MDEC, Weibo to develop pilot Virtual City

The portal can also be used to promote tourism and draw visitors from China to Malaysia

by FARA AISYAH/ pic by TMR FILE

THE Malaysia Digital Economy Corp Sdn Bhd (MDEC) is partnering Chinese social media platform Weibo to develop and implement a pilot for the Virtual City portal.

The two parties inked a memorandum of understanding for the collaboration, which will run on Weibo and enable consumers from China to obtain information on products and services offered by any Malaysian city.

It will also provide shared experiences, recommendations and other useful tips, both parties said in a joint statement last Friday.

MDEC’s ultimate aim is to motivate local business owners to embrace digital technology, enabling them to access global markets, COO Datuk Ng Wan Peng (picture) said.

“Malaysia’s presence on the Virtual City portal will open up new opportunities for local businesses.

“This will ensure that they can be a part of China’s booming e-commerce industry and provide them with unparalleled business growth,” she said.

She added that with Weibo’s extensive user base and comprehensive content channels, the pilot will raise the awareness levels and engagement rate with the people in China, specifically on Malaysian brands and products.

The portal can also be used to promote tourism and draw visitors from China to Malaysia.

MDEC will engage with key government agencies and private sectors to participate in the development and implementation of the Virtual City portal.

With its launch tentatively set for some time in 2020, it will be the first Virtual City in South-East Asia and the third to launch outside China — after Virtual City London and Virtual City Tokyo.

Virtual City will be a key digital bridge linking Malaysia with China via Weibo to promote greater exchange of economic, cultural and business interaction between both countries, Weibo International GM Jennie So said.

“Virtual City aggregates a city’s key government bodies, enterprises and social influencers through multiple Weibo-powered digital products and content features.

“With these advanced features, this system can create holistic, citywide brand impacts and influence uplifts,” she said.

Weibo is among the most popular social media platforms in China, with over 497 million monthly active users and 216 million daily active users, of which 94% of the users are below 30 years old.

This has made Weibo an essential component of any digital engagement strategy in China, leveraging on its highly engaged ecosystem and features comprising short messaging, photos and videos sharing.

MDEC said the Virtual City portal’s pilot is timely, given the tremendous success of Malaysia Week 2019 and #MyCybersale 2019.

2020 will see e-commerce becoming the key driver of the nation’s digital economy, the government agency added.

Building on the success of Malaysia Week 2019, #MyCyberSale 2019 and e-Commerce Day 2019, MDEC is gearing up to elevate and expand Malaysia’s cross-border e-commerce trade and enhance the growth of the digital economy.