Malaysia Focus: 5 Things You Need To Know About Southeast Asia’s ‘Quiet Giant Of Animation’

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Last month, we reported from the virtual edition of Kre8tif!, the annual animation conference normally held in the Malaysian city of Cyberjaya. This is where the latest ideas and projects from Malaysia are showcased to the world, shoring up the country’s growing reputation as “a quiet giant of animation,” in the words of one Youtube executive who attended this year.

But Kre8tif! is only one facet of a broad national strategy around animation and digital content. The engine behind it is Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the government agency that runs the conference and a host of other support schemes for Malaysian animation. Founded in 1996, as the government was turbocharging its investment in tech, MDEC has evolved into a tireless champion of animation, which in resources and scope has no peers in Southeast Asia.

In recent years, MDEC has provided local animation producers with a steady stream of funds, professional support, and promotion on the world stage. Although Malaysian animation started life chiefly as a service industry, the agency has recognized and nurtured the country’s talent for generating original IP. Malaysia is now the largest creator of local content characters in Southeast Asia, according to a recent report on the region’s animation production (co-authored by MDEC).

How exactly did this come about? As the industry becomes more established, what goals is it setting itself and what new challenges is it facing? To learn more, we spoke to Hasnul Hadi Samsudin, MDEC’s vice president of digital creative content. Read on for five takeaways from our conversation.

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