KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia � Malaysia continues to embrace the e-commerce culture and is well on its way to creating an innovative and vibrant digital ecosystem by fostering closer partnership with China in efforts to sustain economic growth.

Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and Alibaba Group recently signed a memorandum of understanding to connect e-hubs under the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP).

In a statement today, HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd said, the partnership aimed to build infrastructure for seamless cross-border e-commerce trade between Malaysia and China, as well as act as a hub for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) looking to run commercial activities, where they could obtain services encompassing e-commerce, cloud computing, logistics, mobile payments and talent training.

Chief Executive Officer, Mukhtar Hussain, said the increasingly widespread digital technology was critical to amplifying productivity, innovation and living standards across the wider economy.

With the eWTP, Malaysia is progressing its economic transformation vision and taking a step towards becoming the leading sourcing and fulfilment hub in Asia he said.

He said Malaysia’s long awaited #MYCYBERSALE, in collaboration with MDEC, looked to achieve more than RM300 million in gross merchandise value (GMV) this year, a 42 per cent increase from 2016’s RM211 million, during its five-day run from Oct 9 -13, 2017.

This initiative aimed to encourage more than 1,000 online SMEs to embrace e-commerce and boost innovation while stimulating the domestic e-commerce market.

The success of the initiative shows that Malaysians are continuing to embrace the e-commerce culture.

We can definitely see a shift in the way Malaysians are shopping. It is good to see the e-commerce industry and digital economy growing so steadily, Mukhtar said.

He said the entry of global the electronic wallet (e-wallet) providers was also expected to transform the payment system landscape in Malaysia.

The emergence of e-wallets will further contribute to the development of e-commerce and enhance the retail payment systems by offering fast, easy and secure payment processes, as well as supporting the global move towards a cashless societies, said Mukhtar.

According to a recent report by Zion Market Research, the use of e-wallets was fast gaining popularity.

Global mobile wallet transactions were valued at US$594 billion (US$1 = RM4.11) in 2016 and are expected to reach US$3.1 trillion by 2022, growing at an annual compounded rate of 32 per cent between 2017 and 2022, it said.

The ASEAN region was also moving towards a cashless society as there is a major push for demonetisation and an increased need for digital payments, he said.

We have seen early-adopters in Malaysia (JomPay), Singapore (FAST) and Thailand (PromptPay) upgrading their payments infrastructure to enable 24/7 immediate settlement.

Technologies are inevitably disrupting our ASEAN payments landscape and rather than fear it, corporates that can adapt and embrace financial innovation and utilise technologies can reap new opportunities and increase their share of the market, he said.