Photo: Nordarzy Razak Bin Norhalim, Director, B40 Division, MDEC
The sharing economy comes under the spotlight in Computerworld Malaysia's series of deep dives into various Digital Malaysia initiatives.
While the sharing economy has come increasingly into public notice with the emergence of digital platforms such as Uber - and Airbnb, which is touted as the world's largest hotel chain - the concept is not new, according to Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).
Traditional cultural behaviours such as pooling and sharing resources and services have become transformed by technology into potential new business models based on peer to peer mechanisms or crowdsourcing, explained Nordarzy Razak Bin Norhalim, who is MDEC's director of the B40 Division.
B40 is one of three different income groups that Malaysians are categorised into by the Department of Statistics Malaysia: Top 20% (T20), Middle 40% (M40), and Bottom 40% (B40). The median income of each group is used as one of the benchmarks of economic growth. (Department of Statistics Malaysia report 'Household Income And Basic Amenities Survey.')
The B40 Division is one of the many initiatives under Digital Malaysia, a national programme to generate growth and advance the country towards a developed digital economy by 2020, which is driven by MDEC together with other agencies under the stewardship of the Ministry of Communication & Multimedia.
"Spurred by many citizens and entrepreneurs looking for opportunities to supplement their income through sharing or renting items," said Nordarzy. "The sharing economy has been embraced in Malaysia as a new business model during the last three years."
Promising sharing economy model
Digital technologies have fuelled a rapid upscaling of traditional systems, he continued. This, coupled with the fact that Malaysians are used to a sharing culture points to a fertile ground for growth.
"Globally, the sharing economy is expected to be a US$3.1 trillion industry by 2025 - it's currently at US$270 billion this year," Nordarzy continued. "While the global market share is still dominated by the USA, China and the EU, we have identified some quick-wins for Malaysia's sharing economy."
How does the sharing sector fit into the bigger picture? He explained that the "growth of Malaysia's startup community together with the sharing economy landscape is an early testament on Malaysia taking on the 4th industrial revolution [Industry Revolution 4]."
What do business leaders need to do to stay on top of these changes? "Businesses need to rethink their business model, relook at their internal operations, and review their products and services as the first phase of preparing for these opportunities."
"The Sharing Economy does present opportunities for companies in Malaysia," Nordarzy went on to detail possible courses of action, presented below in bulleted form here: