As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution and practically everything is moving online, the importance of e-commerce is heightened now more than ever before. E-commerce, in fact, is quickly becoming the primary mode of business and trade around the world - ASEAN included.
When speaking of trade in and around ASEAN, there is little doubt that China and its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) comes to mind. The BRI is a development strategy by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in 152 countries and international organisations in Europe, Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Africa. ASEAN - given its strategic location, it’s thriving markets, and its host of fast developing countries – also becomes a point of focus when it comes to China’s BRI. Both sides have a lot to gain from the initiative.
In accordance with this, Tianjin Bohai Commodity Exchange (BOCE) and Commodity Global Trade Sdn Bhd (CGTSB) of Malaysia signed a “Cooperation Letter of Intent” and “International Regional Cross-Border E-Commerce Service Provider Cooperation Agreement” during the last China International Import Commodities Fair on 6 November 2018 in Shanghai.
CGTSB is a Malaysian company appointed by BOCE as a regional trading platform service provider for Malaysia and ASEAN countries. The e-commerce trading platform, known as BOCE MALAYSIA/ASEAN enables Malaysian and ASEAN businesses to enter the China market via a safe, secure and efficient digital platform. The BOCE Global platform will also assist traders who wish to leverage on China’s BRI.
The platform is able to support exports to China at highly profitable market prices and in unlimited export volumes. The platform will also serve as a melting pot for buyers and sellers to create business connections vital for their trading activities. CGTSB ‘one stop centre’ services facilitate the registration, bidding and documentation for exporters, making it easy and cost effective for cross border trade.
The appointment of CGTSB puts Malaysia on the map as the fifth country in the world to operate this platform outside China, and a new gateway for ASEAN. Other countries operating this platform include the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Ukraine.
Digital e-commerce platform
The BOCE MALAYSIA/ASEAN Digital e-Commerce Platform was officially launched today at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) in Putrajaya, Malaysia. Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who officiated the launch, pointed out that digital technology played a pivotal role in regional progress.
“Technology enables the proliferation of new ideas as countries prepare to seize growth opportunities while working through a myriad of challenges. To that end, ASEAN countries need to be digitally ready both in terms of connectivity, infrastructure, and adoption of technology across countries and businesses,” he said.
He added that in the world of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the shopping experience has also been redefined.
“It is blurring the lines between when and how consumers learn about products, decide on purchase and actually transact. Ultimately it all boils down to product availability anytime anywhere at a competitive cost. Evolving online and offline, consumer demands will encourage growth on the supply chain execution.
“Consumers are demanding more flexibility and delivery options that feed around their lifestyles. The old ways of producing, warehousing and delivering products are now obsolete.”
CGTSB chairman Khairuddin Abu Hassan revealed several advantages that the platform provides, including the fact that it is free and there is no registration fee, the high speed expansion of sales channels, a transparent purchase and sales management, a secure risk management, brand promotion, an effective mechanism to fetch good prices based on market supply and demand, and professional assistance in dealing with China authorities.
There are also over 200 agencies, 200 warehouses and 15 National Banks (a network of over 1,000 branches in mainland China); making it a ‘One Stop’ service platform to satisfy a variety of needs.
“With this e-platform, CGTSB or BOCE MALAYSIA/ASEAN expects more of Malaysia’s and ASEAN’s small and medium sized enterprises to seize the opportunity to grow their businesses in China. This initiative is in line with the government’s efforts to increase the implementation of e-commerce among Malaysian businesses in particular and to prepare them to embark on cross border e-commerce activities.,” Khairuddin explained.
With the world’s third largest population, as well as a growing middle class and growing internet connectivity, ASEAN is an integral player when it comes to e-commerce. At the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and as China’s BRI makes inroads across the region, Malaysia is setting itself as a truly crucial player with the BOCE MALAYSIA/ASEAN Digital e-Commerce Platform. It is indeed exciting days for Malaysia as well as the rest of ASEAN.