The Malaysia Digital Hub Initiative aims at supporting companies scale throughout SEA through Malaysia.
BEAM Team 4 Jul, 2017
SouthEast Asia (SEA) is a very different kind of beast when it comes to the market composition.
Unlike homogeneous markets like China, Japan, and India, the challenges to scale a company across SEA is an entirely different ballgame, and in fact - a very challenging one.
However with a population of over 600 million people (and growing) with plenty of fresh capital flowing in from the west, China, and Japan, SouthEast Asia is definitely a part of the world that can no longer be ignored today.
As Malaysia is starting to become a more strategic hub to tackle business expansion across SouthEast Asia due to the lower cost of business and an ever-growing (diverse) test-bedding market, the Malaysian government has been proactively introducing new initiatives to bring more value to local and foreign entrepreneurs.
Earlier this April, MDEC announced the introduction of the Malaysia Digital Hub Initiative - an initiative focused on enabling startups and early stage companies to gain access to a broad range of resources, connections, and policies via on-ground access. In short, it is an initiative designed to support founders build and scale great companies across SEA from Malaysia.
So what are the key areas one would benefit from this specifically?
Entry Visas for New and Established Entrepreneurs into Malaysia
One of the most important things to tackle when expanding to new markets is visa requirements.
With the launch of the Digital Hub initiative, the government of Malaysia also introduced a new visa type under the Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur Programme (MTEP) - an initiative focused on encouraging more tech entrepreneurs to access the ASEAN market via Malaysia.
As of April 2017, new and established foreign entrepreneurs can easily apply for an entry visa to Malaysia for a period of 1 year (for new entrepreneurs) and 5 years (for established entrepreneurs).
Visas take only 6 weeks for approval and cost only USD600 (for new entrepreneurs) and USD1200 (for established entrepreneurs).
Direct connections to the local ecosystem and players
Connections are crucial when entering a new market, and one of the key elements of the Digital Hub is to connect entrepreneurs to the right ecosystem players (and partners) who can assist them with a soft-landing into Malaysia.
Some of these connections include government representatives, institutional investors & venture capital firms, venture builders, banks, and large corporations.
Some of the large corporations include companies such as Microsoft, Alibaba, Maybank, Autodesk and many more.
Aside from the connections, entrepreneurs will also be linked to service providers who are able to provide assistance with regards operating and growing their business effectively in the country. Some of these include (but are not limited to):
Affordable working spaces and more
Setting up base can also be very costly when entering new markets, and that is one of the key areas that the Digital Hub aims at tackling - to reduce the operational cost of businesses that are entering Malaysia.
As of today, 4 co-working spaces strategically located around the heart of Kuala Lumpur are part of the Digital Hub initiative. They are APW (Bangsar), The Co., (Bangsar), Common Ground (Damansara), and WORQ (TTDI).
All working spaces are equipped with high speed internet access and provide conducive working environments for both small and large groups of people, making the scaling-up process for companies a lot smoother.
“Malaysia is gradually gaining interests from startups and entrepreneurs worldwide. Located at the heart of Asean, Malaysia is able to connect businesses to a regional market of more than 625 million people,” MDEC CEO Yasmin Mahmood said.
“With the introduction of Malaysia Digital Hub and MTEP, the local and global tech startup communities can now leverage these benefits our country has to offer. We believe this will help to strengthen Malaysia’s position as a global hub for startups and entrepreneurs.”
If you're an entrepreneur building a startup/early stage company and keen on expanding or redomiciling your business to Malaysia, feel free to reach out to us directly via the contact form.