MDeC says will continue to build creative industry talent

MDeC says will continue to build creative industry talent

KUALA LUMPUR: The Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) will continue to build talent in the creative content industry, thus helping to generate more revenue for the government, says Chief Executive Officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood.

She said as of November 2014, the contribution from the creative multimedia industry, from 330 companies, has exceeded last year’s RM6.39 billion.

“MDeC has observed that the talent in the industry has improved and we hope to bring the multimedia companies and individuals with creative talent to the next level.”

“We want to create more companies that are competent not only locally but globally,” she told reporters at the MSC Malaysia Intellectual Property Creators Challenge 2014 (IPCC).

She said although the number of creative content companies in the country is still small, they have big potential and will soon get a chance to collaborate with international industry players.

MDeC has a plan for those in the games and animation industry next year, she said, without disclosing further details.

“We want to encourage more people to enter this industry, which currently has only 50 companies,” she added.

The 15 IPCC winners announced today won grants totalling RM760,000.

The competition showcases the best local talents in the creative content industry, encompassing animation, casual games and digital interactive comics. – Bernama

Can this tablet win the hearts of kindergarteners in Malaysia?


Can this tablet win the hearts of kindergarteners in Malaysia?


To be launched this coming January, the KinderTab is an Android tablet designed and produced by Malaysian startup MyTeach


Come January 2015, for MYR 499 (US$144.76), young children can get their hands on KinderTab, an Android tablet which comes pre-loaded with educational content based on Malaysia’s National Preschool Curriculum.

The tablet will be launched by Malaysia-based five-year-old companyMyteach, better known for other products like exam paper generator PNP Practice and multimedia teaching courseware PNP Master.

KinderTab will launch with content for five core subjects: English, Chinese, Bahasa Melayu, Science and Mathematics. It will be targeted at four to six year old children in kindergartens.

On it, kindergarteners can learn with myReader, a suite of interactive e-books, and myActivity, made up of worksheets and tests. Publishers can upload and update content on myPublisher, an in-house developed content publishing tool.

The company also has plans to work with “reputable kindergartens and publishers” to roll out premium content for parents to purchase separately, according to an official statement.

To ensure peace of mind, the tablet will also come with a built-in performance tracking tool and parental controls. A recent survey published by theAsianparent noted that 94 per cent of some 2,714 parents in Southeast Asia would like parental control mechanisms on mobile devices used by their children.

“We see that there is a huge demand for tablet devices for kids, but unfortunately most of the products available in the market today were not built with kids in mind,” said Nick Lee, Founder and CEO, Myteach.

Also Read: Echelon 2014: Meet easyuni, an online portal for higher education

To test the product, Myteach has sent out a number of KinderTab tablets to some 30 schools in the country.

The company intends to sell 12,000 units by end-2015. It will be selling to both schools and parents via salespeople on the ground and its e-commerce store.

Lee told e27 that the team, which has a headcount of five, has been working on the tablet for the last two years.

L-r: Louis Gan - CTO Nick Lee - Founder and CEO Adrian Goo - CMO

It has conducted research by interviewing parents and working with early childhood care and education experts to refine KinderTab.

Additionally, the company will be working with Beaconhouse Malaysia to run a pilot project at their kindergartens starting January 2015, according to Lee.

Commenting on why the company decided to launch a branded tablet in partnership with a Chinese original design manufacturer (ODM) instead of just digitised educational content, Lee said,

“Initially we wanted to have a proper ecosystem. Android devices are quite fragmented. We wanted our users to have the best experience… (By launching KinderTab,) we are able to control the system the app runs on.”

While Myteach has previously explored a few offers from various ODMs, ones in China have proven to be most cost-effective. “ODMs in China can be differentiated by grades and we are working with a Grade A ODM to ensure high quality standards,” he said.

Additionally, by coming out with its own tablet, Myteach is able to create a line of accessories standardised for KinderTab. One example would be the Bumpee, a protective silicon casing sold separately.

Local first, regional later
Currently bootstrapped, Myteach is looking for an investment of US$500,000. The funds will be used to enhance the product, boost hiring efforts and expand regionally.

“We have a lot more ideas in mind, and to execute them, we will need a few more developers to join our team,” said Lee.

Going forward, the entrepreneur is looking to increase headcount to 10 by end-2014. All staffers will be based in Malaysia for now, where it is looking to establish itself as a dominant player.

Also Read: Tablets worth US$935M sold in SEA from Jan to Apr this year

There will also be training workshops for customers. “We believe that only with sufficient training for our customers will they be able to extract the full value from our products,” he said.

Lee and his team are also looking to explore opportunities in Southeast Asia. To do so, they would need to identify and work with suitable local educational content publishers and partners, who can go digital with Myteach’s publishing platform.


For prompt delivery, there is no faster way than stocking in: Hermo’s Ian Chua


Hermo Co-founder talks about being men in a woman’s industry, gaining trust of brands and expansion plans


We shortlisted top e-commerce websites in Malaysia more than a year ago, and there is one in particular that is getting increasingly popular, especially among the ladies – Hermo.

Hermo is among the top 500 websites in Malaysia, according to Alexa,#397 to be exact, as of early December 2014. According to another third-party web analytics tool, monthly visits to Hermo is estimated at 150K, not bad at all by considering its visitors are mainly female.

Hermo has certainly set itself as the leading beauty e-commerce site in Malaysia, if not the premier one. Here, we have the opportunity to interview one of its Co-founders, Ian Chua.

Read on…

How and when did you start Hermo?
Back then, we were observing beauty online businesses in China; this proven and successful business model in China inspired and prompted us to quit our full time job and venture into this full time.

Hermo was started in February 2012, with just an open-source shopping cart system. I remember that we were using all our savings, renting a RM400 flat unit that time. We did gather positive responses during the three months trial period, and officially re-launched it in June 2012.

How many co-founding partners you have at Hermo?
There are two founders — I and Chong, who was my classmate during the secondary school. We were selling shoes via Lowyat forum before Hermo was started. Both of us are 25 years old and this is our first venture without any prior experience.

Also Read: Zalora may need to open offline store in Indonesia

We then have Ian Mok who joined us as COO a year after we setup Hermo. He has 10 years experience in business management which is certainly helpful to assist us and optimise our e-commerce business process.

Since both of you are guys, why did you start a beauty business?
We didn’t think about this really; just wanted to try it out when we started Hermo. We did consider though guys mainly buy gadgets or games online, while ladies do shop a lot on fashion, bags and beauty products.

I remember it was quite awkward when we walked into SaSa stores, doing research, and trying to understand like what’s toner or emulsion, haha!

For us, beauty is a big untapped market. There are strong online cosmetics brands leveraging on digital and social media channel, which makes perfect match with Hermo to reach out to the consumers.

By whom, when and how did Hermo attract investment?
In June 2013, after we have bootstrapped for a year, Tan Swee Yeong came in as an angel investor, followed by investment from Crystal Horse.

On why the investors are interested in Hermo, I think it is mainly down to our vertical flash sale model (plus lack of vertical big players here) and our team’s personality. We did not even really prepare a proper business proposal. I guess angel or VCs out there are investing more on the people who are passionate and have the will to success.

In return, what do you expect from the investors besides the fund?
There are a lot of issues which you can’t extract from the reports. Tan Swee Yeong is a successful entrepreneur and he fully understands that entrepreneurship journey is tough. He always gives us his full support and advice based on his experience.

I think it is very important that the investors are hands-on enough (so that he or she understands the business process) and share the same vision with the founders.


How do you utilise the investment, and why?
We prefer to invest on customer service over marketing. We have invested the big chunk of our resources on stock holding as this is the only way to provide good and prompt service to our customers. We have seen many online businesses invest heavily on advertising but face issues on fulfillment.

To provide better service on our refund policy, our customer service officers are authorised to decide by themselves whether to refund immediately (in terms of cash or cash balance) to the customers, without the need of approval from their manager.

On another note, we insist on building our own website from scratch (not using any open-source software) including back-end management and inventory system. With this, we are able to optimise the algorithms for key business processes, and we always emphasise to the team to maximise the advantage of doing e-commerce by leveraging on the Big Data.

What is the percentage of SKUs you have ready stock?
At the moment, we carry over 200 brands and 2,500 SKUs on our website, and 95 per cent of the SKUs we have stocks in our warehouse. As mentioned earlier, this is something that we are quite insistent on.

Also Read: Carousell raises S$1M funding; expands to Malaysia & Indonesia

In order to provide prompt delivery service, there is no faster way than stock in. Consumers might start doubting about your business if you don’t ship out their orders within three days.

What are the demographics of your customers?
We found out that our customers range from college girls to office ladies, mainly from 18 to 35 years old; 80 per cent of them are Chinese.

Even though we are based in Johor, our biggest customer base is KL and Selangor, followed by Penang and East Malaysia.

How did you convince your suppliers to go online with Hermo?
We don’t have any real supplier relationship when we started. In the early days, we even buy over the counter to make up the variety, and resell without any profits.

Most brands when we visit them, don’t trust e-commerce at all. They are comfortable with their traditional distribution channels, so it is challenging to convince them to go online with us. It was really not easy to gain their trust.

Every supplier sign-up is tough, we have to offer value-added services, prove to them that online works, and maintain good business relationship with them.

Our first brand partner only came in when Hermo was nine months old, their sales in Hermo has grown to 20 times as of today.

How is the growth rate of Hermo, is it profitable now?
From day 1 since we launch Hermo, we have achieved yearly 400 per cent growth until today. We are profitable since 2014.

What’s next for Hermo?
We have just launched our Singapore site. It is a straight-forward decision as we are based in Johor Bahru, just a strait away. The other reasons being the advantages of our supply chain, brands partner strategy and talent acquisition. We are also planning to move our R&D and sourcing parts to Singapore when the time is right.

Out of Malaysia and Singapore, Southeast Asia no doubt is a big market but too fragmented, which requires huge resources and the risks are bigger too. We prefer to focus on what we are doing now to grow our markets here. If you ask me to pick our potential next destinations, it might be Indonesia and Vietnam.

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Eyeing role in China’s e-commerce

Eyeing role in China’s e-commerce

MCA Youth is working with Chinese businessmen to set up a centre in Malaysia to store and distribute items sold online more efficiently in the region.

MCA Youth chief Chong Sin Woon said the party wing was in talks with e-commerce players in China to set up the proposed centre in the free trade zone in Kedah.

“We are currently discussing with the Kedah government on this matter. So far, their response has been positive,” he said after launching an e-commerce seminar in Wisma MCA, Kuala Lumpur.

Chong, who is a senator, said the proposed hub would enable popular products sold online by Chinese entrepreneurs to be distributed more efficiently to Malaysian customers as well as those in the surrounding region.

“Currently, products sold online to Malaysian customers from China only arrive at their doorstep after about two weeks,” he said.

Chong said MCA Youth was currently on a nationwide roadshow together with the E-Commerce Association of Malaysia to encourage more people to take up e-commerce.

The seminar on Saturday was the first leg of the roadshow, which will cover five other states — Sabah, Penang, Kedah, Johor and Pahang.

“The roadshow will go on until February next year, before Chinese New Year.

“MCA’s cooperative, Kojadi, will also be there to explain how budding businessmen can apply for loans,” said Chong.

On another matter, Chong said MCA Youth had invited Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg to Malaysia to speak to local youths about e-commerce and social media.

He said the party wing had written to Zuckerberg to ask him to come to Malaysia next year to share his experience and knowledge.

“He has been to Indonesia so we thought he could come here as well to speak to our youths,” Chong said.

The party wing is still awaiting Zuckerberg’s response on the matter.

Why aren’t more Malaysian brands spending on social media?


Why aren’t more Malaysian brands spending on social media?

Izlyn Ramli


The social media landscape in Malaysia is vibrant, with many APAC marketers citing the market as one of the most engaged on various social media platforms.

But therein lies the disconnect between user behavior and where brands are in targeting them.

“Social media is a refuge for some and this is true for the general Malaysian population. We’re quite a reserved lot but incredibly animated when you get up-close. On social media, it gets even more animated because you can hide behind a certain veil of anonymity,” said Izlyn Ramli, VP of group brand and communication of Telekom Malaysia (TM).

While Malaysians are incredibly active on social media, Malaysian brands are not doing enough on the social media sphere.

Quoting a McKinsey study, Ramli said consumers in the digital space interacting with content is about 22%. However many Malaysian brands are only spending about 4% on their social media spend. That shows the disconnect.

In contrast, TM decided to increase its digital and social media spend from 12% to 25%. On the TM marketing team, there is a digital team of 10 working on social media alongside its recently appointed social media agency UM for marketing campaigns.

The key is to only bite off what you can chew, says Ramli. She added that TM in general started off small. TM currently manages social media conversations from a corporate communications perspective.

“Social media is a real-time gratification platform where you have to manage the platform 24/7 as part of customer service. Because we started out small, we defined our period of engagement which was from 9am to 5pm daily,” said Ramli.

Now that this service has been extended to midnight, consumers are still constantly commenting and engaging with TM. This just goes to show that the more you engage with the public, the more they will engage back with you, said Ramli.

She added that in terms of mentions a day, TM has approximately a thousand mentions – but extreme positive or negatives comments only come up to 6% either way. The rest are all rather neutral.

“In managing the conversation, we tend to move negative into neutral. But moving neutral into positive – that is the next big challenge,” said Ramli.

“When it comes to marketing and engaging with your consumers, you need to keep it real. You only have a certain amount money and that small window of opportunity to engage with your consumers. A two minute tear-jerker says more than your cheapest product in the market. The best campaigns consumers always remember keep things real. Keep it real. Make it real,” said Ramli.

PUC Founder eases the shift towards digital economy

PUC Founder eases the shift towards digital economy

PUC founder and managing director Cheong Chia Chieh unveiled plans for some of the segments that PUC is eyeing within the IT industry to tap into growth potential.

KUCHING: Tapping into Malaysia’s growing internet penetration, PUC Founder (MSC) Bhd (PUC) aims to create a seamless digital platform for Malaysians to embrace the digital economy.

Speaking to The Borneo Post recently, company founder and managing director Cheong Chia Chieh unveiled plans for some of the segments that PUC is eyeing within the IT industry to tap into growth potential.

“As expansion to e-content plan, internet radio could be one to exploit in view of the high listenership especially among the youth and Malaysian road users.

They are currently limited to FM and passive broadcasting,” he explained.

“Unlike movie and music, radio content is expected to be live, local and relevant. It is about delivering content that relate to the daily life of Malaysian and not just becoming a music player like most internet radio today.

“It is borderless, so people in Sabah and Sarawak can equally tune in on the same platform and yet enjoy different variety of content or formats.” Another aspect PUC was looking at was Total Payment Solutions, Cheong said.

“Malaysians love to shop and large daily-deal and e-commerce sites have quickly become top destinations online,” he observed.

“E-commerce revenues were $380 million in 2013 and Japanese giant Rakuten who launched in Malaysia less than two years ago estimates this to increase to $530 million in 2017.

“We aim to be a major payment gateway service provider in Malaysia as well as the connector that bring internet users to spend more in the local retail stores.

“As for Digital Advertising, most advertisers will go for advertising solutions that can deliver precision in targeting and ROI.

“Especially when the consumer market is foreseeable to continue to be challenging in 2015 and demand generation should be done by needs and not just awareness.

“Therefore, Digital advertising that supported by Big Data analytics will be essential.

Advertisers will be guided in their marketing plans through smarter programmatic advertising to invest at the right place to engage the right customer at the right occasion.”

Malaysia’s growing internet penetration – among the highest of Asean countries – encourages PUC to tap into this market, taking into account e-commerce seeing positive growth with shopping transactions estimated no less than the more populated neighboring countries.

“However, there is still room to grow given the much lower e-commerce per cent of retail vis-a-vis those of advanced economy like Singapore and China.

“The fact is 70 per cent of Malaysian SMEs do not even have a website, and what more doing e-commerce.

Hence, PUC Founder through its subsidiary EPP Solutions is offering these Malaysian Enterprises an easy entry plan to go for e-commerce and e-payment.”

When asked if they thought there was greater potential in e-content, e-payment and business-to-business social media segments, the CEO responded with a confident “definitely”.

“The boundary for digital businesses is little known. Its advancement and impact on conventional lifestyle (life as baby boomers and Gen-X know), is evident in developed countries – Malaysia will experience the same phenomenon as it progresses in its transformation into a developed and high-income nation.

Furthermore, it is important to note that Malaysia has one of the highest internet penetration in the region.

However, there is not enough local content or efficient payment solutions. For example, we go to internet today to watch foreign content, listen to foreign music and radio more than the local, and we can’t even make payment via mobile phone at local physical stores except few with limited service providers.

Malaysians may own International Class Smart Devices like any other advanced economy but could not effectively use the many features they have already paid for in these devices, unlike that in nations with leading statistics.

Given the current Malaysian business landscape as described (70% of SMEs still offline), we believe O2O solutions is perfect to bridge the digital divide.

Driving the high number of internet users to the high number of physical stores nationwide in Malaysia.

Moreover, Malaysians love to chat on social media and gain insight or experience of peers before making decisions.

Hence, apps embedded with friends’ and public recommendation and reviews would just fit perfectly into the equation.

Lastly, the shopping experience should be enhanced with a cashless and cardless mobile solution.

Allowing an integrated payment option that all contain in just one mobile phone or mobile device, acceptable by all physical stores that makes shopping fast, rewarding and safe.

Read more:

Opportunities arife in Malaysia’s mobile advertising trends, says Buzz City

KUCHING: Digital growth prospects in Malaysia promises to be significantly optimistic as smartphone penetration continues to grow and advertisers adjust budgets to spend more for mobile advertising.

According to BuzzCity founder and chief executive officer Dr KF Lai, businesses will likely maintain a digital presence through apps, mobile sites and traditional web sites.

“Advertisers are also adjusting budgets to spend more online – particularly on mobile,” he told The Borneo Post in an interview recently. “At least 82 per cent of Malaysian surfers watch online videos on their mobiles – we expect advertisers to follow where the eyeballs are and more video ads will be deployed, especially those developed as a web series.”

Lai said in Malaysia, there was a sizeable gap between online media consumption and online ad spending.

“Given this point, our job is to continue to raise awareness and help educate marketers and advertisers about the huge digital opportunity and how they can maximize their budget in this space in a variety of ways.”

The big growth in mobile advertising, he said, was supported by changing trends in online shopping in the country.

“In the second quarter this year, we released the results of a global online shopping survey run in collaboration with the Mobile Marketing Association,” Lai explained.

“Like the rest of the world, consumers in Malaysia are increasingly changing the way they choose their purchases.

About 78 per cent of the Malaysians surveyed said they shopped online, with nearly half using their mobile to purchase goods and services.

“Computers and electronics accounted for 13 per cent, clothing and accessories 13 per cen), and travel 12 per cent are the most popular items among Malaysian online shoppers.

“Given this trend, marketers will have to re-think how they create and measure brand power to stay relevant and attractive across all digital media.”

Nevertheless, each industry was different, Lai said, as was the case of the banking sector which he said affects a large percentage of the population.

“We ran a global mobile banking survey in the first quarter that revealed interesting findings for bankers, and other corporates, trying to make a difference online. “Here in Malaysia, while security fears is decreasing as a barrier (despite fear mongering news of credit card fraud), nearly a third of those surveyed were apathetic about mobile banking – they didn’t see a great need for the service.

“In fact, 36 per cent said that their banks don’t provide mobile banking! Clearly, more consumer education is needed in the banking sector.

“We also noted the rising popularity of ‘mobile based’ banks – where accounts are linked to SIM cards – that have gained widespread adoption and market share in a relatively short time. We hope to see this as part of Bank Negara’s branchless banking initiative.”

Read more:

REDtone bags RM88.57m MCMC job

REDtone bags RM88.57m MCMC job

PETALING JAYA: REDtone International Bhd’s subsidiary, REDtone Marketing Sdn Bhd (RMSB) has been awarded a RM88.57 million job by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to build, operate and maintain radio access network (RAN) infrastructure in rural areas in Sarawak and Johor.

The job is part of MCMC’s RAN Sharing Time 3 Phase 3 program aimed at further providing voice and data connectivity in rural areas of the country.

RMSB is responsible for completing the job within 35 days after notification from the designated universal service providers that the tower and its associated site/facilities are ready for RMSB to commence construction works on the RAN infrastructure.

It will work with at least three specific public cellular network providers to enable them to offer cellular services to their customers, as well as provide maintenance and operation support services for three years after completion of the job.

The contract is part of the group’s expansion plan and to accelerate creation of critical mass of its network in Sarawak & Johor, thus significantly reducing its existing network cost.

“With the reduction of cost, it is expected to contribute positively to the financial performance of REDtone group in the future,” it said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday.

MCMC initiative to make Malaysia a global hub

KUALA LUMPUR: International Islamic Trade, Business and Tourism Fair 2015 will be the platform for the launch of Malaysia, China and Muslim Countries’ (MCMC) chamber of commerce next year.

The fair’s secretariat chairman Abdul Halim Abdul Rahman said the chamber of commerce is an initiative of the secretariat as well as China’s International New Silk Road Cultural Committee.

“Malaysia has good relationship with the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and we want to use Malaysia as the standard of communication between the countries,” he said at a briefing on the fair, here, yesterday.

“The main objective for the establishment of the MCMC chamber of commerce is to make Malaysia a hub between China and Muslim countries. We will promote Malaysia as the Asian and global hub for China’s cultural, trade and commerce activities with Muslim countries,” said Abdul Halim.

Halim, who will also be the deputy chairman of the MCMC chamber of commerce, said it had been endorsed by the Chinese government.


The three-day fair will be held at the Putra World Trade Centre from January 30 and is expected to be officiated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The secretariat expects some 30,000 visitors to visit the fair, which will have more than 600 booths.

MCMC: High time Malaysians adopted ‘Internet of Things’

MCMC: High time Malaysians adopted ‘Internet of Things’

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is in the midst of collaborating with government agencies to promote digital connectivity in the residential and business communities.

MCMC services and support chief officer Tengku Zaib Raja Ahmad said the agency was committed towards facilitating the adoption of a digital lifestyle and the Internet of Things (IoT) in Malaysia to improve lives and create more business opportunities.

“The commission took the initiative in 2010 to promote the digital concept for critical aspects of life such as transport, agriculture, the home and community.

“We are currently working with the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) on the development of a public transport mobile application that will provide real-time information on public transport services, such as estimated time of arrival, fare and parking.

“This is to accelerate the development of services through the high speed wire and wireless infrastructure that has reached every column of the country,” he said at the opening of  the IoT Conference and Exhibition on Wednesday.

The event was co-organised by MCMC and Universiti Malaya (UM) to promote awareness and IoT initiatives.

The conference was facilitated by prominent industrialists and experts discussing the latest updates and developments in IoT, its advantages, challenges and costs.

The event also featured exhibition of innovative products related to healthcare, engineering, design and connectivity.

Tengku Zaib said it was high time Malaysians seriously considered changing their lifestyles and discovered how IoT could be embedded in their everyday lives.

UM deputy vice-chancellor of development Prof Dr Faisal Rafiq Mahamd Adikan said the university was looking forward to adopting technologies that would make the campus green and sustainable.

“We welcome new ideas as UM is a large experimental bed for our researchers,” he said.   By Ashiqin Ariffin and Rebecca Hani Romeli