Colin Charles Agenda

Malaysians its time to support your local business

Gabey Goh (editor at Digital News Asia) couldn’t have said it better in her column in The Star: A nation of beta-testers. It just got re-published on DNA.

I have consciously decided that when I’m in KL, I’ll only spend my money with businesses that support other local businesses. So with a place like Jaya One, its pretty easy for me to pick only a ChopChop merchant. Its also allowing me to find indie coffee merchants – so the app is aiding my discovery of other local businesses. Why this decision?

Malaysians: when was the last time you looked at something and said, I’m buying/doing/getting/trying this because its Made in Malaysia? We lack a sense of nationalism for many reasons, no thanks to our politicians. People prefer to buy Tupperware over Swordman. In Australia, buying Australian Made is highly encouraged. In the USA, people love it when production comes home. The Swiss are proud of their items. 

Now, Malaysian businesses/startups as a consequence suffer from this sort of mentality. By not trying Malaysian made software, it hurts Malaysian made software producers. I’m not saying you should aid (via crutches) these folk if they cannot compete with an international product. I’m all for trade over aid. Gabey agrees on this too.

But for me, I look at it this way. We all know & love Foursquare. You as a business can offer mayor bonuses or bonuses on every first checkin or every 5th checkin. Great. But as a business owner why not try loyalty products like ChopChop at the same time? Its proudly made in malaysia, and you’re helping a malaysian business succeed (just like they’re helping you, a fellow malaysian business succeed).

Gabey continues to state that if you try something and if it doesn’t work out, don’t hesitate to provide constructive criticism. I totally agree. I’m sure the local business will even give you a free service or something valuable in return.

To all the haters that claim that all malaysians do is copy stuff, I will humbly ask you this: you may copy amazon.com and call it lazada/zalora, and every inch of the design might look alike. Can you copy their back-end logistics? Can you copy the requirements of going into the local market (ads, events, etc.)?

Let’s consciously support local businesses & efforts. Its hard enough for the entrepreneurs to deal with the myriad difficulties that come with having to conduct business in Malaysia. Let’s make it a little easier.

(I don’t get any gains from talking about ChopChop. I’m truly a fan of this product. I’m truly a fan of the team.)