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Assistance for aspiring SMEs [12-03-2013]  
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Aspiring small and medium enterprises in Malaysia will be supported via the Creative Product Development Programme, a collaborative effort between the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) and industry players PhisonTech Electronics (M) Sdn Bhd, Pensonic Holdings Bhd, Fusionwave Fusionwave Creative Consultancy Sdn Bhd and EMTEC Inc.

The programme aims to tackle longstanding local industry issues such as designers' lack of understanding of market trends and capabilities; insufficient financial resources and expertise; an unreliable supply chain and limited market access.

Upon the submission of a business proposal and a panel screen, admission into the programme would entail support such as understanding market trends, manufacturing, promotion and branding, as well as product distribution.

“Designs, particularly industrial products, are significant when it comes to brand image. It is no surprise that companies that master the art of aesthetics are on top of their game,” Mida chief executive officer Datuk Noharuddin Nordin said when announcing the programme at Mida headquarters yesterday.

Mida has introduced tax incentives to endorse the design services industry.

For instance, registered enterprises that have recruited qualified Malaysian designers to provide industrial design services meant for mass production are now eligible for income tax exemption on 70% of their services for five years.

“To say that our aim is to export our products to Taiwan would be stretching it because frankly, I'm rather disappointed with our progress. We are lagging behind and that's why we need to do this to develop not just engineers but the entire supply chain,” PhisonTech Electronics Corp founder Datuk K.S. Pua said.

“We are thankful for Mida's strong support in overcoming local handicaps. Integration is the only way to help our local industry progress.”

Research company IC Insights estimated the global digital entertainment and lifestyle market in 2013 to be worth US$170bil (RM510bil), and this is important because product and industrial design contributed to 30% of the total development costs of digital products.

Noharuddin said there were over 35,000 creative entities in Malaysia that were engaged in a broad range of design-related fields such as multimedia, fashion and industrial design.

He urged these fragmented communities to team up with industrial design engineers.

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