KUALA LUMPUR, 14 October 2022 –Penjana Kapital Sdn Bhd (Penjana Kapital), an agency under the purview of the Ministry of Finance, partnered with Sea Limited (Malaysia) (Sea) to co-organise the 8th installation of Capital Connections in an effort to cultivate a vibrant start-up ecosystem and venture capital industry in Malaysia.
Penjana Kapital is established as part of the government’s initiative to accelerate the deployment of the RM600 million Dana Penjana Nasional programme with the strategic mandate to develop the venture capital (VC) and innovation ecosystem in the country. Capital Connections is one of Penjana Kapital’s flagship events, specially curated to connect start-ups to potential investors, market players, government agencies and other corporates to address their pain points.
Among the main highlights of the event is a panel discussion themed “Digital Consumer Behaviour and Changing Retail Trends”, held at the Shopee Malaysia HQ, featuring industry players and thought leaders within the digital space namely Melvin Chee, Chief Executive Officer of RPG Commerce; Justin Chan, Founder and Director of Metier Food; Henry Ting, Chief Executive Officer of TT Racing and Nisha Devina Roy, Managing Director of M&C Saatchi.
“The retail industry is in the midst of dynamic change, fuelled by digital economy and shifts in consumer behaviour. This evolution provides a unique opportunity for start-ups to be part of what is now known as boundaryless retail, that is a world devoid of artificial barriers, driven by innovation and collaboration. This is where businesses leverage on the power of technology to create a seamless experience for consumers,” said En Taufiq Iskandar, Chief Executive Officer, Penjana Kapital.
He added, “The Capital Connections series showcase the country’s fast-growing start-ups and bring the industry’s best minds for learning, networking and collaborating, because together we will reshape the future of our industries.”
As the parent company to Shopee, one of the leading e-commerce players in the Southeast Asia region, Sea places high priority in exercising its role towards the development of the digital ecosystem in Malaysia. To this end, it is hopeful that Sea’s collaboration with Penjana Kapital is not only to scale local sellers for sustainable growth but also stimulate the Malaysian economy and make it more inclusive.
Kenneth Soh, Head of Marketing Campaigns at Shopee Malaysia, presented findings from the platform’s largest marketplace study this year, Celebrate the Heart of Malaysia on E-Commerce*. 9 in 10 Malaysians still buy online despite reopening of physical outlets because it is a learned and adopted habit.
In regard to online purchasing habits, Nisha Devina Roy, Managing Director of M&C Saatchi commented on how brands are required to keep up and adapt to the new consumer behaviour. “With the lack of physical connection with your consumers, it is important for brands to develop innovative strategies to introduce their products to consumers, and work twice as hard to persuade consumers to even make the purchase.”
Justin Chan, Founder and Director of Metier Food also commented on the importance of understanding the strengths and weaknesses of both online and physical approach in reaching the consumers. “While physical shopping allows consumers to experience and understand the product better, online shopping provides greater accessibility, where anyone can purchase any product from anywhere. It’s important for brands to complement the accessibility with meeting the needs of the consumers.”
Henry Ting, Chief Executive Officer of TT Racing emphasised on the importance of evaluating the right target audience as part of the business expansion of the company. “Our business used to cater to a very niche market, but in time we realised the need to expand our products as well as business operations to a wider audience, including office workers who spend long hours in front of their computer. In addition to understanding the needs of your current consumers, it’s very important to evaluate who your consumers are.”
Melvin Chee, Chief Executive Officer of RPG Commerce shared his experience in terms of business strategies and operations during the early days of the company. “We started as a data-driven company, which we then incorporated to focus on being product-led and taking on the consumer behaviour-first approach. Today, we are a team that focuses on the combination of all these aspects. It’s all about understanding and adapting to the demands of the market and incorporating it with the business plans.”
Based on the same survey by Shopee, 8 out of 10 sellers had kickstarted their entrepreneurial journey with Shopee. Its robust ecosystem helps sellers take their online business to the next level. This includes strong support to upskill themselves and their businesses, integrated tools to engage consumers, and promoting long-term growth. All sellers can access end-to-end support through Shopee’s ecosystem. This includes education and training, shopping campaigns, industry partnerships, and more.
From left to right: Kenneth Soh, Head of Marketing Campaigns, Shopee Malaysia; Melvin Chee, Chief Executive Officer, RPG Commerce; Nisha Devina Roy, Managing Director, M&C Saatchi; Taufiq Iskandar, Chief Executive Officer, Penjana Kapital; Terence Siau, Country Head, Sea Limited; Justin Chan, Founder and Director, Metier Food; and Henry Ting, Chief Executive Officer, TT Racing at the 8th Capital Connections Forum
“We are honoured to be given this opportunity to co-organise Capital Connections along with Penjana Kapital, supporting the growth of our Malaysian start-ups and elevating them to the next level. As we all know, their contribution is crucial for the development of industries and the economy. We are proud that our e-commerce platform Shopee has been a great steppingstone for budding start-ups, allowing these businesses to penetrate untapped markets, introduce their offerings beyond local shores and provide Malaysian brands with much-needed exposure,” said Terence Siau, Country Head, Sea.
Siau adds, “In addition to collaboration with organisations such as Penjana Kapital, Sea is encouraged by the recent Budget 2023 announcement, which includes efforts by the government to further assist micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with government support on programmes such as “MyDigital”, which will coordinate and strengthen the collaboration between start-ups and government agencies.”
Sea and its subsidiary Shopee will continue its part in empowering local businesses and communities and serve the underserved under through initiatives such as #ShopeeSapotLokal.