A Ramadan of Resolve

Firstly, to all Muslims, Salam Ramadan.

This year’s spirit is about braving adversity and showing resolve.

Ramadan is a time for reflection and good intentions. Never has there been a time more uncertain than what the world is going through today, and it has made us question our collective priorities and empathy for our fellow human beings. But, it has also been a time to strengthen our resilience.

The whole world has been operating on survival mode, and when the dust of COVID-19 settles, we can be quite sure the world we live in will never be same. MDEC, in carrying out our mandate to lead Malaysia’s digital economy forward, has activated all its platforms and programmes with more gumption than ever before! As the nation deals with the serious challenges of lost jobs, declining revenues, separated families and disrupted education system – MDEC has been doing our best to provide a ‘soft-landing’ to mitigate against some of the negative impact of COVID-19 on the various communities via innovative digital and tech solutions.

With the support of KKMM, we are working diligently to prepare the nation as it rebounds from the COVID-19 imposed slowdown. MDEC has been proactive with the legwork:

1.Training and education – webinars on digital adoption, investment, digital talent, e-Commerce, etc. These very informative online events are meant to upskill and reskill businesses and local talents so they can learn how to diversify and adapt to a post-MCO and COVID-19 world. Do follow the MDEC social media channels closely for the promotions and links to these online events. Most recently, MDEC partnered with online learning platform Coursera to upskill and certify unemployed Malaysians. This is a great chance for Malaysians who are considering career pivots or upgrades within the digital space, with high-quality courses brought to your fingertips as the restrictions in movement continue. Already, we are experiencing heightened interest to access these courses, especially in Data Science, Information Technology and Businesses themed courses. In just 2 weeks since the launch, 5000 unemployed Malaysians have signed up under this initiative. This is as good a time as any for workers to upskill and reskill to benefit from an increased demand for digitally-oriented jobs.

2. Ministry and industry engagements – Digital must be a national agenda, and I have conveyed this to the Prime Minister and the Economic Action Council recently. Following that, I am very happy to report that MDEC has been appointed the focal point for the National Digital Economy Task Force that will be led by KKMM with the support of MOSTI.  We have also been engaging the industry, for example the recent digital creative content industry engagement where YBM KKMM was the Guest of Honour. We collaborated with the industry to discuss the on-the-ground issues the sector faces and what to expect from a post COVID-19 era.

3. Business transformation post COVID-19 – The pandemic has forced businesses to either evolve or exit. Businesses are hungry for new ideas of innovation or diversification and the government has committed to support local businesses post the Movement Control Order (MCO). MDEC is gearing up to manage the large demand for digital transformation and ensure that our resources are adequate to support that. Depending on where various entrepreneurs are on their digital journey, MDEC has been training people to familiarise with e-Commerce for instance. The reliance on eCommerce is high now and if an entrepreneur is not digitally enabled, then the business is sub-optimal. Just last week, we conducted the nation’s first and largest e-Dagang expo (eDX) which was held over 5 days, offering 20 webinars and was attended by over 5000 registered participants, garnering more than 65,000 views. We partnered with Shoppee, Lazada, Carousell, Alibaba, Blibli, eBay and more. Entrepreneurs from the SME and MSME sectors could attend classes online to get the latest content to begin digitally enabling businesses as well as onboard with e-commerce, through the introduction to apps and tools. In fact, 97.7% of participants said that eDX has brought positive impact to their businesses. As a business aspiring to break digital barriers, this was a great opportunity to seize and take action to improve.

4. Investment Opportunities Post-COVID – MDEC has initiated a virtual platform recently to bridge local start-ups with global investors. Gobi Partners and MDEC have partnered to launch a pitching competition, called SuperSeed II Championship, for start-ups affected by COVID-19. The winning companies will get the opportunity to secure equity investment from Gobi Partners, or be a potential MDEC grant recipient. I recall investment decisions which used to transpire over chats with start-ups. Recently however, online-matching to accelerate start-ups has gained momentum. Malaysia’s first Digital Accelerator programme, the Alpha Startup Digital Accelerator (ASDA), successfully concluded on 5 May 2020, whittling down 15 finalists to three chosen startups; BlueDuck, Internspoon and Nanobar. Each received US$4,600 (RM20,000) to fulfil their business ideas. The programme was a collaboration between 1337 Ventures and MDEC. In addition to these efforts, MDEC is working intensively to assure the investors that Malaysia is indeed the Heart of Digital ASEAN and a very viable location for investment.

As people ponder on the possibilities of a new normal that will impact the nation and beyond over the coming months, the world hopes that COVID-19 may actually precipitate a better world for all of us. The advantage is that, the digital economy continues to spur jobs and opportunities, as shared above. Step up and take them!

The extraordinary upheaval that is COVID-19, has hits us hard. It is a time to stay safe, calm and civil, but it is not the time to retreat! Look challenges in the eye and boldly fight back, holding on to the strength of your spirit to overcome the odds.

Here’s to a blessed and peaceful Ramadan. Let us all stay positive and remember the values that this holy month espouses, in our on-going journey to try impact positive outcomes on all those around us. Let’s remain strong and resilient, for ourselves and our loved ones, taking positive resolutions in our lives and in our work, as we usher in Syawal this year.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

#Maaf Zahir dan Batin #LetsBuildTogether #DigitalMalaysiaForward #DigitalVsCovid #KomunikasiKita

POSITIVE IMPACT OF COVID-19? THE DIGITAL CONTENT INDUSTRY EXPLODES.

Skrol ke bawah untuk versi Bahasa Melayu / Scroll down for Malay version

As Malaysians get used to the idea of working from home, there are bound to be distractions that will get in the way. Beyond keeping track of the many tips out there on how to remain focused during work hours and keeping the kids occupied, let’s not forget that proper work-life balance must also be maintained.

With everyone now staying at home, there are times – usually after working hours – that families can get together and catch a movie or play videogames together. Both – as orders of the day – are the usual first choices.

Of course, it’s not all fun and games as such content can do more than just provide pure entertainment. As is, games, movies, and drama series and animated shows on TV – especially, those that put family values and educational lessons front and centre – are now the default past-times for families to wind-down with.

According to The Star, Tencent picked up millions of new users for its mobile games and WeChat platform when COVID-19 global pandemic first struck China. This growing trend is set to continue at a global scale. Similarly, App Annie reported how citizens of both China and Italy are now spending more time on their smart devices after these countries respective lockdown began.

For Malaysia, there are plenty of locally made games and animated shows that have taken off to become global icons. This includes Thor: War of Tapnorok, Bake ‘n Switch, WarPods, King’s League II, BoiBoiBoy, Ejen Ali, Chuck Chicken and so many more. All of them will certainly experience a higher surge of user download and interactivity. After all, with the Restricted Movement Order in force, all family activities must now be indoors.

Bake ‘n Switch, a Malaysian made game for Nintendo Switch

Creative Push

What can content producers –animators, game designers and even comic artist – do while they’re stuck at home? Besides carrying on with their work and part-time hobbies, it is a great time to really flex their creative muscles as digital content is experiencing a huge growth surge.

In fact, the same App Annie report revealed in February 2020 how weekly game downloads in China went up by 80% compared to the average weekly download for the whole of 2019. This is certainly a good opportunity for the creative industry as the demand for content is now experiencing explosive growths.

As videogames and animated shows are the cornerstones for the Malaysia creative content industry, they are set to become next-gen business drivers in this expansive digital era. Right now, thanks to this massive spike in user demand, the content industry is at the forefront of change. Even Hollywood had to change their age-old strategy and pushed forward the digital release of new movies. NBC Universal made the first move as it announced plans to take its latest movies straight to digital on the same day as the theatrical release.

Malaysia’s Take

While things are changing for the creative content industry, the skyrocketing demand must be met head-on. That means making the best of this opportune time and upping the creativity of the industry as they push to meet market needs. Games and animation can focus more on driving awareness about COVID-19 and be educational for all. For example, Monsta Studios is currently working on brand-new content that educates about COVID-19 and the preventive measures to avoid further infection. Even Didi and Friends put out a new song to educate families on washing their hands properly.


The ‘Fight Coronavirus’
music video where Didi, Nana and Jojo show three easy steps to ensure the Covid-19 is kept away.

All these changes and innovations will drive the growth of next-gen content development. This includes making the games and animation, or related content, engaging for the entire family. That has been, and always will be, the driving force for the #HealthyGaming initiative. During this stay-at-home period, this platform and its on-going efforts will be well-suited for all to really learn and understand how creative content can boost family relationships, inspire creativity among youths, and energise positive innovation for the entire family.

#LetsBuildTogether #DigitalvsCovid #aniMYA


IMPAK POSITIVE COVID-19 BAGI INDUSTRI KANDUNGAN DIGITAL

Apabila rakyat Malaysia sudah biasa dengan idea bekerja dari rumah, pasti terdapat beberapa gangguan yang menjadi penghalang. Walaupun terdapat pelbagai tips-tips berguna yang dikongsikan untuk kita kekal fokus semasa dalam tempoh waktu bekerja dan memastikan keselamatan anak-anak terjamin, kita juga haruslah seimbangkan masa bekerja dan kehidupan seharian.  

Buat masa kini, semua rakyat harus kekal duduk di rumah, ada kalanya selepas waktu bekerja, ahli keluarga dapat duduk berkumpul bersama untuk menonton drama dan bermain permainan video bersama-sama. Ini adalah antara beberapa aktiviti pilihan yang biasa dilakukan bersama keluarga.

Permainan video dan kandungan boleh memberikan impak yang lebih bukan hanya sekadar hiburan samata-mata. Permainan video, drama bersiri dan rancangan animasi di televisyen adalah antara rancangan yang menonjolkan nilai-nilai kekeluargaan dan pembelajaran tetapi kesemua rancangan ini kian diketepikan. 

Menurut laporan The Star, apabila COVID-19 menyerang China, Tencent telah merekodkan berjuta pengguna baru dalam permainan mudah alih dan juga di dalam platform WeChat.  Trend ini semakin meningkat dan dijangka akan berterusan pada skala yang besar. App Annie juga melaporkan bagaimana rakyat kedua-dua negara China dan Itali yang kini lebih banyak menghabiskan masa pada peranti pintar mereka selepas perintah berkurung kedua-dua bermula.  

Di Malaysia, terdapat banyak permainan produk tempatan yang telah berjaya menjadi ikon global. Antaranya seperti Thor: War of Tapnorok, Bake ‘n Switch, WarPods, King’s League II, BoiBoiBoy, Ejen Ali, Chuck Chicken dan sebagainya di mana sudah pasti akan terdapat peningkatan pengguna dalam memuat turun dan inter-aktiviti juga semakin meningakat. Dengan berkuatkuasa Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan ini, semua ahli keluarga harus sentiasa berada di dalam rumah. 

Faktor Kreatif

Apa yang dilakukan oleh pengeluar kandungan , juruanimasi, pereka permainan video dan artis komik ketika mereka berada di rumah? Selain dari melakukan kerja seharian ataupun hobi, ini adalah masa terbaik bagi mereka untuk  berinspirasi memandangkan pada masa kini permintaan terhadapa industi kreatif sedang meningkat. 

Malah, dalam laporan App Annie pada Februari 2020 menunjukkan peningkatan mingguan sebanyak 80% di China dalam muat turun permainan berbanding dengan purata mingguan muat turun bagi keseluruhan tahun 2019. Ini merupakan peluang terbaik bagi industri kreatif memandangkan permintaan terhadap kandungan sedang meningkat. 

Memandangkan permainan video dan rancangan animasi adalah asas kepada kandungan industri kreatif Malaysia, mereka telah bersedia untuk menjadi penggerak dalam generasi seterusnya bagi era digital ini. Kini, industri kandungan berada di tanggan teratas kerana terdapatnya pemintaan yang tinggi daripada pengguna. Hollywood juga terpaksa mengubah strategi lama mereka bagi melonjakkan filem digital. NBC Universal juga telah mengorak langkah pertama dengan mengumumkan rancangan di mana filem terbaru mereka telah digitalkan pada hari yang sama filem teater ditayangkan.

Peranan Malaysia

Dalam perubahan yang berlaku terhadapa industri kandungan kreatif sekarang, permintaan yang tinggi terhadap industri ini harus diutamakan. Permainan video dan animasi  boleh memberikan penekanan kepada kesedaran tentang COVID-19 sebagai panduan kepada semua. Contohnya, Monsta Studios sedang membangunkan kandungan yang berunsurkan pembelajaran tentang COVID-19 dan cara-cara mengatasi jangkitan wabak tersebut. Didi and Friends juga telah menerbitkan sebuah lagu untuk dijadikan panduan kepada rakyat tentang cara-cara membasuh tangan dengan betol.

Segala perubahan dan inovasi yang berlaku ini akan mendorong kepada perkembangan kandungan kepada generasi akan datang. Ini termasuklah menjadikan permainan video dan animasi atau mana-mana kandungan yang berkaitan sesuai untuk seisi keluarga dalam dalam menggerakkan inisiatif #HealthyGaming. Dalam tempoh perintah kawalan pergerakan ini dimana rakyat harus duduk di rumah, platform ini boleh digunapakai oleh semua golongan dalam memahami bagaimana kandungan kreatif ini dapat meningkatkan hubungan kekeluargaan, menjana kreativiti golongan belia dan menjadi aspirasi kepada seluruh ahli keluarga. 

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