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[This is a sponsored article with Sidec.]

On December 10, 2023, five Malaysian brands returned from a week-long overseas business trip in Hangzhou, China.

Facilitated by Selangor Information Technology and Digital Economy Corporation (Sidec), the expedition was part of the Selangor E-Commerce Xccelerator Programme 2023 (ECX23).

Briefly, the ECX23 programme aims to provide ecommerce entrepreneurs, business owners, and founders with the necessary aid to succeed in the competitive digital market.

Image Credit: Sidec

The five Malaysian companies were selected based on their respective innovative business models, growth potential, and effective utilisation of the insights gained from the ECX23 programme.

The winners are:

CompanyWhat they do
Nori MalaysiaProvides funding, ideas, and concepts to help celebrities build and grow their businesses and brands.
Pastels Group Known for its brand, The Pastels Shop, it’s a local business that distributes K-beauty products and expanded to create its own line of skincare goods. 
ShapeeSpecialising in motherhood needs during pregnancy and the postpartum period, the company sells maternity and nursing products.
Sono HoldingA healthtech company providing detailed 5D and 4D ultrasound scans for the examination of expectant mothers. 
Big BathOperational for over a decade, the company provides solutions for kitchen and bathroom amenities.

A glimpse into China’s ecommerce hub

Image Credit: Sidec

Hangzhou was chosen for this expedition as it’s known to be a major ecommerce hub.

Deemed the “Silicon Valley of China”, Hangzhou is where Alibaba was born, and is ranked 10th on Fortune’s list of cities with the most Global 500 headquarters.

Did you know: Global 500 is Fortune Magazine’s annual ranking of the world’s 500 largest companies, measured by how much revenue they made in a single year.

Between December 9-13, 2023, the ECX23 winners delved into China’s AI Town and visited tech facilities focused on ecommerce, big data, cloud computing, IoT, and chip design.

Sidec also facilitated networking sessions between ECX23 entrepreneurs and Hangzhou business leaders. The goal was to help participants gain exposure to how modern technology can be utilised in their businesses to scale globally.

To understand the impact of the business trip on participants, we interviewed the participants to get their key takeaways.

1. The right partners can help you strategically expand to global markets

Image Credit: Shapee

Shapee’s CEO, Eugene Eau shared that the Hangzhou expedition broadened his mindset about the possibilities of scaling his brand.

Previously, he believed that it was only viable to scale his SME within the Southeast Asian market.

Witnessing Alibaba’s growth in Hangzhou has shifted his mindset. Now, Eugene is convinced that penetrating the global market is possible with strategic ecommerce connections.

This is beneficial, as expanding globally can allow his business to access untapped markets and connect with a broader audience. By doing so, the brand can open up opportunities for increased revenue and long-term sustainability.

2. Prioritise customers by streamlining their end-to-end user experience

Sono Holding’s founder and director, Jezzlyn Siu Cia Yee, found inspiration in Alibaba’s emphasis on customer needs.

Image Credit: Sono Holding

“Alibaba’s distinctive approach places employees second and shareholders third, reflecting a profound commitment to understanding market demands and meeting customer expectations,” she elaborated. 

This customer-centric approach has been the key to Alibaba’s growth around the globe. For instance, AliExpress allows businesses and consumers outside China to access affordable products from Chinese sellers. 

The company’s digital payment services like Alipay can also facilitate transactions on Alibaba’s platforms. This extends its customer reach to both offline and online transactions around the globe, serving various customer demographics.

In doing so, Alibaba has become a leading service provider by providing smooth interactions throughout every stage of a customer’s shopping experience. 

Jezzlyn aims to replicate this success, as understanding and fulfilling customer needs can foster customer retention and further growth for her company.

3. Keep up with the latest technologies that could benefit your business

On a similar note of prioritising customers, Jezzlyn underscored the importance of integrating innovative technologies for enhanced customer experiences at Sono Holding. 

Jezzlyn was inspired by the latest AI technologies showcased during the expedition, spanning live streaming, AI digitalisation, and cutting-edge marketing automation tools. 

She told Vulcan Post that these ideas have sparked discussions in her team to think up digital promotional strategies for Sono Holding’s products and services.

Image Credit: Pastels Group

Founder of Pastels Group, Sarini Zainal Abidin was left with a similar takeaway for her business.

“Alibaba leverages big data and AI to enhance user experience, improve logistics, and personalise recommendations,” she noted.

Based on this learning, Sarini aims to utilise similar strategies in taking advantage of big data to design the right products that target the right audiences.

Elevating local businesses through international collaborations

Image Credit: Sidec

Ultimately, the participants shared that the ECX23 expedition to Hangzhou opened their eyes to opportunities for expanding their sales channels. 

This overseas mission also highlights Sidec’s dedication to fostering international collaboration and enriching business networks. 

So, if you’d like to take part in future opportunities to connect with industry leaders and drive your business forward, registrations for the next ECX cohort will be opened in mid-2024 on Sidec’s website.

Sign-ups are also open for the Top E-Commerce Merchant Awards, which is a recognition programme for the most innovative homegrown e-commerce merchants in Malaysia.

  • Learn more about the Selangor E-Commerce Xccelerator Programme here.
  • Read other articles on Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Sidec

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(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)