A Year of Opportunities for Young Entrepreneurs & Talents
From the waves of the fourth industrial revolution to the hype in cryptocurrency, Malaysians have seen a handful tech developments disrupting the status quo in various industries throughout 2017. The sophistication of digital technology will significantly change the way businesses operate and create new career opportunities for young Malaysian talents. In order to effectively seize these opportunities, it is important for us to properly understand these trends and how they can be incorporated into our personal development and career progression.
In this article, we have identified 3 notable tech developments that are worth noticing and summarized the key points to get you started.
1) Riding the Fintech Wave
The term “fintech” or “financial technology” is becoming increasingly common among young professionals across Southeast Asia. Fintech is essentially a line of business that leverages on technology to provide financial services. In Malaysia, the presence of fintech is still nascent but rapidly growing, which has induced nervous reactions from major players in the financial sector.
Since the appointment of the new Governor of the Central Bank of Malaysia, Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim, several key reforms and regulations have been introduced, most notably was perhaps the introduction of Malaysia’s fintech regulatory sandbox. Overall, this industry seems healthy and experts have anticipated a lot of growth potential, and consequently career potentials, for Malaysia talents and aspiring entrepreneurs.
With the support from the Malaysian government, central bank, and several other organisations to develop the national fintech sector, it is indeed a good time for talents interested to work in a non-corporate environment to consider joining a fintech startup. The fintech sector is constantly looking for a wide range of talent profiles, so regardless of your education background or specialties, there’s a high chance you’ll find something within the industry that aligns with your interests and skillset. As a starting point, you can find the 12 hottest Malaysian fintech startups here.
2) The World’s First Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ)
On the 22nd March 2017, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak (Prime Minister of Malaysia) and Jack Ma (Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group) launched the world’s first Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The DFTZ will serve as a boost to Malaysia’s eCommerce Strategic Roadmap by providing physical and virtual zones to facilitate SMEs to capitalise on the growth of internet economy and cross-border activities.
The DFTZ will also act as a microcosm to support internet companies to provide goods and services, and develop more innovative solutions. The three main DFTZ components combines the following physical and virtual zones:
- eFulfillment Hub (physical zone)
- Satellite Serices Hub (physical zone)
- eServices Platform (virtual zone)
More information on the economic impact and benefits to the SMEs, marketplaces and monobrands can be found here at the MDEC portal.
Considering its dynamic economy and developed infrastructures, Malaysia is widely deemed as an attractive market for e-commerce in the ASEAN region. As most of the major ecommerce players receive a substantial funding from investors, they have the capacity to provide attractive employee packages to attract top talents to join their workforce, which makes it a viable career option for young talents interested to develop a broad range of skillsets. To get you started, you can refer to this website for the top 10 e-commerce sites in Malaysia 2017.
3) Blockchain Revelation and Digital Currency Adoption
Blockchain, the core component of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, can greatly benefit ASEAN by creating transparent democratized systems and decentralizing systems through breaking down of barriers to entry in an array of applications.
Ultimately, blockchain’s decentralized transactions can help transform the ASEAN region as this technology is highly secure, enables better transparency, offers lower operating costs, automates transactions, and removes centralized institutions. Since the 2008 crash, trust in financial institutions worldwide has dramatically decreased. Digital savvy Millennials in Southeast Asia are already embracing Blockchain and Bitcoin due to their growth potential and ease of understanding.
The adoption rate of Blockchain and cryptocurrencies in Southeast Asia will rely upon the education of the end users. In the first notable move to regulate the world of cryptocurrencies, the Central Bank of Malaysia has noted the possibility of digital currencies becoming the “new norm” and are looking at ways to effectively regulate cryptocurrency transactions.
What Can We Look Forward to in 2018?
There is no doubt that the Malaysian entrepreneurial ecosystem seems promising and is entering a new, exciting era. During his Budget 2018 speech, the Prime Minister of Malaysia has made clear his commitment to boost the entrepreneurial sector, encouraging local startups and SMEs to become global players.
As a young professional, fresh graduate or student, there isn’t a better time than today for aspiring entrepreneurs in Malaysia to take a leap of faith and explore opportunities in the local entrepreneurial landscape. Young entrepreneurs now have access to a wide selection of training programs, grants, and soft loans. We can expect to see the Malaysian entrepreneurial sector continue to grow significantly over the next few years and continue to positively contribute to our national economy and employment.
Written by: Lucas Khoo
Lucas is the Founding Partner at ProspectsASEAN, a human capital development organisation that is leading the movement to transform the region’s economic and social landscape and aspires to shape the future of Southeast Asia. Prior to ProspectsASEAN, Lucas was a management consultant in Accenture, focusing in the area of Project Management and Talent & Organisation (T&O). He graduated with a Masters in Chemical Engineering from the University of Birmingham.
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