He dismissed the notion that such technology will cause drivers for companies like GoGoVan to lose their jobs, pointing out that autonomous technology will also create opportunities that humans can align with.
“We need to evolve ourselves with new tools, we need to adapt,” Lam said.
Lam was speaking during a discussion of the technologies and logistics Southeast Asian companies should adopt to attract Chinese consumers.
Victor Chua, managing partner at Vynn Capital, echoed Lam’s comments and urged traditional businesses to adapt technologies and work with entrepreneurs to stay relevant, regardless of the industry they are in. This is particularly important for big companies who might not be as nimble as start-ups.
“You cannot genetically recreate a start-up … there are elements that you cannot recreate [in a large company] just by hiring people or creating a subsidiary,” Chua said.
On the issue of cross-border e-commerce, Malaysian businesses often have the misconception that they are unable to sell to China as they are unable to compete on price, according to Fione Tan, chief executive of e-commerce platforms 28Mall.com and eOneNet.com. However, there is often a demand for local products such as durian and coffee from Chinese consumers.
China lagging US in autonomous driving but gap is narrowing, says start-up Pony.ai
She said that sellers who are keen to sell cross-border to China can now build businesses online thanks to cloud infrastructure, and that cross-border e-commerce is now “faster and cheaper” as countries like China embrace imported goods.
Malaysia had earlier partnered with Alibaba Group Holding, which owns the Post, on the electronic world trade platform (eWTP). With the eWTP, small and medium enterprises in both the mainland and Malaysia will be able to conduct cross-border trade easily.