MDEC, Visa collaborate to support SMEs on digitalisation


THE Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) has partnered Visa Malaysia to support financial technology (fintech) companies and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to embrace digitalisation in their businesses.

MDEC CEO Surina Shukri said the collaboration with Visa fits well with MDEC’s aspiration to advance digital adoption in the country.

“The partnership is driven by three main agendas — enabling fintech development; driving e-commerce adoption for businesses, particularly micro-SMEs; and driving digitalisation for businesses.

“The digital economy accounts for about 20% of Malaysia’s GDP today,” she said in her opening remarks at the launch of the Virtual Digital Day yesterday.

She added that there was a huge uptick in consumer digitalisation with five years’ worth of consumer digitalisation compressed into one year, according to Google Statistics, whereas Microsoft Statistics saw two years of business digitalisation compressed in one year.

“Digital payment usage has also been growing since the onset of the pandemic due to movement restrictions which lead to Malaysians using e-commerce and many for the first time. People are also more hygiene-conscious, so we saw growth in contactless payment usage.

“We believe this behaviour will continue even after the pandemic, leading to a permanent shift in digital payment usage in the country, a step closer to becoming a more digital nation,” Visa Malaysia country manager Ng Kong Boon said.

Visa principal Asia-Pacific economist Glenn Maguire said the pandemic has helped speed up digitalisation among Generation Z (Gen Z).

“In terms of some of the preferences that we’re displaying, as we come out of lockdown and immobility, questioning our work-life balance, more introspective, focusing on wellness, our behaviours are starting to match Gen Z as well.

“Before the pandemic, Gen Z spent six hours a day online, but now, their screen time has increased by an hour.

“Gen Z increased their time on mobile by 20%. But for millennials, that was 35% and Gen X 105%. And baby boomers were on their mobile phones 250% more than they were before Covid-19. And this is clearly impacting payment and shopping behaviours,” Maguire explained.

Across all the generations, 54% of Gen Z respondents preferred cashless payments, while 74% expected a brand to take a position on issues that matter to them.

They are also willing to pay a premium and change their purchasing to match a brand that aligns with their preferences.

Making up 30% of the global population, there are currently two billion Gen Z users, while 25% of them comprise the relatively younger Asian population.

He said 67% of the world’s population are smartphone users. The numbers have increased due to improving mobile connections.

“In Asia, 10 people every second moved from an analogue phone to a 3G phone, so the quality of the technological backbone has stepped up significantly. We saw an additional 316 million people joining the Internet, that is 15 new users every second,” he said.

He added that 50% of the world’s population will be social media users by 2025, but the pandemic has spiked the numbers where there are currently 53% of them in 2020.

“Users will go online via their smartphones and we were not meant to move through the mobile first inflection point until around 2026. But at the moment, 55% of people will use the mobile phone as their window to the world over their desk.”

In 2020, we also spent more time watching videos on our mobile phones compared to our televisions.

“We’re now on social media two and a half hours every day, one working day of our working week is spent on social media. And this year, we will spend 3.7 trillion hours on social media. That’s the equivalent of 420 million years of human existence spent on social media,” Maguire said.