Malaysia: Exports to China get a digital boost
Last May, China decided to allow imports of Malaysian whole durians. Ever since, fruit traders in China and Malaysia have been pouring into the multibillion yuan durian market. The expansion of export portfolio beyond frozen pulp and puree is what drives Leron Yee Poh Soon, the Malaysian co-founder of durian seller DKing, and his colleagues these days.
Soon has jumped on the durian export bandwagon in earnest, picking up only premium-quality fruits known as A-level Musang King for export to China. But, for a relatively small businessman like Soon, rivalling Thailand’s dominance in the durian export market is no mean feat. His approach is to team up with the Alibaba Group, the Chinese e-commerce platform, which has pledged to facilitate cross-border trade for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through a variety of digital vehicles.
“Obviously Tmall and Hema Fresh [both are Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms] provide very good platforms for us to reach the farthest parts of China,” said Soon. He has inked a deal to supply one container-load of whole durians to Hema. “This is one of the fastest, most secure and stable way to be in this massive market.”
While cross-border e-commerce is old hat for Alibaba, the world’s largest online site by transaction volume, the real game-changer empowering Malaysian merchants is an initiative called electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP).
Three years after the concept was first proposed by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, eWTP sank its very first root in Malaysia, where a string of commercial facilities, from e-commerce infrastructure, logistics, financial technology to cloud computing, are being upgraded, or even revolutionised, thanks to latest technology.