Powering Alibaba’s eWTP with big data analytics, AI and machine learning

KUALA LUMPUR: It has been more than a year since the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) initiative was launched in Malaysia and although public attention was only revived a week ago during the launch of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s first regional office here, several local companies have already been hard at work making the ambitious project a reality.

Big data analytics firm Fusionex International Plc is one of them, having led a consortium which secured a contract to provide the e-Services platform for the DFTZ from the Malaysia Digital Economy Corp.

The awarding of the contract was announced in November last year and according to Fusionex, has since been up and running with more than 3,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on board currently.

“More and more of [these companies] are starting to appreciate that it is important to level up and capitalise on the robust growth in e-commerce and the export market,” said Datuk Seri Ivan Teh, Fusionex founder and chief executive officer of Fusionex.

He added that many local SMEs that Fusionex has spoken to are receptive, open-minded and cognisant of the global language.

“They are open and want to embrace technology as long as it’s easier, faster, better, and more cost-effective than the status quo. In short, they are constructive but might be facing challenges in areas such as market access, funds, modern skills and technology. This is where DFTZ’s e-Services can assist them,” Teh told The Edge Financial Daily in an email exchange.

The platform is key to realising the e-World Trade Platform (eWTP) that has been one of Alibaba’s key initiatives under the DFTZ banner and aims to provide Malaysian SMEs access to global consumers via e-commerce.

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“The e-Services platform functions as a one-stop digital trade facilitation platform, that is integrated with a multitude of business service platforms, e-marketplaces, government agencies, logistics providers, freight forwarders, agents, SMEs and other service providers,” said Teh.

The platform aims to “bridge the gap in terms of know-how, reduce costs, as well as avoid or minimise unnecessary delays and encumbrances associated with the old way of manually doing things,” he said, adding that it is meant to be highly scaleable and inclusive.\

According to Teh, the platform is powered by big data technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning and is “designed to help merchants — regardless of shape and size — to level the playing ground, and do so without incurring exorbitant costs”.

Fusionex is also riding on the strength of Alibaba Cloud, what with being the latter’s official strategic partner in this region.

“They are a great, committed partner,” Teh said of Alibaba Cloud, noting that the collaboration is synergistic as the latter “has a great cloud offering, whereas Fusionex is a leader in big data technology, AI and machine learning with a strong international reputation.”

While Fusionex may not be a household name to most Malaysians, it has certainly made waves overseas. The company had, until July last year, been listed on London’s Alternative Investment Market.

However, Teh had decided to take the company private after five years on the market due to what he reportedly said was a persistently undervalued stock.

Without disclosing any figures, Teh shares that Fusionex has “invested significantly” and will continue to invest as it is fully committed to ensuring the success of the e-Services platform.

He did not reveal the names of the group’s partners in its consortium, but that they are local players with the relevant expertise and experience.

Teh pointed out that like the DFTZ itself, the e-Services platform is not constrained to physical hubs such as the KL Aeropolis logistics hub being developed by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd and Cainiao Smart Logistics Network (Hong Kong) Ltd.

“e-Services will be an open platform that welcomes multiple business service providers, be it forwarding agents, logistics players, and of course very importantly, good local SMEs with great Malaysian products.”

“The cost benefits and efficiencies these players enjoy would ultimately trickle down to consumers [in the form of] faster, more efficient and more cost-effective products and fulfilment,” he said. https://twitter.com/fusionexint

Exclusive Interview with Ivan Teh for BIGIT Technology Malaysia 2016 Conference

For this new BIGIT Blog series, we get upclose and personal with our event’s sponsors as they open up to us about what drives them, their perspectives and predictions of the Big Data and ICT landscape in the near future as well as letting us in on a glimpse of their latest and upcoming projects. Psst, read to the end to find out something unexpected about them too!

This week, read on as Fusionex Ivan Teh – BIGIT Technology Malaysia 2016’s Titanium Sponsor, shed some light on Fusionex’s upcoming launch – Fusionex VISION, inspires us with his life-altering experience and his view on the future of Big Data.

BIGIT Team (BT): As the Managing Director, Can you share a brief overview of what it is you do in your work at Fusionex?

Ivan Teh (IT): Working in Fusionex is exhilarating chiefly, and certainly not least due to the fast pace in which technology progresses. We constantly have to keep track of updates in the industry but that’s what makes it exciting. I’m busy with various conferences, talks and events in the IT space that mainly focuses on ways in which Big Data Analytics could address and alleviate their concerns. A lot of my time is also spent on meetings and discussions, both with the Fusionex team as well as external parties both locally and abroad. I truly enjoy what I do at Fusionex!

BT: Did you have any life-changing experiences that put you on the path that led you to be doing what you’re doing today?

IT: When I was about 8 years old, my late father used to send me to a textile store and night market to work during the school holidays. I was tasked to sell bed-sheets. He wanted me to understand how the world worked. It was very inspiring and gave me an early insight into entrepreneurship. Even then, it was an eye opener as I learnt to figure out that each customer’s need is different and influenced by many factors, and that to make a successful sell, one should aim higher than satisfying the customer; instead one should aim to delight the customer.

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BT: What is the featured initiative/project that you are currently working on? Give us a brief overview of it.

IT: : The Fusionex team works tirelessly to improve our flagship product – our Big Data Analytics (BDA) solution, Fusionex Insight (GIANT). It gives organizations the ability to collect and process their data, and to present the information via powerful and useful visuals for analysis. True to our nature, we are constantly looking for ways businesses can benefit from insights derived out of their data. An enhanced version of GIANT, which will be released soon, pushes the envelope further with a Smart Search function that makes searching for insights much easier and much more humanized. Business users will be able to pull-up information just by asking GIANT questions and the system will respond instantly with visualizations for the requested data. This is known as Fusionex ‘VISION’.

BT: What are the key turning points in this featured project that you would like to share? What did you find most challenging and how did you deal with it?

IT: Managing and overseeing everything from the expectations and requirements of customers / market / industry, to tight deadlines and technology (that is ever evolving) makes for a challenging time at the workplace. However, challenges also present us with the opportunity to prove our caliber. I am lucky to be working with some of the greatest minds in the industry who time and again, admirably rise to the occasion. Whatever challenges that may arise during our work; we handle them and overcome them as a team. I believe that if you want to run fast – work alone; if you want to run far – then you have to work as team!

BT: What are your top 5 predictions for big data in SEA region for the next year or two and why?

IT: While there have been parties in the region utilizing this technology to fruitful results, the adoption of BDA in the ASEAN region can still be said to be in a nascent stage or at best, growing stage. With a number of developing countries, businesses may have a found a stable footing in their homes but are still uncertain of how to compete on a global level. BDA will help an increasing number of local or regional companies leverage on the power of data to up their game and compete internationally. In the near future, I expect we’ll see not only seasoned players improve their functions to go for a piece of the global pie but also aggressive startups who already set their sights for the bigger stage from the get-go, all with the help of BDA. At Fusionex, we believe that Big Data is driving the use of deep learning and artificial intelligence to make businesses smarter. We want to help organizations achieve this optimization.

BT: What’s next for you in your work? What are you looking forward to?

IT: This is a very important year for Fusionex. We have a lot of things planned and to look forward to. We are looking towards launching Fusionex VISION this year and will be looking towards continuously expanding our growing partnership network. We also look towards and work towards being recognized as a major Big Data Analytics player, not only regionally but globally in time to come.

BT: If you could be a Marvel character for a day, who would it be and why?

IT: Since it is just for a day, I would choose to be Tony Stark aka Ironman, simply because he is a technological genius, and the ability to tap into the mind of someone like that would inspire boundless ideas and opportunities for technological innovations, more importantly for the good of mankind and for this planet. https://www.fusionex-international.com/News-Announcements/Latest-News