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Cisco has rolled out a new financing program targeting small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) customers in Malaysia, designed to mitigate against ongoing Covid-19 challenges.

Centred around offering product purchases at zero per cent interest, the package also includes no upfront costs at a fixed three-year monthly payment term, spanning software, hardware and services.

Available via Cisco Capital - the vendor’s financing division - the move is designed to help customers return to growth as the Malaysian economy gradually reopens, prompted by a steady easing of government control measures.

“The pandemic has had a huge impact on businesses across the country,” observed Albert Chai, managing director of Malaysia at Cisco.

For Chai however, the outbreak has also triggered a “rapid shift in mindset” at SME level, with businesses becoming “more receptive” to integrating technology into various aspects of the organisation.

“Therefore, this digital shift will also be critical to Malaysia's overall economy, not least because the sector accounts for nearly two-thirds of all jobs in Malaysia,” Chai added. “The world is going through an uncertain economic period and at Cisco, we are committed to doing our part to help lighten the burden for Malaysian SMEs.

“As businesses strive to adapt to the new normal, we believe that the SME sector will continue to protect and even create jobs that will bolster Malaysia's economic recovery post Covid-19.”

The program will also provide SMEs with a three-year, full payout lease plan in which customers pay equal 36-month payments on Cisco purchases for costs between RM85,600 and RM1.28 million (US$20,000 - $300,000), in addition to fully owning the product at the end of the contract period.

“SMEs are the backbone of ASEAN economies and technology can help solve some of their key challenges to revitalise their operations post-Covid-19,” added Raz Mohamad, director of Small Business and Commercial across ASEAN at Cisco. “It is more important than ever for partners like Cisco to provide the much-needed assistance, not just through our solutions and expertise but also through programmes that can help alleviate financial concerns.

“Cisco's financing program offers built-in capabilities to ensure businesses can run their regular operation, predictable payments and at 0 per cent interest rate. They can also eliminate upfront costs, preserving their financial resources for other business priorities.”

SMEs currently represent 98.5 per cent of total registered businesses in Malaysia, accounting for approximately 65 per cent of national employment while contributing 38.3 per cent to overall GDP.