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SME Featured Southeast Asia

MY’s Employees Provident Fund rolls out e-payroll service for SMEs

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – The Malaysian arm of retirement fund Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has announced the launch of e-payroll, an enhancement of the i-Akaun (Employer) portal, to help facilitate employer’s statutory obligations, including EPF contribution, digitally.

The service launch provides a secure and seamless experience for employers, emphasizing on automated calculations of statutory deductions and contributions to regulatory bodies. This initiative is in line with EPF’s objectives of helping employers, particularly small-medium enterprises (SMEs), fulfill their obligations to employees while making it easier and seamless for them to operate their businesses.

In addition, the service also provides employers with the capability to digitally store the records of their employees including that of salary, helping to enhance process efficiency by reducing the time needed to manage activities related to statutory obligations.

For Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir, chairman at EPF, they were well aware of the increasingly important role of digitalization in our lives, with the COVID-19 pandemic pushing many clients to adopt digital technology at a faster speed with greater accuracy.

“At the EPF, we have approached this with our members’ interest in mind, and have taken the initiative to continuously improve our offerings that would benefit both employers and employees. The e-payroll service is designed to assist SME users of i-Akaun (Employer) who are not using any payroll solution or do not have the financial means to utilize a payroll solution,” he stated.

Said solution was developed in collaboration with and endorsed by the Inland Revenue Board Malaysia (IRBM), Social Security Organisation (SOCSO), and Human Resource Development Corporation (HRD Corp). This close collaboration will ensure the accuracy and up-to-dateness of statutory requirements in the e-payroll.

The e-payroll was well-received by 600 SMEs that had enrolled in the pilot test and soft launch recently.

“The EPF continues to evolve in order to stay relevant in the face of rapid technological advances and dynamic changes in the job landscape. Digitalization will ensure that we are able to offer the highest level of service while meeting the expectations of our members and employers,” Tan Sri Ahmad Badri added.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

Maxis doubles down on content with new ‘UsahaWIRA’ program to empower SMEs

Malaysia – Inspired by Malaysian SMEs’ entrepreneurial spirit and important role in the digital economy, telco Maxis has announced the launch of its new ‘UsahaWIRA’ (hero entrepreneur) program.

The program aims to help SMEs in the country to accelerate their business reactivation and build resilience for the future through digitalization.

As part of the program, Maxis will be releasing a series of initiatives and relevant content with a focus on the SME Digitalization Program by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), which showcase success stories of real-life ‘UsahaWIRAs’ that are already reaping the benefits of the grant and digital solutions, in an aim to inspire thousands of entrepreneurs across Malaysia. In addition, Maxis’ SME Help Squad will also be accessible to answer questions from business owners.

One of the program’s initiatives is “Ronda-Ronda Ketemu ‘UsahaWIRA’, Astro TV series”, which is a six-episode series that features celebrity host and business owner Ajak Shiro, and his journey with a Maxis’ SME Help Squad representative, searching for local hero entrepreneurs who want to share their stories on taking up digital solutions through the grant.

Another initiative is “‘UsahaWIRA’ film and customer featurettes”, a content that puts the spotlight on three ‘UsahaWIRAs’ across the country who overcame their challenges by digitizing their businesses with Maxis Business solutions through the grant and obtained real results that have made a difference in growing their businesses.

“Tanyalah Maxis” is also another initiative of the program, where Maxis Business and MDEC will be releasing various content pieces including bite-sized TikTok-style videos to answer all SMEs’ questions about digitalization and the Grant at the end of May.

And lastly, the “Spark ‘UsahaWIRA’” initiative, which is an extension of Maxis’ popular Spark series a series of interactive virtual forums to help businesses accelerate digital transformation and embrace IR4.0. It is a full-day event featuring some of the biggest names in the industry along with successful entrepreneurs who will share their journey on digital entrepreneurship, and host multiple workshop sessions.

Maxis’ Chief Enterprise Business Officer Paul McManus shared that as SMEs strive to protect their businesses in this challenging landscape, the company is encouraging them to think of what they need, both now and in the future, to be future-ready. 

“The ‘UsahaWIRA’ program aims to empower them to act quickly in adopting digital technologies through learnings and results from experienced entrepreneurs. Our goal is to guide them every step of the way and help them leverage digitalization so that they can always be ahead in a changing world,” said McManus.

Meanwhile, Aiza Azreen Ahmad, the chief digital business officer of MDEC, commented that the past year has brought into sharp focus the digital mandate, condensing the development of digitalization in a short period of time, as it is no longer a choice but a necessity. 

“We welcome Maxis’ ‘UsahaWIRA’ program which will give SMEs the confidence to take the first step in going digital through the SME Digitalization programs,” said Ahmad.

Just recently, Maxis has also launched ‘eKelas Usahawan’, a structured digital marketing program to empower women entrepreneurs in rural communities to develop a stronger digital presence. It comprises a series of digital marketing workshops at no cost, with a practical and hands-on approach, equipping them with digital tools and skills to help them grow their business.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

Huawei Malaysia inks partnership with Vita Media to bolster SME digitalization

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Cloud service provider Huawei Technologies in Malaysia has signed a Memorandum of Collaboration (MoC) with marketing agency Vita Media, to accelerate digitalization among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country.

At the center of the partnership is the aim to boost Vita Media’s information review hub, ‘Askpert’, and Huawei will be providing the needed infrastructure to improve the platform. The marketing agency will be carrying out business-to-business (B2B) collaborations in order to get SMEs to take full advantage of ‘Askpert’ in their business transactions.

Through ‘Askpert’, consumers are able to have more access to transparent and accurate information, enabling them to make more informed purchasing decisions by referring to other users’ comments and personal reviews. On the merchant side meanwhile, the review hub will be able to help them address users’ voices through their personal verdict of products and services. 

Vita Media’s CEO Kiro Tan said, “We are grateful to Huawei Cloud for their commitment to bringing affordable, effective, and reliable cloud services through technological innovation. We firmly believe that with the availability of a platform such as ASKPERT, combined with Huawei Cloud’s expertise, we will be able to improve the awareness among SMEs on the latest digital trends, thereby expanding the range of market scopes.”

Meanwhile, Huawei Malaysia’s Cloud and AI Business Group’s vice president Chee Siong Lim thanked Vita Media for choosing Huawei Cloud as its business and industry partner and reiterated the need for businesses, especially SMEs which are more vulnerable to the negative effects of COVID-19, to upskill digitally and adopt technology to give them a competitive advantage in today’s world.

“Huawei remains committed to driving digital growth among SMEs for the benefit of both businesses and consumers while supporting the Malaysian government’s vision to digitally transform the sector. This collaboration with Vita Media will leverage Huawei’s technology to improve accessibility to infotainment content and in doing so, enrich consumers’ lives,” said Lim.

Vita Media has also announced the upcoming launch of its new ‘live broadcast plus e-commerce’, which will be hosted on Huawei Cloud, with the aim to offer interesting live sales content in three languages and guarantees the lowest price for a three-hour broadcast limit throughout the year.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

MDEC launches ‘#SayaDigital Movement’ to increase digital literacy across MY

Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaMalaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has launched anew the ‘#SayaDigital Movement’ in Malaysia, which had been originally introduced to increase digital literacy among the B40 group, youths, senior citizens, and socio-economically vulnerable across 12 locations in the country.

The #SayaDigital campaign was first launched in 2020 as part of MDEC’s efforts to support Malaysians and local businesses to step up digitalization measures that will help to reduce the socio-economic impact of the pandemic. Through the campaign, MDEC introduced several initiatives, such as SME Digital Summit, #YoungCreators Movement, #MYDigitalWorkforce Week, and Gig and Freelance Expo (GFX). 

This year’s ‘#SayaDigital Movement’ focuses on four components, namely, training young people to become ‘Geng #SayaDigital’ volunteers, creating awareness through digital literacy activities, conducting digital readiness assessments, and providing basic digital skills training to the community. 

To kickstart the #SayaDigital this 2021, three pilot programs were held to raise digital literacy awareness involving 301 participants, with the latest being held at Kampung Desa Temuan in Bukit Lanjan last March. A series of interactive workshops were implemented that exposed them to the digital skills needed to face challenges in the new normal.

In addition, there are eight #SayaDigital online programs that have been streamed via Facebook Live. MDEC has also designed 12 adaptation and digital literacy programs with 2,000 participants who are expected to participate in a basic digital literacy training course. They will be working closely with 100 volunteers who are also known as ‘Geng #SayaDigital’ ambassadors. 

Participants will answer the ‘Digital Readiness Assessment’ to measure their level of digital literacy. The test results will then determine the ‘Basic Digital Literacy Learning Module’ that they will be assigned to. The program also includes three main modules – digital communication, internet banking and e-wallet, and digital service applications that are used in other countries.

Tan Sri Dato’ Hj. Muhyiddin bin Hj. Mohd Yassin, the YAB prime minister of Malaysia, said, “MDEC’s move to launch #SayaDigital to enhance digital skills among the B40 group, youths, senior citizens, and socio-economically vulnerable groups is timely as our country strives to achieve its ambition of becoming a major regional digital economy market. This is in line with the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (SPV 2030), an initiative that will not marginalize any groups of people.”

Meanwhile, YBhg. Datuk Wira Dr Hj. Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff, the chairman of MDEC, shared that the goals outlined in MyDIGITAL are based on the confidence that they can empower Malaysians to face challenges head-on that the new norm had brought about. 

“After all, the goal is to create a technology-integrated society through Malaysia 5.0. Equipping people with digital capabilities is a key factor for the synergy between digital infrastructure and the digitally skilled workforce that acts as the backbone for a sustainable digital ecosystem in Malaysia. This advantage will, in turn, be the main driver for the growth of the digital economy in the future,” added Dr Rais Hussin.

Surina Shukri, Chief Executive Officer of MDEC, also commented, “Individuals with efficient digital skills such as coding, animation, Big Data analysis, machine learning, and Cloud Computing are greatly needed in driving forward the digital economy during this pandemic. In this regard, MDEC’s #SayaDigital is a timely effort that will get more people to learn digital skills. Initiatives to empower Malaysians are crucial for their digital journey as we move closer to achieve the goal of making Malaysia the Digital Heart of ASEAN.”

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SME Featured East Asia

HSBC Hong Kong launches B2B digital community platform

Hong Kong – HSBC Hong Kong has rolled out a new business-to-business (B2B) digital community platform HSBC VisionGo. The platform will serve as an ecosystem for SMEs, startups, and prospective entrepreneurs where they can exchange dialogue for business insights as well as a place for networking. 

The platform is built on the company’s cloud computing platform Microsoft Azure. It employs machine learning technologies to offer personalized professional insights and networking opportunities through an AI-enhanced interface, along with new interactive features designed to further foster conversations and collaboration. 

The platform also enables SME operators to follow each other. Business topics can also be discussed among the community through interactive polling. In addition, SMEs can promote their own offers to create new business leads, or redeem available offers as added benefits. 

According to a recent HSBC report, 95% of Hong Kong businesses have extended support to, or have received support from other businesses they work with by exchanging expertise and sharing premises (50%), enabling others to get their products to customers (46%), or relaxing payment terms for their smaller partners (35%).

Terence Chiu, head of commercial banking at HSBC Hong Kong said, “HSBC is committed to investing in digital innovation to help Hong Kong’s SME sector. We are a connector in the business community, and we aim to use our strength to build a collaborative business ecosystem that will help businesses get through these challenging times and position themselves to make the most of the opportunities when they come.” 

A beta version of the platform was unveiled in March 2020. As the platform continues to develop, HSBC will be introducing features such as integration with its mobile payment service PayMe.