MITI to collaborate with Grab, Google to propel SMEs

By LYDIA NATHAN / Graphic By TMR

E-HAILING provider Grab Holdings Inc and Google LLC are expected to collaborate with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) in an initiative that is aimed at enhancing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in line with the increasing interest in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The collaboration is a result of a meeting between the two companies and MITI Minister Darrell Leiking in Davos, Switzerland, during the World Economic Forum (WEF) recently.

A statement by Google said the company continues to view Malaysia as an important investment destination because of its market potential and user base.

Google VP for global public policy and government relations Karan Bhatia said the company is expected to launch the “Grow with Google” programme in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, on April 12, 2019, as part of the initiative.

“The programme will consist of digital skills training to help small business owners, entrepreneurs and individuals grow their skills and businesses in Sabah,” he said.

MITI, in the same statement, said such an effort by Google is laudable and should be extended into other states in Malaysia as well.

As it is, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) were among the most vital pronounced technologies that were sought after by governments and businesses across the globe.

However, Google said some governments had enforced barriers in this area and this could hinder the collaboration between AI and IoT, particularly in taxation and financial regulation policies.

Meanwhile, at the WEF, Leiking also met with Grab founder Anthony Tan as a follow- up to a meeting that was previously held in August 2018 to discuss and finalise Grab’s investment plans in Malaysia.