Speech by Mr. Cheah Kok Hoong, PIKOM Chairman

Asiatradex Launch
16 April 2015
Sunway Resort Hotel and Spa


1. YB Datuk Ir. Dr. Wee Ka Siong – Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department
2. Mr. Tan Chen Chiang, CEO & Co-Founder of AsiaTradex.com
3. Mr. Neil Foo, CEO of Secretariat for Advancement of Malaysian Entrepreneurs (SAME)
4. Mr. Isaac Chong, Co-Founder of AsiaTradex.com
5. Mr. Seah Kian Hoe, Top 10 World Young Entrepreneur Award Winner
6. Professor Eng. Dr. Ishkandar Baharin, President of Malaysia Robotic & Automation Interest Group
7. Distinguished Guests
8. Members of the Media
9. Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning.

First and foremost, I am delighted to be here this morning. I am honoured to be given the opportunity to share with you my thoughts on SME development in Malaysia and the promises that ICT holds.

Without a doubt ICT has played a pivotal role in the development of the national economy. The ICT industry in Malaysia contributes about 11% to the national economy. We are poised to represent 17% by 2020 with the catalytic efforts of Digital Malaysia and MSC Malaysia.

PIKOM estimates that the ICT industry today is an RM 70 billion industry and poised to hit the RM 100 billion mark in 2017. This is no small feat and can only be achieved by creating a conducive environment that will allow businesses to prosper while leveraging on ICT.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

SMEs are the lifeblood of the industry. There are more than 800,000 micro, small and medium entreprises in the country. SMEs contribute more than 31% to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 19% of exports. SMEs are also a big employer with 56% of our workforce employed by SMEs.

The SMEs are a power unto themselves if only the sheer numbers are galvanized and aggregated. Today, SMEs are still lagging in ICT adoption and acculturation. PIKOM estimates that only 30% of SMEs have an ICT system to improve operational efficiency in HR, accounting, inventory control, production and CRM and the like. Most will have elementary ICT connectivity such as email and office productivity tools only.

If we were to further drill the details, we will find that micro enterprises that employ 5 to 30 persons will have no or low ICT adoption. This has to change as we seek to be a high-income nation.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Malaysia aspires to be a high-income nation by 2020 measured by per capita income of USD 15,000. We have a short runway of 5 years to reach that goal from USD 11,000 per capita income now.

High-income does not only mean high wages. It also means high productivity. Such gains will not be possible without ICT as an enabling tool. Malaysia is a country full of potential and I believe technology plays a key role as a catalyst in realizing the abundance of opportunities.

Technology today is within reach. Cloud-based applications and solutions have made it possible. SMEs need to be an expert in ICT but can still enjoy the benefit it brings. SMEs need not over-capitalize on hardware but grow as the business grows. It is all possible with the CLOUD.

I am glad that Asiatradex is offering this solution that will not only help in improving their procurement process through this platform but will also provide an avenue for SMEs for grow their business.

Last but not least, I would like to thank the organizers for inviting me to speak at the launch of Asiatradex this morning.

Thank you and have a pleasant day.