Zaklean Ansari Zambri (right) promotes leather handbags during a livestreaming session from her office in Selangor, Malaysia, on April 14. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
KUALA LUMPUR－When Malaysian entrepreneur Zaklean Ansari Zambri first visited China as part of a business delegation in 2004, little did she anticipate how much her experience in the country would affect her career.
Sharing her story at her office in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur with Xinhua News Agency in a recent interview, Zaklean recalled how she was impressed by the Chinese people during the visit.
"People are working very hard. They are committed. One thing I noticed about that time was the way they do things, very dedicated and very detailed," she said.
We went through bad times, they also went through bad times, but we united and decided to move forward together
Zaklean Ansari Zambri, a Malaysian entrepreneur
Since then, China became increasingly attractive to her. As an entrepreneur, China has also opened a new frontier for her business idea. In 2014, she attended a business training program in Beijing, during which time she first learned about e-commerce.
Zaklean said the program opened her mind and she saw the potential for e-commerce in Malaysia.
"They taught us everything about e-commerce. And that's why when I came back here, I couldn't adjust myself, because my mind was already set for 10 years ahead."
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It took several years and in 2019, Zaklean was prepared to jointly launch an e-commerce platform in partnership with friends from China.
Despite the initial difficulty due to the restrictions imposed by the Malaysian government to contain the COVID-19, the pandemic has accelerated the move toward e-commerce activities and it ended up allowing her e-commerce platform to grow.
Her service helped Malaysians set up their own businesses on online shopping sites, providing opportunities for those hit by the pandemic, as well as housewives and those stuck at home with opportunities to participate.
A lot of people hit by the pandemic did not have any income or job. The company's e-commerce program helped several people to stand on their own feet, she said.
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Now 47, Zaklean is confident that e-commerce could expand in Malaysia into rural areas in the post-pandemic era, drawing on what she had seen during her visits to China, where even in rural areas, people buy and sell on digital platforms.
She hopes to bring Chinese experts to Malaysia to further enhance the training of Malaysians in e-commerce, develop local talent and deepen collaboration between the two countries.
"They say Disney theme parks are 'where dreams come true.' This is what happened to me," she said. "I was very lucky to have been exposed to China. I was exposed to knowledge through technology transfers and its history, culture and friendships."
She is a big fan of the Malay proverb "bukit sama didaki, lurah sama dituruni," which means to climb the hill together and go down the ravine together.
The proverb reminded her how she and her friends from China had endured the pandemic together.
"We went through bad times, they also went through bad times, but we united and decided to move forward together," she said.
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