Trade works best when there is a healthy balance

RUNNING an online business is an increasingly popular option to earn income these days. After all, most of us already spend many hours a day connecting with others on social media, sending and receiving email, gathering information from the Web, and downloading pictures, documents, books, music, and vi­­deos.

And of course, performing tran­sactions through personal compu­ters and smartphones has become second nature for many people. So why not set up shop in the digital world if we have something to sell? It can be fast and simple.

Best of all, technology allows an online entrepreneur to operate with a smaller investment of time and capital than if he had a bricks-and-mortar business.

However, people sometimes mistakenly believe that because an online business does not have a physical presence, it is not subject to the many laws that govern traditional commerce and industry.

Companies Commission of Ma­­laysia chairman Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad highlighted this problem on Monday when he pointed out that many online businesses had not registered with the commission. He said about 30,000 such businesses had done so since 2012. This is a low number when you consider how frequently we come across people selling goods and services to reaching out to potential customers solely through websites, social media, and mobile applications.

Alias added that in 2014 and 2015, the CCM had taken action under the Business Registration Act against more than 1,000 online business owners for failing to register their businesses.

However, it appears that the level of awareness is rising. Last year, 6,389 online business companies were registered, which is more than double the 2,690 in 2014. But a lot of people still have to learn about the importance of business registration.

The Star Says.

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