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The Edge

Digital economy hitting 20 per cent of Malaysia’s GDP by 2020 easily achievable, says expert

Microsoft Malaysia director says millennials will not only drive digital economy as consumers but also as entrepreneurs

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 January, 2017, 12:17pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 March, 2017, 2:25pm

By Alexis See Tho

Malaysia’s target for the digital economy to make up 20 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020 is easily achievable, according to an expert.

“The digital economy currently contributes 16.8 per cent to the GDP and the government aims for it to reach 20 per cent of the GDP by 2020,” said Microsoft Malaysia’s director of legal, corporate and government affairs Jasmine Begum.

Commenting on the country’s present digital economy, she said that Malaysia “will easily exceed those numbers”.

She added that millennials, who were born into a digital environment, will drive the growth of digital economy. “You have a generation of people who click and buy. It’s a swipe economy.”

Begum was part of a panel discussion at the launch of The Digital Economy and the Free Flow of Data report conducted by trade association the US-Asean Business Council, and audit and consulting firm Deloitte.

The report calls for Asean governments to embark on digital-economy growth together as a region instead of individual countries, making the region more attractive for foreign direct investments. The Asean region is the world’s third largest in number of mobile subscribers, behind China, India and the US.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in October last year announced that 2017 is Malaysia’s “Year of Digital Economy”, and initiatives to create digital hubs to encourage start-ups and train data scientists will be the government’s main focuses.

Begum noted that the millennial generation will not only drive digital economy as consumers but also as entrepreneurs.

“The young graduates that are coming out are into the notion of start-ups. And start-ups by nature do not just go local. They innovate, they want to go abroad. That shift in mindset will drive the contribution to the digital economy,” Begum concluded.

Digital economy hitting 20% of GDP by 2020 easily achievable, says expert