Sarawak is embarking on transforming the local economy through cyberspace as it is deemed as the new frontier, says Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
He said the digital revolution is moving at a rapid speed and now the world is already talking about Industry 4.0 where smart data, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, facial recognition is the order of the day.
He noted that there were many new key trends for e-Commerce that Sarawak needs to pay heed to like the emergence of online to offline (O2O), digital payment, social media presence and platform and a new retail model.
"Sarawak already embarked one-wallet, Sarawak Pay as the first step to be a contender in this competitive field" he said at the official launching of the Sarawak-China business forum on Monday, 6 Aug.
The Chief Minister pointed out that moves had also been taken towards cashless services, such as the collaboration between Kuching International Airport (KIA) and Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB) to standardise the use of VCASH apps by DIGI in all retail outlets in KIA.
He believes that the increasing number of international flight arrivals at KIA calls for the need for innovation - to turn cashless, with the high-speed wireless network to support the usability of the e-wallet initiative.
Abang Johari said Sarawak would be focusing on providing the necessary infrastructure to enable all communities to participate in Digital Economy.
"We need the rural community especially the younger generation to be uplifted in terms of their socio-economic wellbeing so that they will enjoy their great livelihood and reduce rural-urban migration.
"With the high penetration of mobile phones in Malaysia and in Sarawak in particular, we need an innovative solution to reach the people in rural areas.
"We believe these are some of the areas that Sarawak and China can work together" he said.
He noted that other areas of cooperation with China are in services - in agriculture, tourism, health, education, construction of megastructures and e-Commerce platforms. He believes that as the world gets more connected than ever, the future is a shared future for everyone.
"We need to work closely with each other to ensure everyone is able to participate in e-Commerce.
"No doubt the value of the digital economy is huge but we must ensure it is an inclusive and fair trade" he said.
Abang Johari noted that security of personal data is one of the paramount concerns and greater policy and protocols governance are needed to minimise abuse and leakage. He said as the e-Commerce grows rapidly, there is a need for a more transient, flexible and dynamic model of operation.
"Gone are the days where bureaucracy rules. The e-Commerce is driven by consumers' choices, thus creative solutions will win over conventional solutions. These are evident in innovative apps like Grab, Uber etc.
"With the 4th Industrial Revolution, things are going to move much faster and we need to measure up or be left behind" he advised.
The Chief Minister said Sarawak had launched the Digital Economy Strategies to enable Sarawak to plan ahead and anticipate the necessary capacity and infrastructure. He added that this is a work in progress and believes the outcome from the forum would further enhance what the state has put in place for now.