The envisioned digital landscape of Malaysia, represented as a bountiful orchard, is being swayed by the encroaching storm of global e-commerce platforms, which are pivotal yet potentially disruptive.
Communications and Digital Minister, Fahmi Fadzil’s thoughtful considerations about TikTok Shop underscore valid concerns, drawing parallels with Indonesia’s recent ban due to issues of predatory pricing and data security.
e-Commerce Malaysia, a chapter of the National Tech Association of Malaysia (PIKOM), firmly believes in not merely seeking shelter but shoring up our orchard’s resilience to benefit from the rain while safeguarding our fruits from violent storms. Banning TikTok Shop would severely affect numerous local SMEs, creators and e-commerce enablers.
Banning TikTok Shop, like what Indonesia has done, also inadvertently restrains the growth and reach of our local businesses, especially the micro SMEs which constitute a significant 78.4% of businesses in our nation.
Against this backdrop, Malaysia’s digital marketplace narrative is distinct from our regional neighbours, such as Indonesia, which boasts several giant, locally-owned marketplaces.
Given that prominent e-commerce marketplaces operating in Malaysia, such as Lazada and Shopee, are foreign-owned, outright bans on others could potentially stifle the entrepreneurial spirit among the rakyat and local businesses. This scenario particularly impacts the B40 demographic adversely by limiting accessible platforms to sell their goods.
Hence, e-Commerce Malaysia calls for the elephant in the room to be addressed – which is specifically TikTok Shop’s role and responsibility in our local business environment.
e-Commerce Malaysia and PIKOM envision a future where global and local digital entities coexist and collaborate, each reinforcing the other towards a thriving, equitable and sustainable Digital Economy.
TikTok Shop and similar platforms can be instrumental in amplifying the reach and capabilities of our local entities, provided their operations are tightly aligned with the well-being of our Digital Economy.