On 4th November 2016, I met with Jack Ma in Beijing and within ten minutes of our meeting, we both agreed to make something happen. Fast forward to today, here we are launching the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ), just four months after that meeting. It was a task that many thought impossible, but we made it happen!
The newly launched Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) is the first in the world outside of China. In an era where geographical boundaries are blurred, it is important for us to keep up and embrace globalisation. DFTZ is an initiative to capitalise on the confluence and exponential growth of the internet economy and cross-border e-Commerce activities. More importantly, DFTZ will be an inclusive initiative that will help the small and medium enterprises (SME) to prosper and have greater presence in our country and the region’s businesses and industries.
DFTZ will merge the physical and virtual spaces, providing offline as well as online digital services. The e-Fulfillment Hub aims to help SMEs and businesses in exporting their goods easily, the Satelite Services Hub will be the region’s digital hub for global and local internet-based companies facilitating end-to-end support. The third component of DFTZ is the e-Services platform that will manage cargo clearance and other processes needed for cross-border trade.
The first e-Fulfillment Hub will be located at KLIA Aeropolis while an area in Bandar Malaysia will be dedicated to this initiative as well.
Digital economy will play an important role in driving our country’s growth and development. It is the only sector that can provide double digit growth. With DFTZ, we aim to double SME export growth rate by 2025. We estimate USD65 billion worth of goods will be moving through the DFTZ, with 60,000 direct and indirect jobs created as a result of this growth. There is enormous potential in this industry and I intend to fully explore this opportunity so that many more Malaysians will get to take advantage of it.
Inclusivity is an essential part of our economic growth and development.
Today’s launch of the Digital Free Trade Zone marks a new milestone not just for Malaysia, but for the Southeast Asia region as well. It is an initiative that I truly believe in and I will personally drive this initiative to reach its goal.
Quoting my friend Jack Ma, “Malaysia is very business friendly” and I believe that with his guidance, together we can achieve this vision.