The presence of Jack Ma, founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, at the launch of Malaysia’s Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) in March 2017 and his appointment as the country’s Digital Economic Advisor is a clear sign of the Malaysian government’s aspirations to ride the e-commerce boom.
The launch of DTFZ serves to provide physical and virtual zones to facilitate SMEs to capitalise on the convergence of expected exponential growth of the Internet economy and cross border e-commerce activities. It will act as a place to support Internet companies to trade goods, provide services, innovate and co-create solutions.
When a Malaysian supplier wishes to sell goods to an overseas buyer via the internet i.e via e-commerce, there are many procedures to be followed before the goods can reach the customer. He has to pack the goods and engage the services of a logistics company to clear the goods with the Malaysian Customs and load the goods on board the plane for delivery to the destination country. On arrival at the destination country, the logistics company in the destination country has to clear the goods from that country’s Customs and deliver the goods to the customer. The whole process involves a lot of red tape and this is where the DFTZ comes in.