Malaysian women entrepreneurs realize dream on Chinese e-commerce platform

(Xinhua) 08:50, March 08, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Malaysian women entrepreneurs are overcoming the economic disruptions and limitations of brick-and-mortar venues with the help of Alibaba Group's e-commerce platform Taobao.

This has helped them not only recover during difficult times but also to prosper, generating a more equitable society in which women are able to have their slice of the economic pie through tapping into the potential of e-commerce.

In cooperation with Malaysia's Selangor state government, Taobao is fostering a diverse and inclusive environment, where technology is used for the good of businesses and communities that have yet to benefit from access to the digital economy, Jess Lew, country manager for Alibaba Tmall Taobao World, Malaysia, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Building upon the success of its recent Chinese New Year campaign, Lew said the e-commerce giant decided to extend this collaboration to shine the spotlight specifically on female entrepreneurs and drive more women participation in e-commerce in celebration of International Women's Day.

"Women are our mothers, sisters, wives and co-workers. They play an important role in our lives from birth to caring for us throughout our journey to adulthood and in the workforce. Their contribution to the economy is huge as they act as the chief purchasing officer at home," she said.

Lew said while women have no shortage of enthusiasm for participating in economic activities and entrepreneurship, they faced significantly more challenges than men and Taobao through its March 8 sale aims to level the playing field.

"According to the World Bank Group's International Finance Corporation, in many developing economies, women are starting businesses at a faster rate than men, significantly contributing to economic growth," she said.

"Yet women face greater obstacles, compared with men, in almost all spheres of economic activity, from access to finance and assets to technology and peer-to-peer networks. On average, women have just three-fourths of the legal rights afforded to men," she added.

In celebration of this year's International Women's Day, Taobao announced its March 8 sale featuring traditional Malaysian flavors from women-focused New Village micro-businesses, in addition to a range of special deals available from March 4 to 8.

An extension of Taobao's collaboration with the Selangor state government since this Chinese New Year, this joint initiative aims to bring more New Village brands onto the Taobao platform to promote the cultural assets of Malaysia, especially among the younger generation. It also seeks to enhance the ability of underserved New Village communities to achieve economic growth by harnessing digital channels, along with effective and sustainable product marketing and brand management.

On Taobao Malaysia itself, Lew said there is an increasing number of women entrepreneurs joining the platform, a positive sign that more and more women are harnessing e-commerce to promote their products and build recovery through digital channels.

"We are proud of our local women entrepreneurs, which is part of the reason we are bringing the featured women-focused New Village brands to the Taobao March 8 Sale," she said.

"We hope to help more women entrepreneurs expand into the digital sphere and achieve business success through targeted campaigns such as this New Village initiative in addition to other Taobao shopping events such as June 18 and Nov. 11," she said.

Among those taking advantage of digitalization is "Wei Tian Fang," a dessert brand which started in January last year following disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chen Mun Kei, who is the director of sales &marketing, said she is very excited that Taobao is interested in their products and hopes to reach a much wider customer base through the platform.

"It amazes us that Taobao is interested in our product and let us be one of them. We hope that we can work on a long-term cooperative relationship with Taobao not only this time but also in the future," she said.

"Online sales is a very common rapidly growing element for many businesses. Over 75 percent of females prefer online shopping. E-commerce platforms can help create more useful videos to educate on the importance of the product, especially with more special promotions for females, which can grow more sales," she explained.

For another participating product Jin La Xiang garlic chili sauce, its maker Chan Chee Kuen said they experienced a huge boost in business during the Chinese New Year sale and are eager to be a part of the March 8 sale.

"Today, women have made great strides toward financial independence. Modern technologies play an important role in entrepreneurship in order for women to build their own businesses. Women who earn an income can participate in contributing to the everyday expenses of the household," she said.

"I think the e-commerce platform can really change the female living style because women can take care of their families and own businesses with flexible working hours. In addition, any unnecessary expenses can be reduced," she added. 

(Web editor: Xia Peiyao, Liang Jun)


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