The Crowd Economy Conference (CEC) @ Penang

Posted in Dari Meja Ketua Menteri

Speech by Chief Minister of Penang

at The Crowd Economy Conference (CEC) @ Penang

St. Giles Wembley, George Town, Penang

9 March 2017



Introduction: Penang’s Participation in the Digital and Disruptive Economy

Good morning. I wish to thank the organisers of Crowd Economy Conference (CEC) @ Penang – the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and collaborative partner investPenang for organizing and inviting me to speak and officiate at this event today. You are in the right place – Penang is No. 2 among the top 17 best places to visit for 2017 CNN early this year and listed as amongst one of the top 8 islands in the world to explore before you die by Yahoo Travel.

It is indeed apt for Penang to be chosen to host this conference. In the recently announced Malaysia Investment Performance 2016 by Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) last week, Penang received the second largest investments of Global Establishments for Services after Kuala Lumpur with a value of RM4.1 billion.

Penang’s vision to attract more Global Business Services (GBS), and to move into high value manufacturing with Industry 4.0 focusing on e-commerce, cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT) and big data analytics as well as to encourage start-ups in the State is growing from strength-to-strength. Our CAT start-up center at Wisma Yeap Chor Ee are some of the new initiatives – more on that later.

The Disruptive Trends of Crowd Economy

The continuous and rapid advancement in digital technology has enabled businesses and corporations to innovate and create new business models comprising of new methods and approaches. With connectivity to the Internet, we are no longer just Malaysian Citizen, but are part of the global citizens (or Netizens). We must understand what is the crowd economy.

The key traits of crowd-economy include requirement for fast delivery and immediate results with better predictions, enabled from having direct access to the relevant crowd. With crowd economy approach, business owners and corporations can get faster results and are able to take immediate and informed management decision. This would surely benefit corporations through cost savings, better client management and increase in productivity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The ‘Future of Jobs’ report published by The World Economic Forum (WEF) in January 2016 highlighted that the technology trend behind Crowd Economy, which is known as ‘Crowdsourcing; the sharing economy’, is one of the top 10 major industry trend. The report identified industry sectors such as professional and financial services which will experience the most impact from this disruptive trend.

Crowdsourcing: the sharing economy

Crowdsourcing becomes increasingly important as it enables new form of digital workforce and resources to be engaged by governments, businesses as well as public, on an on-demand basis, or on a short-term or free-time basis. Businesses can also engage ‘crowd’ to validate certain product ideas which could lead the crowd to back the idea and give fund (crowdfunding) as a manifestation of market validation.

The crowdsourcing approach, which is the crux of today’s conference, offers the opportunities to address some of the existing challenges faced by corporations.

I understand some of today’s players are start-ups. I hope to see more tech start-ups in Penang to also come on-board and venture into crowdsourcing models and platforms. In October 2015, Penang launched the @CAT (Accelerator for Creative, Analytics & Technology) at Wisma Yeap Chor Ee, in CBD Heritage Zone of George Town.

This RM 20 million initiative, overseen by InvestPenang, provides a platform for technopreneurs to “accelerate” their business from ideas to market. Particularly popular with the Gen Ys, this program has attracted designers and creators in software, apps, digital creative art and IoT devices.

InvestPenang is also enhancing the branding and promotion of @CAT, and has recently appointed a new Programme Director, Mr Howie Chang, a successful entrepreneur who founded The Commissioned, Building Hello Howie, Ayuh Bina, and was Director of Redmart, leading online supermarket site in Singapore. With his 15 years’ experience in Singapore and active support to the start-up community building, his involvement will boost the start-up ecosystem in Penang.

Closing Remark

In closing, I would like to thank MDeC for making this conference possible, Mr Siddhartha Raja from the World Bank, New York, who will share information regarding this new disruptive trend, and also other speakers from MDeC,, investPenang and @CAT Penang.

Thank you