Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Google Malaysia initiative to get SMEs into cyberspace (3 PHOTOS)

ON THE GO: The Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim giving his speech before launching the ‘Get Malaysian Business Online’ yesterday
KUALA LUMPUR: Google Malaysia launched the Get Malaysian Business Online initiative to encourage more local companies to have an online presence.

The initiative aims to get 50, 000 Malaysian companies to take their businesses online within the next 12 months.

Sajith Sivanandan, Google Malaysia country manager, said that out of the 700,000 Malaysian SMEs (small and medium enterprises), only 100,000 had websites. He was quoting figures compiled by SME Corp, a development body for such businesses here.

He said it was important for companies to have an online presence. "When you go online, anybody in the world can reach out to you, thus expanding your customer base," he said at the launch of initiative here.

Through the initiative, SMEs that wish to have an online presence can do so in as fast as 30 minutes, according to Google, the search-engine powerhouse.

SMEs can easily build their website using Google's Business Site Builder.

Sivanandan said webpages designed using Google's Business Site Builder program can also be viewed on mobile devices.

Sivanandan: "When you go online, anybody
in the world can reach out to you, thus
expanding your customer base."
Under the initiative, the first 10,000 SMEs that sign up will receive free domain names from .my Domain registry, a partner in the initiative.

Those who come in after that will enjoy a discounted rate - just RM23 to register their domain names, instead of the usual RM80.

Google will also host these sites for free for as long as the businesses remain with the programme.
ITrain, another partner in the initiative, will provide free training for the first 1,000 SMEs that sign up. It will teach these companies how to efficiently use Google Business Site Builder.

These businesses will also receive an RM300 Google Adwords voucher each, for use with Google's online advertising programme.

Those SMEs that sign up after the first 1,000, will have to pay RM50 each for the training.

In already

Two entrepreneurs are reaping the benefits of setting up an online business through the Google initiative.
Haril Doshi, 26, designs women's footwear and fabric patches, and sells them through her website,

"I started selling them on social media sites but those lack the shopping cart feature, and I had to keep repeating the instructions on how to order to my customers," she said.

A former auditor, Haril built her site using Google Business Site Builder and said that it not only simplified her delivery model but also helped expand her customer base.

Google has finally landed in Malaysia. Google Malaysia has a new office in Petronas Twin Tower, Kuala Lumpur. So what am I expecting from them?
"I used to get customers from nearby Singapore but now, my customers are from as far away as Australia and Mauritius," she said.

Another entrepreneur who has benefited from the initiative is Aziana Muhamad, who runs a frozen food business, called By Hand By Heart, at

"I used to think that setting up an online business would be very complex but after I completed the Google programme, I found that starting out was not as difficult as I had perceived," said the mother of two.

Also, Aziana's customer base is now no longer confined to her neighbourhood in Rawang, but has expanded to other parts of the country.

Only a start

Sivanandan said Google will continue to encourage more SMEs to have an online presence even after it has achieved its target.

"50,000 is the target we want the team to aim for now; we will definitely continue past that figure," he said.
Google will also be kicking off an extensive media outreach programme to raise awareness among SMEs about the importance of having an online presence.

Industry regulator, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, is supporting the initiative.
Minister of Information, Culture and Arts Datuk Seri Rais Yatim officiated at the launch.