289 billion, or more than 19.1% to GDP. One of the targets set under the government’s latest Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDigital), is to grow this share to 22.6% of GDP by 2025. As the blueprint notes, even as the wider Malaysian economy continues to be ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic, the digital economy is growing exponentially. 

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