Launch of PayPal Report “Accelerating SME Digitalization in Malaysia”

On September 20th, AMCHAM hosted the launch of PayPal’s latest report “Accelerating Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) Digitalization in Malaysia”. The launch event was attended by senior government and industry leaders including the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Ministry of Finance (MOF), Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative of Malaysia (MEDAC), Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (MATrade), Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), MyDIGITAL Corporation, Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC), and the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

The panel discussion featured Mr. Fabian Bigar, CEO of MyDIGITAL Corporation, Mr. Gopi Ganesalingam, Senior Vice President of MDEC, Ms. Raeesa Sya, Founder & CEO of Orkid Cosmetics (Halal Cosmetics) & Account Director of Elixus Agency and Mr. Steven Chan, International Head of Government Relations at PayPal, and was moderated by Siobhan Das, CEO of AmCham Malaysia.

SMEs are the backbone of the Malaysia’s economy, constituting over 97% of all business establishments and employing nearly half of all workers in Malaysia in 2020. The pandemic, lockdowns and rapid shift to digital channels and e-commerce presented major challenges for many SMEs, especially in digital adoption. PayPal conducted a survey of 1,000 SME owners across Malaysia to examine their digital readiness and their ability to sell cross-border. The report found that digital payments became the key driver for digitalization during the pandemic and while majority of Malaysian SMEs are domestically focused, increasing number of SMEs are pivoting to cross-border trade and internationalization for new customers, expansion, and growth.

The panel discussion focused on the challenges and opportunities of SME digitalization, and how the public and private sectors could work together to enhance resiliency of the SME ecosystem. Mr. Bigar noted SME digitalization is a top priority of the government and the need to streamline support measures to increase accessibility. Mr. Ganesalingam highlighted the effectiveness of MDEC programs such as SME Digitalization Grant, Smart Automation Grant and NxFORCE Program in promoting digital adoption. Digital payment options have helped Ms. Sya to reach global customers and utilize other digital tools to manage her growing e-commerce business. Mr. Chan added that digitalization helps SMEs like Sya’s business to make better decisions based on digital solutions to grow their business, network and profit margins.

Key recommendations from the report include enabling digital payments as a stepping stone to comprehensive digitalization, expanding capacity building, training on cybersecurity for SMEs and increasing targeted resources and support to empower women entrepreneurs. SME digitalization is key to long-term resiliency of Malaysia’s growing digital economy and it requires a concerted effort and enhanced public-private partnerships between universities, non-profits, businesses, and policymakers.

 Click the link below to access the report:

Main Paper:


Click here to access photos of the event