No regulations yet for social e-commerce


Regulations governing electronic transactions on social media platforms will eventually be introduced as more people turn to social commerce as a means to complete commercial deals.

Minister of International Trade and Industry Ignatius Darell Leiking said, however, the current focus for the cross-border social commerce industry is to register the businesses.

“Presently business owners need to register themselves to the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) under their eTrade programme and conduct their online business.

“It is not a problem that we need to manage (the platforms) with regulations at the moment. It is just like how regulations are only placed on e-hailing after it becomes increasingly popular here,” he said at the “Made by Malaysia, Loved by the World” programme launch yesterday.

He said any laws designed for e-commerce platforms will be designed to protect customers and business operators.

“Social media and e-commerce, which form social commerce is not clearly regulated. But I think we’ll come to a stage where we have to have some legislation.

“The legislation will be of world’s standard because of its cross-border nature,” he said.

Matrade CEO Dr Mohd Shahreen Zainooreen Madros said the low number of companies that register under the eTrade programme prohibits the government to assist businesses.

“While one million companies have registered with us, three million more out there and are potentially registering high sales through utilising Facebook and Instagram are not. This is why any regulation or legislation may need to wait,” he said.

Mohd Shahreen said while 98.5% of local business establishments are small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and have the potential to go global, only 17.3% contribute to exports.

“It is important for Malaysia to also have a clear digital strategy like China, the US and European Union countries in order to leverage our industry and compete with the rest of the region,” he said.

The “Made by Malaysia, Loved by the World” programme is a collaboration between Facebook, Matrade and AVANA, a homegrown social commerce platform.

The programme aims to provide 2,000 SMEs with training and related aspects in digital marketing and e-commerce.

The programme is the first to be introduced in South-East Asia and Malaysia is the third country in the world after South Korea and Taiwan to introduce the initiative.

AVANA co-founder and CEO Luqman Adris said: “The most intensive part of the three-month training is to analyse and monitor businesses via online channels,” he said.

Facebook Malaysia country director Nicole Tan said with more than 2.2 billion people on Facebook, its goal is to help SMEs find people who share the same passion for the products and services.

“Already 87 million people on Facebook around the world are connected to a local SME page. As people’s preferences and purchases become more global, there is a tremendous opportunity for SMEs to find new customers beyond the country’s borders,” she said.