MDEC looking at creating digital hubs in Penang, Johor, East Malaysia

By NG MIN SHEN / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) is looking at creating digital hubs outside of the Klang Valley as it sees the need for startup ecosystems in other key areas of the country, including East Malaysia.

Its CEO Datuk Yasmin Mahmood said the government- owned institution is focused on expanding beyond the Klang Valley as there are already four digital hubs present in the central region.

“Currently all the digital hubs are within the Klang Valley. We could increase the number but we’re now looking at expanding outside, during the early part of next year. We will need one in Penang and in Johor, and we’re also exploring Sabah and Sarawak,” she said.

Yasmin was speaking to reporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, where Axiata Digital Services Sdn Bhd — the digital services arm of Axiata Group Bhd — announced its collaboration with MDEC to extend its Application Programming Interface (API) platform to Malaysian businesses.

She added that the government- linked institution has achieved its target of having three digital hubs in the country by 2017.

To date, MDEC has certified four digital hubs or co-working spaces in Malaysia, namely APW, The Co, Common Ground and WORQ.

In line with its efforts to drive the nation’s transition into a developed digital economy by 2020, via its Malaysia Digital Hub initiative — the agency is working with Axiata Digital to allow locally based tech companies to compete in digital space.

The extension of Axiata Digital’s API platform — known as Mobile Internet Fulfilment Exchange (MIFE) — to Malaysian businesses will serve as a gateway into the regional marketplace across Axiata’s footprint countries in Asean and South Asia.

The MIFE platform provides businesses with secure access to API services and solutions — allowing faster customer engagement and secure payment processes without exposing the backend systems and information.

Startups will also be able to leverage on Axiata Group’s customer base, which numbered 320 million as at end-2016.

“This collaboration is important as our startup ecosystem is currently thriving. We want to encourage more companies to grow globally,” Yasmin said.

Axiata, a Malaysia-based telecommunications group, has controlling interests in six mobile operators in Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Nepal, as well as strategic interests in operators in India and Singapore.

Axiata Digital CEO Mohd Khairil Abdullah said the company is expecting Malaysian digital and startup companies to plug into the MIFE platform, thus growing their businesses within the country and also across other Axiata markets.

Launched in August 2015, the platform has a network of global as well as regional partners including marketplaces, such as the App Store and Google Play.

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