Kuala Lumpur, Jan 24 (Asia Pulse) - Internet and intranet commerce services and solutions specialist, KUB System Sdn Bhd, will spend RM2.0 million (US$526,000)this year to improve its e-commerce infrastructure and enhance the quality of its e-commerce services.
Its managing director Christopher Chew said the bulk of the investment would go towards setting up of sufficient infrastructure, both in hardware and software, and to operate and facilitate e-commerce system. "This is in order to achieve our bold aims to be a full e-commerce provider who can provide a truly end-to-end solutions," Chew said in an interview with Bernama here. Over the past couple of years, he said, the company has pumped in excess of RM5.0 million to establish the appropriate infrastructure to provide end-to-end e-commerce solutions and services for the public. He said as a Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) status company, the company was also seriously looking into moving its current operation in Petaling Jaya to Cyberjaya this year. "As an MSC-status company we are obliged to move into Cyberjaya city by the middle of next year. We are looking into that," he added. By moving into the multimedia and information technology hub, he said the company can easily tap the tangible benefits offered there.
KUB System is first IT company in e-commerce sector to be awarded MSC status at the end of 1998 and it was inspired to achieve that due to its high commitment to provide e-commerce solutions. At this point of time, he said the company enjoyed benefits only in the using of infrastructure and lower cost of infrastructure that was given to any MSC status company. "Other benefits that KUB System will be tapping when relocated to Cyberjaya include a leeway in the recruitment of expatriate as experts on technology and Research and Development (R&D), as well as an access to R&D grant," he said. Chew said KUB System, however, at the moment, fully relied on local expertise for R&D.
On the e-commerce solutions being developed by KUB System to date, he said the company has implemented end-to-end solutions which meant it has the front-end (the catalogue system, the mid-end portion), the transaction process and back-end (the link to the bank for credit card authorisation). "We also now have the link to Malaysian Electronic Payment Systems (MEPs) as well for credit card authorisation," he said.
One obvious outstanding achievement, as a result of the investment by KUB System was the development of an e-commerce website called http://www.plazaputra.com, one of the first online local virtual malls, which has sufficient infrastructure to facilitate on-line promotions, secure transactions and with the appropriate logistics to deliver the goods. Chew said this was the site where merchants could come into and present their goods and be able to transact over the internet. "The site is also meant to provide information to the public on events taking place in Malaysia, for example sports, music items. We have overall a dozen merchants at the moment selling normal computer products and books." He said KUB System would also like to invest in developing business to business (B to B) e-commerce solutions after successfully establishing business-to-consumer solutions. "In this regard, we are looking, initially, into e-business within our local company first, actual credit in the business before venturing into e-procurement within local group of companies and, finally provide these services to other corporates."
On the popularity level of e-commerce in Malaysia, Chew said this initiative was still relatively new and the uptakes were slow. "A lot needs to be done but the prospect is very bright," he said, expecting e-commerce would make better positioning in the industry this year. Meanwhile, Dr Zahran Halim, chief executive officer of KUB Teknologi Sdn Bhd, the leading company in KUB's IT group of companies, said he did not expect the turnaround of investments by KUB in IT business could be that fast. "I think, to a large extent, the turnaround is going to depend on the growth of user community," he said, adding he did not expect both KUB System and KUB Technology to make profit this year. He said both companies' main thrust and focus, instead, were to build an e-commerce community.
Talking about e-commerce in general, Dr Zahran said,"There must be a lifestyle change among people. "If consumers now feel more comfortable and gain more out of the experience of internet shopping, then we will expect to see increasing revenue from e-commerce in Malaysia. "That becomes a critical aspect of any net-based business. You must build the community that will want to keep coming back to you, even if on a daily basis, at least initially to window-shop but eventually, come to purchase."