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Vol 7 No 1 2019

“WE ARE NOT IN THE TYRE BUSINESS BUT PEOPLE BUSINESS.” Clement Lim, Joint Managing Director CKL Group of Companies

Employers Hiring Talent with Digital Skills

WM RM9 / EM RM11

MRCA unveils Retail Sales Survey for 3rd Quarter 2018


CONTENTS / VOL. 7 NO. 1

EVENTS 36 Charity Visit to Pang Khong Kiem’s House

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MRCA Unveils Retail Sales Survey for 3rd Quarter 2018

Giving Back to Society this CNY

38 MRCA Christmas Party

39 Christmas Charity Celebration for 115 Underprivileged Kids

40 MRCA President’s Selected Activities

41 Monthly Meeting

42 MRCA in the News

43 Calendar of Events

ON THE COVER

Clement Lim, Joint Managing Director CKL Group of Companies Photography: Song @ Picture This

Malaysia Retailer Vol 4 No 1

4 Lim Tayar Upshifts with

New Generation in Control

Innovation and convenience are the priority in the highly competitive industry.

FEATURES 10 China’s Secret Weapon 12 MRCA Unveils Retail Sales Survey for 3rd Quarter 2018 14 Cannis App Makes Impressive Debut in Global Digital Scene 15 Accolades for Top SME Companies 16 2 Key Pillars that Will Define Success for Modern Retailing 18 Jobstreet Survey – Employers Hiring Talent with Digital Skills 20 Serving Authentic Ipoh Chicken Rice to Malaysians 21 In Safe Hands with iPay88 22 Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Network Expands with 11th Hap Seng Star Autohaus 23 Bata Malaysia Launches First Kids Store in Asia 24 Clara International – Redefining Beauty Standards 25 Chester Venture Bhd – The Real Deal

26 Budget 2019 27 Around the World with

Apple Vacations 28 Loob Holding Contemporises F&B Scene 29 LG Digital Signage – The Bright Spark in Retail 30 Maison Berger Paris-Malaysia Creates a Scentsational Market 31 Jaya Grocer Finds Success in a Niche 32 Liven Up Your Space with Ammolite Furniture 33 Mpire Auto Group Takes the Road Less Travelled 34 Maserati’s 2019 Levante S Now in Malaysia 35 Only the Best from Madam Kwan

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Accolades for Top SME Companies


Deliver Your Power Move in Kota Kemuning’s Bright New Commercial Zone Suited to any business, commercial or enterprise, Triana’s 2 & 3-Storey Shop Offices will be the new focal point of Aman’s 30,000-strong community & beyond.


Cover Story

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LIM TAYAR Upshifts With New Generation In Control In an industry that is in need of an overhaul, car servicing centre Lim Tayar is like the smell of a new car. Clement Lim, Joint Managing Director of CKL Group of Companies, tells RACHAEL PHILIP that innovation and convenience are a priority in this highly competitive and fragmented industry. Photography Song @ Picture This

ost people know what a car service centre generally looks like and can imagine what the office at the back of the service centre looks like – cluttered with carbon-copy invoices, cramped spaces and greasy arm rests. However, at Lim Tayar one is forced to throw away such preconceived notions. The recently-refurbished headquarters in Sri Hartamas features an industrial design with polished slabs of concrete flooring, exposed tube lightings over work stations and a drinks corner. It is more like the office space of trendy techies, one that promotes creativity and collaboration, but why not? Clement Lim, Joint Managing Director of CKL Group of Companies, the company that manages car servicing centre Lim Tayar, said he scoured high and low for the most suitable candidates for his heads of departments. Lim Tayar’s purchasing manager, for instance, is from the F&B retail sector.

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The IT manager is from an international watch manufacturing company, while the marketing manager is from the media industry. “We are known as an organised structure in a largely unorganised industry. Less than a handful of companies in the industry have purposeful departments,” he said, elaborating on the fragmented nature of the industry. From garages and service centres, dingy and greasy stores to spacious, Wifi-enabled lounges with free beverages and snacks, the auto service industry has not grown much where technology and soft skills are concerned. “Hardware and software enhancement has been slow to arrive. The second generation in a familycontrolled business does not want to come into the trade. It’s too much hard work. Owners get stuck doing things the same way they have operated for years.” Not at Lim Tayar, and Clement’s presence says it. The company is at


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Cover Story

6 the tail end of a neat transition from first generation to second generation. Also on board is younger sister Melissa who joined the group six years ago. Trained as an actuary, she manages the backend part of the business, namely finance, legal and human resources while Clement manages the front line. The injection of professionals and white collar staff into the business is almost complete, and the floor facelift of the 16-year-old office is testament to all the internal change taking place.

COMPLEX BUSINESS Clement decided to be part of the family business about 15 years ago, after a chat with dad, Lim Chee Kong. A graduate from Domino Carlton Tivoli Hotel Management School in Switzerland, where he had trained in the culinary arts, Clement said he felt a sense of responsibility. “I wanted to contribute to the business that allowed me a good education and the lifestyle I had until then,” he said, adding that his nonexistent skills in auto mechanics was a non-issue. “We are not in the tyre business but in the people business. Our business is people-centric, and where better to learn the tricks of the trade than the epicentre of service, Switzerland?” He may have got the business strategy right but admitted to initially being very naïve. “The move to join the family business was an easy decision but I was mistaken in thinking that life would be easy running a family business. It is complex and painstaking.” “At every corner I was compared to the predecessor. Every unpopular decision was met with some resistance. The first-time entrepreneur is very likeable to the employees, and when I started to recruit white collar staff there were some oppositions. People were questioning the policies that we introduced. I had to stick to my guns. “In the end how did we iron out these issues? I don’t think it would ever get ironed out, instead overtime it could pan itself out,” he said, giving solicited advice for family businesses in the same predicament. “You have to be patient and consistent. You must have a handful of first generation folks who you can

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“We are known as an organised structure in a largely unorganised industry.”

- Clement Lim, Joint Managing Director of CKL Group of Companies. talk to and explain the direction you are heading in, the goals you have. You must be able to give them a clear timeframe for when you plan to achieve your goals. Perseverance is important. “It is also important to communicate clearly how the professionals and the existing staff can work together.” Also captured in delayed telecast is the reckoning that there is no switching off when it comes to family business. “You work 25 hours a day, eight days a week. It’s round the clock work.”

ONE-STOP CENTRE Today, the business looks into every aspect of the auto servicing industry. The core business is the retail arm of the company Lim Tayar. Global P is the

import and distribution arm supplying spare parts, while Blue Labs is the digital technology unit created to manage and maintain customers’ vehicles. “We are the sole distributor of various products, including lubricants and tyres. Up until 2006 we were backed by some manufacturers such as GoodYear but we decided to disassociate ourselves from manufacturers’ brands and to become an independent retail chain. CKL also runs a vocational training centre called School of Skills. “We created the college to mitigate labour issues. The industry can only hire locals, and getting highly-skilled vocational talent is a problem,” Clement said.


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Soft Skills In A Rugged Setting Soft skills are a combination of people skills, social skills, communication skills, attitudes and emotional intelligence, and these have a place in the business of car servicing. The focus is on convenience. “We are open seven days a week. We have a 100% Malaysian workforce. Our workshops are women friendly with clean toilets, comfortable waiting rooms, and our pricing is standardised across all our stores,� said Clement. Besides implementing user-friendly POS systems, CKL also looks into enhancing the retail segment by rolling out marketing campaigns such as birthday benefits and a newsletter, and making customers its priority by introducing CRM. It has also introduced innovative services such as a pick-up for service program where the customer’s car is picked up from his or her office, taken in for service and returned before the end of the work day. These efforts have paid off. Clement said their customer base has grown over the years, and predictably, women make up a good portion of this.

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8 Cover Story

“Dad also champions team work and the team spirit. He told me once, that as an individual one may be able to run fast but as a team one can run very far.”

STAYING UP-TO-DATE

The college covers the internal combustion and hybrid cars. With about 110 students, and a capacity for 200 students, the college offers courses up to advanced diploma level, with recognition from centres in London and Scotland. Clement said some 30% of the graduates return to their family businesses, servicing a trade they grew up in as they inject technical upgrades and skilled workmanship to the business. “Our graduates come out and enter the workforce with solid work experience, shrinking the gap between college and the real world. We know what is needed in the industry and we field this to our students,” he said.

BEST PRACTICES Priority is also placed on in-house training. Many of its employees

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have been with the company for 10 to 15 years. This has resulted in a pool of workers who are not only knowledgeable but also dedicated. Every staff undergoes at least one or two training sessions a year, while corporate staff are sent overseas for exposure and experience, and to bring back best practices that can be used in the business. Human resources also organises get-away workshops for the core team to brush up on their people and communication skills, and emotional intelligence. Two years ago Clement himself received advice from his father. “At our Christmas dinner, dad revealed that at the stroke of midnight, as he ushers in the New Year, he resets his “clock”. He forgives and forgets, and starts afresh every New Year. This is important in business and when managing people.

Like all other industries, Lim Tayar also has to stay abreast with innovation and information technology, and adopt it where suitable. But unlike other industries, the returns trickle in slowly. “Our balancing and alignment machines, for instance, have been upgraded to 3D machines. “Upgrades like this reduces manpower. We went from skilled to a semi-skilled workforce with the assistance of these machines. Also, it quickens our process so we can serve more customers per day but as we invest more the returns are not seen immediately but over a longer period of time.” Clement predicts that the rise of electric vehicles in the industry can disrupt the business. The company has to contend with a chicken-andegg type of conundrum. Do we equip our workshops with infrastructure to service EV cars or do we wait for more EV cars to fill our roads first? The technology arm, nevertheless, attends conferences and international trade events in order to stay updated and to brace for the shift in its business model, and the market as a whole. With all the changes introduced into the company would management consider changing its brand name? “My father, who started out as a mechanic before forging his own path, came up with the name. His expertise was in car servicing and not tyres specifically, but decided to go with Lim Tayar because he thought it was catchy. It’s been around for 33 years. It has now become a household name. It will not be changed.” What will change is the size of the business. As the company focuses on consolidating its operations at HQ level, it is also acknowledging that organic growth can only take the business so far. Hence, management is looking at the dealers’ model to expand Lim Tayar. “So far we are mostly contained in the Klang Valley. We opened one outlet in Seremban in 2017. Our long-term goal is to have a presence in every state in the country,” said Clement.


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China’s Secret Weapon China has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. There are predictions of a further slowdown in economic growth and a bigger gap in trade deficit. Against this grim backdrop there is a silver lining, says one economic expert.

alaysian retailers had a rare chance of listening to a talk by a professor from China’s top business school in Kuala Lumpur early this year. Prof Wang YiJang, an expert on Chinese economics and human resource management, opened his one-hour discourse with two seemingly contradictory statements. He said the Chinese economy is “having a very hard time” yet 2019/2020 is seen by the Chinese and international business people as one of the best years of doing business in China. The professor of Human Resource Management and Economics and Associate Dean of Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB), Beijing, then explained that the Chinese economy had slowed down but predicted that it will be the biggest economy in the next 10 years. “You have the biggest economy in the world just outside your door,” he told the crowd of roughly 60 business people from the various categories in the Malaysian retail scene.

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BEST TIMES YET He listed US’s trade war with China as one of the main reasons for the current economic slump affecting US$100 billion in exports. The press is “all bad news” on predictions that trade surplus and foreign exchange surplus that could shrink further. “But why am I saying that 2019 and 2020 is the best year to do business in China? Because the Chinese government has a secret weapon, one that it brings out to turn the economy around prompting the best times in the economy,” he said. The secret weapon is China reducing government intervention and allowing more grass root initiatives, he revealed. Prof Wang reiterate three instances in the history of China when the secret

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weapon was unleashed. In all these instances, the government pulled back or, as he said “the government simply did less”, and people of China rose to the occasion, contributing to fiscal revenues, employment and innovations, creating much value for the whole of society. “The government steps in typically at bad times, giving more resources and market share to private businesses. Think about the possibility of the Chinese government giving more space to private investments,” he urged.

DON’T WAIT If you are planning to do business in China, don’t wait until things are good, when there are good resources and prices are high because that is when the government is pulling back its secret weapon. “You must go in when the times are difficult. The current trade war will make the government open up more. As long as there is a trade war the government will open up more. It will be friendly towards investments from other countries,” said Prof Wang.


01 02

Provide support for digitalisation of business operations and build e-commerce capabilities.

Promote opportunities for sharing economy.

03 04

Strengthen retail and F&B competencies.

Provide assistance to retail and F&B players to grow internationally.

STUDY TOUR, BUSINESS MATCHING PROGRAM IN BEIJING

WORK FORCE To a question from the floor on labour and work force in China, Prof Wang admitted that labour is a serious problem for China because of the onechild policy that has caused a shortage of workers to meet current demand. However there are compensating factors. Workers in China are of good quality. They are highly skilled. The government is also funding research into artificial intelligence technology and adopting labour saving technologies such as digitalisation and electronics, he said. “It’s true not everybody can do well in China but it all depends on the timing. There are times when the Government does more to accommodate the business people, and there are time when the secret weapon is put away. This is when you see people pulling out from China. So timing is important. You want to be able to use government policies,” he reiterated. To a question on industries that are preferred by policy makers in China, Prof Wang said that there is a clear preference for industries that bring in new technologies. “Digital industries, big data and robots are popular in China. At the same time the government also wants to increase employment in the country and spur the SME sector.”

Malaysian retailers can attend a one-week study and corporate visit programme in Beijing on March 11-15, 2019. The programme, entitled Growing Business to China: Understanding the Land of the Dragon, will see participants attending lectures at the country’s top business school, the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB), Beijing. CKGSB was founded by Hong Kong billionaire Li KaShing. Its alumni include Jack Ma founder of Alibaba, FunChengyu, Chairman of Sinopec, Fan Min of Ctrip and many others. The alumni is said to control 20% of China’s business. It was also reported that executives of 66 of China’s Fortune 500 companies hailed from CKGSB. The programme is organised by the Productivity Nexus and together with Matrade. The Productivity Nexus was established soon after the launch of the Malaysia Productivity Blueprint by the National Productivity Council in May 2018. As such participants who are registered as Matrade members can tap into the government agency’s Market Development Grant for the programme. “The government is keen to grow the retail sector. Unlike high productive growth sectors such as ICT and E&E, the retail sector occupies the bottom half of Malaysia’s productivity score. This is because the sector is dependent on foreign labour. Also it is mostly run by SMEs,” said Dato’ Bruce Lim, Deputy Secretary General, MRCA, and Chairman of the Productivity Nexus (Retail and F&B). “SMEs are always fighting fire, they have no time to do long-term planning such as looking into data, technology, systems, training and career progression. This is where Productivity Nexus comes in. It is an effort between the private sector and government agencies.” The programme, he said, corresponds, with the Productivity Nexus’ initiatives, such as providing assistance to retail and F&B players to grow internationally, among others. Besides lectures at CKGSB, participants of the study tour and business matching programme can look forward to corporate visits, business matching events and meeting top executives to listen to their insights. Among the businesses the participants will visit are Haidilao, a restaurant where patrons are served by robots; Yintai, the largest retail company in China; Alibaba, the conglomerate specialising in e-commerce; Baifendian, experts in AI technology and Lenovo, the computer manufacturing company.

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11 Feature

Four initiatives of the Productivity Nexus:


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MRCA Unveils Retail Sales Survey for 3rd Quarter 2018 Retailing is a major industry in Malaysia and the compilation of up-to-date and reliable statistics is useful for the various stakeholders in the industry. The statistics can be used for benchmarking, forecasting and business planning purposes. t can also be a basis for representations at meetings with the government authorities, media, and affiliates. With reliable data the retail industry can articulate and further their interests and causes, benefitting all members. As such, the MRCA conducted its first ever Quarterly Retail Sales Survey among its members for the third quarter of 2018. It was carried out last October in collaboration with independent research firm Stratos Consulting Group Sdn Bhd. The findings were announced at a press conference recently. The survey was carried out online an via email. MRCA engaged with its members while Stratos conducted the analyses and produced the report. The sample of respondents include

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10% of MRCA’s members, representing 59 brands and a combined total of 2,266 stores across a variety of trade categories including food and beverage, fashion, health and beauty, supermarket and department stores, entertainment, optical, education, home improvement and more.

STEADY GROWTH Based on the survey, retail sales grew on average at 5.6% y-o-y in Q1 2018, due to the Chinese New Year sales and promotions. In the following quarter it grew at a slower rate at 2.1% y-o-y affected mainly by the general elections in May where consumers were holding back on spending due to economic uncertainty. Meanwhile the tax holiday between June and August encouraged

consumers to spend, Retailers participated in the survey recorded growth of 5.7% y-o-y in Q3 For Q4 retail sales growth rate was forecasted to be at 6.1% y-o-y despite the reintroduction of sales and services tax in September 2018. This can be attributed to the year-end school holidays and the festive season. In addition some retailers (28.1%) reported an increase in the number of outlets as a factor for their sales growth. Others (17.5%) blamed outlet closure as reason for changes in their sales pattern. For the whole of 2018 the retail sales growth rate is expected to be 4.9% y-o-y. Meanwhile sales of the sub-sectors is mixed. Many retailers benefited from the three-month tax break. With the

L-R: Tina Leong from Stratos Consulting Group Sdn Bhd, Dato’ Liew Bin, Datuk Seri Garry Chua, Dato’ Vincent Choo, Shirley Tay and Dato’ Winnie Lim at the press conference to announce the findings of the survey.

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GST zero-rated, consumers had higher purchasing power and were more inclined to spend especially on higher value-added products. Retailers from the F&B, health and beauty, and other retailers reported encouraging growth rate of 5.4%, 3.1% and 21.3% y-o-y respectively. However, fashion retailers suffered a negative growth rate in both Q2 and Q3, at 2.2% and 2.8% y-o-y respectively.

Y-O-Y Quarterly Percentage Changes In Terms Of Total Sales, 2018

5.7

6.1

5.7

Average Growth 4.9%

2.1

Q1

SAMPLE SIZE OVERVIEW

Q2

Q3

Q4 Forecast N=57

59 Brands 2266 Stores

Y-O-Y Quarterly Percentage Changes In Terms Of Total Sales, By Category, 2018

21.3

TRADE CATEGORIES 16.2

12.0

F&B

Fashion & Accessories

Health & Beauty

8.2

6.9

6.9

5.4

6.3

1.8

2.2

3.1 0.8

Others: Supermarket, Department Store, Entertainment, Optical, Education & More

0.8

1.1

Q1

Q2

-2.2 F&B N=20

Fashion N=12

Q3

Q4 Forecast

-2.8 Health & Beauty N=13

Others N=12

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Homegrown Mobile App Company Makes Impressive Debut In Global Digital Scene Cannis App Sdn Bhd contributes 10% of the US$29 billion industry landscape and it is also poised to be listed on Nasdaq In 2021. he comprehensive application made its debut in August last year as 7 in 1 app comprising elements such as Live E-Commerce, Creative Videos, Discount Shopping, Live Broadcast, Social Media, Cannis Pay and Games. Following the current customers’ behavioural trends, the app offers an integrated platform for users to leverage beyond social aspects. The users are now able to use a single app to manage daily business and personal practices more efficiently. Cannis App formed strategic partners to strengthen the features as well as investing in the most popular industries such as technologies, films, beauty and preventive medicines, among others. It has also penetrated the Southeast Asian market and is expected to be listing on the US stock exchange market Nasdaq, in 2021. The media conference to announce the achievement was officiated by Tengku Puteri Datuk Paduka Seri Zahariah Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah accompanied by the CEO of Cannis App, Dato’ Azman Ching. The third quarter of 2018 has been the most profitable period for the App Stores and Google Play that

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has exceeded more than USD$29 billion in revenue, a 10% increment compared to the past. While the global consumer spending has reached nearly US$20 billion, an increment of 20% in comparison to the same period in the past, both set a new historical record. Dato’ Azman said that the app has seven outstanding features built to meet the needs of users. “We integrate the app for social and business as for now and we are looking forward to add more features in the future,” said Dato’ Azman who added that the company is currently working with 100 talented engineers in China to synergise the app with latest technology advancement in the market. “With this solid growth, we are aiming Cannis App to be listed on Nasdaq in 2021,” he stated. “This is a masterpiece mobile App that comprises 7 outstanding features built to meet users’ needs and wants. We integrate the App for social and business as for now and we are looking forward to expand more features in the future. We are currently working with 100 talented engineers in China to synergize the App with latest technology advancement in the market. I am positive that with this solid growth,

we are aiming Cannis App to be listed on Nasdaq in 2021,” expressed YBhg Dato’ Azman Ching, The CEO of Cannis App. CANNIS App Sdn Bhd is established in 2017 as a registered company in Kuala Lumpur and has officially launched live broadcasting app in 2018. Cannis is currently based in a few branches including Taipei, Guangzhou, Kuala Lumpur and Penang with Malaysia as headquarter. Known for being a multiracial country, Malaysia is home to some of the biggest bi-lingual talents who are well-versed in English and Mandarin as well as the locally spoken Bahasa Malaysia.


A total of 89 award recipients, including one from Indonesia, were feted in grand style at the Platinum Business Awards 2018 Presentation and Gala Night.

uest-of-Honour Minister of Entrepreneur Development Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof, presented pewter trophies and certificates to awardees in 17 categories by nomination. More than 1,400 guests from the business sector, Government agencies, major chambers of commerce, trade associations, and foreign embassies attended the event which was organised by the SME Association of Malaysia at the Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre recently. EXSIM Group, Fusionex International, and Westports Malaysia Sdn Bhd received the Outstanding Achievers Award while PT. Elabram Systems of Indonesia took the ASEAN Enterprise Award. Builtech Project Management Sdn Bhd, Brickfields Asia College Sdn Bhd, and Miaow Miaow Food Products Sdn

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Bhd were winners in the SME Best Overall Award category. The SME Internet-of-Things Award, first introduced in 2017, went to Gintell (M) Sdn Bhd signaling that SMEs are catching up with the trend of digitisation. Now in its 17th consecutive year, the awards programme is noted for its stringent selection process and carries the tagline ‘Legacy and Integrity,’ garnering a strong following among SMEs and the business community. Nominees were judged on 5 core evaluation criteria – business, company philosophies, products, services and markets, operations and technologies, and financial performance – and the results were independently-audited by Kreston John & Gan. The 2018 awards theme ‘Local Innovation, Global Recognition’ expressed the idea of exporting local creations and aimed to inspire larger

L-R: Datuk Michael Kang, Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan and Chey Onn Wah, Organising Chairman Platinum Business Awards 2018.

numbers of SMEs to export goods and services from Malaysia. The Association’s National President Datuk Michael Kang, in his speech, appealed to SMEs to contribute productively to nation-building.

SME Internet-of-Things Award was presented to Gintell Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

K-Pintar CEO RA Thiagaraja receiving the SME Platinum Business Awards for the Product Excellence category.

L-R: Datuk Michael Kang, Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan and Chey Onn Wah, Organising Chairman Platinum Business Awards 2018.

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Accolades for Top SME Companies

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Two Key Pillars that Will Define Success for Modern Retailing While the news shines a gloomy light on the state of a retail industry, the statistics reveal a more positive outlook. With ecommerce figures climbing year on year and retailers reporting a more engaged, communicative customer base, the industry may simply be in transition, rather than turmoil, as the model evolves to better serve consumers. By Mark Thomson

orking with retailers both in the UK and worldwide, we have seen countless cases of rejuvenation and reinvention; retailers of all shapes and sizes taking on the challenges created by evolving consumer needs and a fluctuating industry landscape. Whether ripping out and replacing all technology or simply making a few tweaks to operations or strategy, there are a few universal truths we have found apply to all retailers. Indeed, with investment in two key pillars of modern retailing, merchants can map out a very profitable, connected future.

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STOCK ACCURACY Online or instore, stock management is at the absolute epicenter of every retailers’ world. Efficiency in the stockroom reduces friction along the entire supply chain and has a very measurable impact on the bottom line. That’s true for both independent stores and mega-million-dollar retailers with advanced distribution networks. And the role technology can play to ensure that efficiency should not be underestimated. A manual approach is no longer a viable option. To be competitive, retailers need to offer customers a superior shopping experience, reliable service and

real-time visibility into stock and pricing. According to retailers surveyed in the Zebra 2018 Retail Vision Study, the key sources of customer dissatisfaction were out-of-stock merchandise and the same product available for less at another retail store. For the current, empowered generation of shoppers, this will not stand. It is imperative, therefore, to embrace platforms that transform realtime, visibility-driven data throughout the supply chain into actionable insights. Top of the wish list for retailers looking to digitalize and manage front- and back-end stock in real time should be radio frequency identification


technology (RFID). Where the use of outdated pen and paper systems or fragile, underpowered devices has been prevalent, RFID can quickly and efficiently overhaul and link up all aspects of the retail journey. RFID platforms can boost inventory accuracy to 95%, while out-of-stocks can be reduced by 80% with item-level RFID tagging. Simple investments such as this will empower staff who can quickly and accurately access information from anywhere to add value to your customers’ experience. Merchants are turning to Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to simplify and enhance the store experience, reduce operating costs and create new revenue streams. To that end, they are automating manual processes, such as implementing sensors on shelves to reduce out-of-stock inventory, a major source of shopper frustration.

BECOMING A DATADRIVEN BUSINESS The truth is data, correctly and ethically used, is the linchpin to a mutuallybeneficial experience for both consumers and retailers. Indeed, data capture and analytics capabilities allow the development of innovative ways to exceed customer expectations and deliver a competitive advantage. Data-driven technology provides visibility into every corner of operations and furnishes retailers with customer insights and intelligence that help grow the bottom line and maximize efficiencies. On the flipside of that, customers get a personalized, satisfying experience. Both sides come away with what they want from the encounter.

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The Zebra study revealed retailers are investing in IoT technologies — from beacons that send shoppers customized coupons to radio frequency identification (RIFD) tags that track inventory — to simplify, enliven and customize the shopping experience, generate revenue, and reduce costs. Mobility is a driver for most surveyed retailers who plan to invest in mobile barcode or thermal printers, handheld barcode scanners and mobile computers within the next three years. For retailers, there has never been a more pertinent time to embrace IoT platforms and transform real- time, visibility-driven data throughout the supply chain into actionable insights.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE RETAIL SECTOR? What is certain is that being a successful retailer in 2019 will come down to how

much you care about your customer. It will prove essential to obtain customerrelated data to provide deep insight on how to improve the experience. From the first moment of interaction with a retailer, the customer journey must be absolutely on point. Physical and digital touchpoints alike must function seamlessly without giving up the best qualities of each. As retailers continue to evolve their operations to support a more joined up commerce strategy, they must provide a modern, engaging customer experience for the uncompromising modern shopper. A Zebra study conducted by IHL Group predicts technology budgets among retailers will rise over the next few years. Technology is evolving at a rapid rate and any scrimping on keeping up will certainly lead to merchants being left behind. Mark Thomson is the Director of Retail Industry Solutions at Zebra Technologies. The company provides unparalleled operational visibility for enterprises to become as smart and connected as the world we live in. Real-time information – gleaned from visionary solutions including hardware, software and services – gives organisations the competitive edge they need to simplify operations, know more about their businesses and customers and empower their mobile workers to succeed in today’s data-centric world.

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Employers Hiring Talent With Digital Skills They are investing to attract and retain the talent they need to succeed, according to the Job Outlook 2019 survey report by JobStreet.com he talent sourcing partner reveals in its Job Outlook 2019, indicating that in the shift towards a digital economy, employers are adopting a forward-thinking view with a strong intent to hire talent with digital skills. With the wave of organisations adopting technologies to be ahead, 43% of the employers who are embarking

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Employers are looking to hire new talent externally for the skills that businesses need today

29%

of employers surveyed will hire new employees externally because:

External talent may be able to provide a fresh outlook on the industry

The skillset is acquired through extensive work experience

Higher chances of finding the right person for the job

The war for talent will intensify with the shift to a digital economy and Industry Revolution 4.0

96%

of employers perceived that the talent landscape will change and the main reason cited for this is…

There is a high demand for digital skills, but limited supply of talent with these skills in the market.

“The search for these talent will only get more challenging so employers need to be more proactive and adopt innovative practices to ensure they do not get left behind.” – Gan Bock Herm, Country Manager of JobStreet.com Malaysia.

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Core work-related skills: Top 5 digital skills sought after by employers Top 5 digital skills sought after by employers…

Digital Marketing

Software and Application Development

E-commerce

Big Data & Analytics

Database


on a digital transformation journey are looking to grow their talent pool with skilled talent to drive business growth specifically in areas such as IT/Computing, Digital Marketing and Research & Development. The top 3 initiatives that employers are putting in place to retain their employees include increasing on-thejob training opportunities for new skill sets, providing formal training and development programs to retrain and up-skill, and investing in digital technology & processes. According to the survey, 96% of employers perceive that the talent landscape will change with the shift to a digital economy due to a rising demand for talent with digital skills but limited supply of talent with these skills in the market. “The search for these talent will only get more challenging so employers need to be more proactive and adopt innovative practices to ensure they do not get left behind,� said Gan Bock Herm, Country Manager of JobStreet. com Malaysia. The survey measured 365 employers, with positions ranging from entry level to directors and above, and 20,343 candidates aged 18 to 60 and above. He added that organisations must strengthen their innovation and technology capabilities to capitalise on growth, and they need skilled talent to support that business growth. The survey shows that 29% of employers are looking to hire new talent externally for the skills the business needs. About 60% of employers reported that they have implemented some form of digital transformation initiatives or projects, with the remaining of employers surveyed are in various stages of planning and starting their projects. Employers are also looking to hire talent with soft skills in addition to hard skills. The top five traits valued by employers that increases a talent employability are problem solving skills, communication skills, ability to work independently, willingness to learn and ability to work under pressure. The survey also showed that the hiring activity will be the highest in the first half of 2019, with 90% of employers surveyed forecasting the most recruitment in January to March, followed by 76% for April to June.

Employers are also willing to invest and retrain employees for skills needs by the business

71%

of employers surveyed will retrain and upskill existing employees because:

It promotes the growth of the employee

Existing employees have a good understanding of the business

It saves time and money on the recruiting process

Competition for talent will be strongest in H1 2019 Concentrated hiring activity in the first half of the year 100%

90%

90%

76%

80% 70%

61%

60% 50%

40%

40% 30% 20% 10% 0%

Jan-Mar

Apr-Jun

Jul-Sep

Oct-Dec

Employers are also looking for soft skills in addition to hard skills Top 5 traits valued by employers that increases a candidate’s employability...

Problem solving skills

Communication skills

The ability to work independently

Teachability/ Willingness to learn

The ability to work under pressure

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Serving Authentic Ipoh Chicken Rice to Malaysians For more than 40 years, Ipoh Chicken Rice restaurants has been drawing in the crowds with their home-style Chinese cuisine. It started out as a stall in a restaurant in Ipoh in 1977 and today, with its solid branding, Ipoh Chicken Rice has eight outlets in the Klang Valley and Petaling Jaya. ts signature dishes such as Steamed Chicken Rice, Ipoh Beansprouts, Roasted Pork Rice and Ipoh Hor Fun Noodles are enjoyed by many of its regular customers. “It is great to see many generations under the same roof, enjoying our food. For more than 40 years, we have been feeding families, and we see our regular customers returning,” said its Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Bryan Yan Chee Hong who is the second generation family member to take over the running of the business that was started by his father, Yan Khoon Yin. When the owner of the restaurant, where the chicken rice stall was set up, decided to close down his business, Yan closed the stall and with his family moved to Kuala Lumpur where they first rented a stall. In a year, they founded their first restaurant in Jalan Gasing, Petaling Jaya, which was quickly followed by a second outlet in the vicinity. Bryan joined the family business after graduating from university and since then, he has injected the buisness with new vibes and energy. “We started renovations and began thinking of how we could make the restaurant better and more modern while still keeping true to the authentic Ipoh food that we are known for,” he said. “From just selling chicken rice and Ipoh kuey tiau, we have expanded the menu to include a variety of food. We are a neighbourhood Chinese restaurant offering something for everyone,” he added. “What makes us unique is our Ipoh food. Since we are from Ipoh, we take pride in authentic Ipoh food. Till today,

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we source our beansprouts directly from Buntong, Ipoh, on a daily basis,” said Bryan. Bryan also prides himself on the freshness of the ingredients used in their dishes. “We tell our customers that our chicken is fresh, butchered daily and not frozen. We also offer free-range organic chicken, or kampong chicken. We use the best ingredients so that customers can have the best experience,” he added. The restaurant pays attention to its customer’s palates and is constantly improving its dishes, making them healthier without compromising on taste. “Throughout the years, we have perfected our chicken rice. We have our own style of chicken rice, which is somewhat different from Hainanese chicken rice. It is more a

fusion of the Hainanese style and our own local recipe.” Other signature dishes include the steamed free-range or kampong chicken, pork balls and home-style curry noodles. Bryan is also concentrating on expanding the restaurant, both at home and abroad. “We are in the midst of negotiating and exploring possible joint ventures in the Philippines and Indonesia. I believe that people there are keen to try our local delights. We have also several invitations to set up outlets in shopping malls throughout the country. We are still exploring this and researching the market before we make our move,” he said. Ipoh Chicken Rice employs around 100 local and foreign staff, who, said Bryan, are more than just employees of the company, but its partners in business. Currently, the restaurant has outlets in Jalan Gasing, Petaling Jaya; Sri Petaling; Bandar Puteri Puchong; Kota Damansara; Subang Jaya and Damansara Jaya, as well as a pork-free outlet in KLIA2.


Incorporated in 2006, iPay88 Holding Sdn Bhd is Malaysia’s leading payment company providing e-commerce, online and retail payment solutions to more than 15,000 merchants. This MSC-status company has a presence in Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia and Bangladesh. he company was started in 2006 by three visionary Malaysians, Chan Kok Long, Lim Kok Hing and Chong Lee Kean, all of whom serve as the Executive Directors of the company. The trio saw that e-commerce was about to revolutionise shopping not only in Malaysia but across the region. The biggest obstacle that stopped many in Malaysia and in the region from buying online was the payment method. They were suspicious of doing financial transactions online, worried about compromising their bank accounts or credit cards, leading to security leaks. When working on providing an online payment solution, the founders decided they needed a system which will be simple, fast and most importantly, safe. And with iPay88 they delivered the perfect online payment system gateway that the businesses and the consumers were waiting for. Right from the start, its three distinguished features were: • It accepts payment online: iPay88 allows businesses to accept credit, debit, e-wallet and online banking payments on their website. iPay88 became the single contact point for all banks and financial institutions. • Top internet security features: With features like automated anti-fraud screening, transaction monitoring and compliance with Bank Negara Malaysia, businesses need not worry about the security of the financial transactions. • Ease of integration: Its payment solutions are fully integrated into a wide range of popular shopping carts. The company provides technical support and technical documentation to assist businesses with the integration of the iPay88 payment services with their selected shopping cart system or e-commerce platform. iPay88 also managed to establish a strong position with a dominant market share with established e-commerce

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merchants already operating in Malaysia – including a diversity of established enterprises, multinationals, service providers and financial institutions. Many new SMEs that went into e-commerce began choosing iPay88 as their online payment gateway. In 2016 it secured over 60 percent of all online payment gateway systems in the market, and it was being used by e-retailers, SMEs and corporations for online transaction operations. iPay88 had also established its presence regionally in countries in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and Bangladesh. In 2015, iPay88 was bought over by NTT Data Corporation and became a newly minted subsidiary of the company. NTT Data Corporation is part of the NTT Group, global corporate conglomerate that ranks 55 in Fortune Global 500 in 2017. With this acquisition, iPay88 is positioned to play a much bigger role in the online payment and will strengthen its payment service provider business

both for online and offline within the region. There will also be renewed business development efforts to accelerate the uptake of mobile pointof-sale (mPoS) systems to capture card present transactions as value-added services – especially in markets with strong government support for cashless societies. Today, iPay88 is trusted by over 10,000 merchants. E-commerce is one of the fastest growing markets in the Asia Pacific region. As such, it provides an attractive growth potential to online payment service and payment solution providers. With its strong presence in the region, this is excellent news for iPay88. Cross-border online payment businesses, especially between Japan and the Asia Pacific region is expected to grow significantly. As part of NTT Data Corporation, iPay88 is in a good position to take advantage of this growing e-commerce segment. Over the years the MSC-status company has won numerous awards, including the Merit Award in the Best Financial Application category in the Asia Pacific ICT Awards and since 2009 the Most Outstanding Merchant of Payment Model by FPX-MEPS.

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In Safe Hands with iPay88

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Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Network Expands with 11th Hap Seng Star Autohaus HSS Setia Alam is part of Hap Seng Star’s on-going RM294 million investment to strengthen customer touchpoints nationwide. ercedes-Benz Malaysia Sdn Bhd (MBM) together with authorised dealer partner Hap Seng Star (HSS), opened its 11th Autohaus, the Mercedes-Benz Hap Seng Star Setia Alam Autohaus (HSS Setia Alam). Complementing the German marque’s eclectic product offerings, the Autohaus launch reflects the brand’s continued drive for holistic automotive excellence, bringing the Best Products, Best Service and Best Customer Experience to its growing customer fan base. “It gives us great pleasure to celebrate yet another significant milestone with our authorised dealer partner, Hap Seng Star, the official launch of the Mercedes-Benz Hap Seng Star Setia Alam Autohaus. Driven by our customer centric strategy, we continue to expand our customer touchpoints for an unrivalled Mercedes-Benz experience, keeping the Malaysian market, our customers and fans in mind,” said Mercedes-Benz Malaysia President and CEO, Dr Claus Weidner. With the addition of HSS Setia Alam, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia maintains its position as the largest retail network in the premium segment

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with 35 authorised dealerships from nine dealer groups. The partnership between principal and HSS Setia Alam, with a RM2.8 million investment, is part of the on-going RM294 million total investment by Hap Seng Star to enhance customer touchpoints nationwide. HSS Setia Alam is a brand new full-fledged 3S centre managed by 39 certified personnel well-versed in sales and after-sales. With eight work bays installed and manned by Daimler AG certified professionals, the Autohaus is capable of servicing up to 500 vehicles a month. Hap Seng Consolidated Berhad Group Chief Operating Officer and Hap Seng Star Chief Executive, Harald Behrend, said that throughout its nearly 50 years of collaboration with Mercedes-Benz Malaysia, the company has been providing exceptional service and best customer experience to its valued customers. “Today we remain as dedicated and passionate as we first started. Our strong commitment continues with this new investment in Setia Alam,” he stated. An interim facility, HSS Setia Alam embraces the Mercedes-Benz

L-R: Mark Raine, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Heinrich Schromm, Vice President, Customer Services, Dr Claus Weidner, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia President and CEO, Harald Behrend, Hap Seng Consolidated Berhad Group CEO and Chief Executive of Hap Seng Star, Sunny Tan Boon Teck, Hap Seng Star Sdn Bhd, General Manager, Passenger Cars, and Tan Chee Hock, National After Sales Director, at the launch of the MercedesBenz Hap Seng Star Setia Alam Autohaus.

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The latest Mercedes-Benz Hap Seng Star Setia Alam Autohaus.

Presentation System II (MPS II) design concept and occupies a built-up area of 10,730sq ft. Equipped with state-ofthe art facilities, the complete range of Mercedes-Benz special tools and Service Differentiation, every MercedesBenz customer can expect a seamless experience in sales, financial services and aftersales, guided by certified professionals. Able to accommodate six showroom vehicles, the dynamic, convenient and attractive facility also offers an up-close and personal experience with all their favourite Mercedes-Benz cars. In addition, the Mercedes-Benz Hap Seng Star Setia Alam Autohaus also houses a Star Lounge, taking customers’ comfort into consideration, and ultimately, delivering a holistic experience to each and every one who walks into the Autohaus. The launch of HSS Setia Alam, brings the total of Mercedes-Benz Hap Seng Star Autohauses to 11 locations across the nation, reflecting a strong and thriving partnership. Hap Seng Star’s other locations in Peninsular Malaysia include HSS Kuala Lumpur, HSS Kinrara, HSS Balakong, HSS Jalan Ipoh, HSS Bukit Tinggi Klang, HSS Puchong South, and HSS Iskandar Johor. HSS Kota Kinabalu, HSS Kuching and HSS Miri are located in East Malaysia. HSS Setia Alam is located at Lot 5, Jalan Setia Murni U13/AH, Seksyen U13, 40170 Shah Alam, Selangor.


Bata Malaysia has proven its keen initiative of expanding its business by unveiling a brand new concept store focusing solely on the kids segment of the consumers.

L-R: Tunku Dato’ Seri Nadzaruddin Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Ja’afar, Bata Malaysia Director, Roberto Longo, Bata Asia Pacific President, Dato’ Kok Wee Kiat, Bata Malaysia Director and H.C. Chan, Sunway Mall CEO.

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L-R: Ajay Ramachandran, Bata Malaysia Managing Director and Roberto Longo, Bata Asia Pacific President.

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Bata Malaysia Launches First Kids Store in Asia

ata Kids, located at First Floor, Lot F1-58, Sunway Pyramid, is the first of its kind in Asia. At the official launch recently, Bata Malaysia’s Country Manager Ajay Ramachandran said that Bata Kids brings the best of all Bata’s children offerings under one roof. “We are proud to bring this first-ofits-kind store to the country. We believe this concept store will be well-received by the public as it stands as a far more convenient option for parents. Despite the digital shift in the retail industry, traditional retail is still a lucrative venture in Malaysia and children consist of a vital part of retail sales,” he said. Bata Kids carries the finest collection of children’s footwear and accessories from brands such as BubbleGummers, Disney’s Marvel, Hello Kitty, Barbie, My Little Pony, Skechers Kids, Nike and Puma. In terms of the age range, Bata Kids caters for infants all the way up to 15-year-old children. Aside footwear, the store also carries a few selections of stationary sets as well as school bags. The flagship store has been carefully constructed to be fun and colourful which will be appealing to the children. This extends to the store’s design as well as the visual merchandising. Making kids the focal point of the business, the Bata Kids store has a designated area where children can unleash their creativity through colouring along with a variety of toys to keep them entertained.


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Redefining Beauty Standards Clara International, the brand that spells excellence and trust in the skincare and beauty world, started with a single beauty saloon in Petaling Jaya in 1977.

wo years later, Prof Datin Dr Clara Chee founded the Clara International Aesthetic College (CIAC). The industry icon then slowly grew her beauty conglomerate, which currently oversees more than 50 beauty centres in the country and thousands worldwide, via her business franchise model. Dr Clara’s interest in beauty and cosmetics took her to the UK and the US where she furthered her studies and launched her research in the field. She later attained a doctorate in cosmetics formulation and technology from the Western Pacific University in 1996. Apart from being the founding head of Clara International, she is also the Head of R&D for Best Cosmetic Laboratories and Director of Clara Beauty Products in Shenyang China. She also holds significant positions in several beauty and cosmetic companies, and is recognised as one of the top five outstanding women in Malaysia’s medicinal service industry. Through Clara International, Dr Clara formulated her own skincare range that is suited for the tropical climate. She also built cosmetic manufacturing facilities in Malaysia and China. The GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certified plants are endorsed by government bodies and have international ISO certification that seal in their quality assurance. Interestingly, the cosmetic manufacturing plants use efficient homogenising technology and machinery to produce high quality skin care products, including nanotechnology moisturisers and cleansers that offer a higher level of absorption into the skin. Combining technology and culture, Clara International’s halal-certified products are not just Muslim-friendly but are also made via sustainable manufacturing practices. Leading her team of chemists and microbiologists, Dr Clara ensures that each product

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is formulated and manufactured in superior quality and is safe before it even hits the shelves. With a sturdy track record of fourdecades of expertise, Clara International today ranks highly among top beauty brands with unmatched quality and high market acceptability thanks to their comprehensive, complete and competent business assets which is made up of their own R&D facilities, manufacturing plants, product formulations, beauty centres, academy and distributor chain. While their beauty centre provides a complete range of skin care products, therapies and treatments, Clara International uses only non-invasive methods to promote aesthetical solutions for their customers. The CIAC, Asia’s largest beauty academy, has successfully trained over 10,000 local and overseas graduates In fact, with a monthly intake, CIAC is not merely training their graduates on beauty techniques, they also take their trainees through the basics of anatomy and physiology, business

studies, various beauty and wellness treatment methodologies as well as courses on hygiene and dietary to create a wholesome graduate that will be in high demand for their expertise. By Introducing the Best Beauty Franchise to the World, the Clara International franchise today is empowering entrepreneurs worldwide by replicating their 40 years of success through a comprehensive yet comprehensible business model. Since Clara International is already an established multi-award winning brand, all marketing, advertising and promotional efforts are easily earned (and supported) and all franchisee will also get a supply of products that are exclusively manufactured at their plants for a more focussed business growth. With a start-up investment of between RM138,000 and RM200,000 – depending on the size of their business – micro franchises, franchises, joint venture licence holders and master franchise licence holders can enjoy a return on their investments within a couple of years.


Buying a property is never straightforward. This is why real estate agencies are willing to go the extra mile to inspect, evaluate, prepare and look into the purchasers’ needs and preferences to help them navigate through the property buying maze. One such agency is Chester Venture Bhd. hester Venture was set up by a team of young real estate professionals in 2006 with the aim of providing their customers with pleasant property buying and selling experience. Founded by Dato’ Howard Chew and Sean Yong, the company grew from its base in Kota Damansara to a billion-dollar firm with branch offices in Desa Sri Hartamas and Bangsar. Then it ventured out into the South Korean market with the setting up of a satellite office in Gangnam-gu, Seoul. The company, one of the few in the country with a centre providing training for staff on processes, communiqué and legality aspects, has achieved a total of RM2 billion GDV for sub-sales and projects. With a track record of over 40 projects locally and overseas, Chester Venture clinched the recent All-Star Agency Awards by StarProperty.my Real Estate Awards, ASEAN Outstanding Business Award, iProperty.com’s Outstanding Real Estate Agency of the Year (Titanium) and Global Branding Award 2016. Today the company stands tall with 17 branches and with more than 1,500 real estate negotiators nationwide. It also extends its marketing services to overseas clients through their associate partners in the UK, Hong Kong, Korea and China. It is currently in partnership with 50 public-listed developers. A minimum of three bulk purchases agreements are signed each year, including Union Suites, Emliva and Forum 2 this year. The Chester Venture Bhd’s Business Model is made up of six components, namely agencies, joint venture developments, the IT division, property investments, bulk purchase and fast commission. What differentiates Chester Venture Bhd is the attention they pay in finding the right property for their clients

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based on individuals’ needs and preferences. Upon a successful match, they would then facilitate the buying and selling process by helping their clients explore all options and offering guidance where necessary. Chester Venture Bhd is defined by its key competency, namely its marketing capabilities. Having developed a large database of clients, the real estate agency is able to work hand-in-hand with developers of any scale to match their products with qualified buyers through their Project Development and Marketing Division. Also, their Corporate Business Division looks into all types of clients’ needs regardless of the type of property they seek ranging from residential to industry and commercial. With a wide range of reputable clients from the oil and gas, telecommunication, technology and service sectors, Chester Venture Bhd ensures that its clients on both ends experience a hassle-free and rewarding experience. While Chester Venture Bhd’s

Secondary Market Division ensures that all properties are well inspected before they are matched with their clients, their Investment Division plays a huge role negotiating a winwin situation for both clients and developer. Chester Venture Bhd has also ventured into Overseas Project Development. With years of creative marketing experience, the company has successfully assisted various property developers market their products based in Thailand, Australia, Dubai, Europe, the UK and the US. The company also strikes a balance by creating a strong culture of community involvement which further cements their reputation. Its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives are sustained by the Chester Foundation. One per cent of total sales are channelled to the Foundation which focuses on growth initiatives that improves the quality of life for the differently-abled, senior citizens, orphans and animals.

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Chester Venture Bhd – The Real Deal

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OTHER INTERESTING ANNOUNCEMENTS ARE: • Services Tax for imported services

Budget 2019 –

What’s In Store For You? The government announced programmes to help boost local SMEs. n 2 November 2018, Finance Ministry Lim Guan Eng tabled the Budget 2019 in Parliament and there is a handful of financial encouragement for Malaysian SMEs. A RM4.5-billion SME Loan Fund with a 60% guarantee from Skim Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan, including RM1 billion for bumiputera SMEs is set aside. In addition, corporate income tax rate for taxable income of up to RM500,000 and SMEs with paid-up capital of less than RM2.5 million is reduced from 18% to 17%. SMEs are to receive some RM2 billion worth of credit and takaful facilities for exports, via EXIM Bank. And RM1 billion SME Syariahcompliant Financing Scheme will be made available via Islamic financial institutions where the government will provide a subsidy of 2% profit rate. In response, SME Corp Malaysia commended Budget 2019 for its

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broad-based approach and supportive of SMEs. The Star reported SME Corp as saying the SME development allocation in the Budget next year was very much welcomed as a further boost, especially in the areas of access to financing which would continue to be given an important emphasis, export promotion, entrepreneurship and various programmes under the SME Masterplan. SME Corp added the estimated allocation of RM17.94 billion for SME development across all economic sectors was expected to generate an additional RM3.8 billion of SME-value added in 2019, which is an increase of 0.3 percentage point in share of SME GDP to total GDP. According to the SME Annual Report 2017/18, SMEs contributed RM435.1 billion to the economy in 2017, with a higher GDP growth of 7.2% against 5.2% in 2016. As a result, contribution of SMEs to GDP stands at 37.1% in 2017, with overall employment at 66% and total exports at 17.3%.

(beginning January 2019) and imported online services (beginning January 2020) • Petrol subsidies to end • Real Property Gains Tax raised from 5% to 10% for companies • RM210 million (2019 to 2021) to support transition to Industry 4.0. Malaysian Productivity Corporation to help first 500 SMEs to undertake readiness assessment for such migration • RM2 billion under the Business Loan Guarantee Scheme to support SMEs investing in automation, with guarantees up to 70% • RM3 billion for the Industry Digitalisation Transformation Fund at subsidised 2% interest rate to support adoption of smart technology • Pioneer status (70%) or investment allowance (60%) for five years for companies producing environmentfriendly plastics • Public-listed companies to disclose key pay metrics in annual reports, including average wage per worker, lowest wage paid and highest-lowest wage ratio • Tax exemption on donations to upgrade infrastructure at national schools and public institutions of higher learning • RM100 million for reconstruction of dilapidated schools via public-private partnerships • Tax relief for companies that help pay off the remaining PTPTN loans of their employees for the year ending 2019 • Mandatory EPF contribution by employers reduced from 6% to 4% beginning January 2019 for employees aged over 60 • Employers hiring workers over 60 to get additional tax deduction up to RM4,000 monthly pay to promote employment of elderly • RM20 million matching grant for apprenticeship and graduate enhancement programmes to boost employability of 4,000 youths • RM1.5 billion for the development of affordable homes • RM1 billion fund to help first-time homebuyers (monthly income of less than RM2,300) buy homes costing less than RM150,000 • Rehda agreed to reduce house prices by 10% for non-price-controlled units


Around the World with Apple Vacations pple Vacations started off as a travel agency in 1996 handling inbound and outbound tour packages. Founded by Group Executive Chairman Dato’ Sri Lee Ee Hoe JP and Group Managing Director Dato’ Sri Koh Yock Heng, the company is always on a mission to innovate interesting tour packages that provide customers with unique adventures. Whether it’s an exotic location, a tourist attraction or a road less travelled, the travel agency provides end-to-end solutions and valuefor-money packages. From managing eccentric travel tastes to handling demanding customer services, Apple Vacations also puts its heart and soul into managing their customers to keep them coming back for more. With their own building in Jalan Sultan Ismail, and branch offices in Singapore, Jakarta and Tokyo, the company continues to stay on the forefront of the tour and travel industry with every step that they make. Dato’ Sri Lee, fondly known as Leesan, did not want to offer the same conventional tour packages provided by other agents so he made personal trips to each of his intended itineraries to draw up detailed plans that would excite travellers. This explains why Apple Vacations is well known for its Thematic and In-depth Tours that offer customers a refreshing insight into the places they visit, including opportunities to mingle and experience their desired tour, like a local. Needless to say, the concept became an instant hit as soon as it was introduced. While other travel agents work hard to squeeze all the touristy destinations and popular attractions into one itinerary – which leaves customers dazed and exhausted from a cluttered schedule – Apple’s vacationers are taking leisurely strolls and at times, getting engrossed in local activities. From basking in Norway’s midnight sun

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to watching the mesmerising Sakura bloom in Japan, Apple Vacations makes every moment count, in their own special way. Besides the Thematic and In-depth Tours, Apple Vacations has innovative products and services such as Trip to the North and South Poles, Antartica tours, world’s longest train ride via the Trans-Siberian and authentic Muslim packages. They also cater to the MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) market as well as those who simply enjoy a Free and Easy journey to and at their preferred destinations. Their Japan Tours are a different game altogether as Apple Vacations manage their own tour and travel arrangements from chartering multiple flights to transporting huge groups of people to enjoy all things Japanese. All if not most of their Japan, Hong Kong and China tours are fully booked in advance due to the unique tour approaches and excellent customer service rendered by the company. Apple Vacations has sailed through many rough seas starting with the onset of the Asian economic crisis to the emergence of budget airlines and Internet booking which encouraged more travellers to do their own research and fix their own itineraries and travel arrangements. But the travel agency always returns with an innovative bang. Apple

Vacations invests in innovative tour packages that cover the whole world. Their products are strikingly different from what’s in the market because the tour agency wants to give their customers a travellers’ experience instead of a tourist’s. Apple Vacations not only embraced the idea of online booking, they also got the digital age to work in favour for them by changing their servers to include a new backend B2B2C system, for faster and effective communication between employees as well as customers. Using SEOs, Apple Vacations capture trends and increase brand awareness while the Apple Vacations App, launched in 2017, created a multitasking platform that enabled their employees to have quick access to information and travel deals to sell their packages. Besides free gifts, vouchers and exciting discounts, Apple Vacations has also introduced the Apple ONE CLUB which is accessible through their business app. Here customers can collect points, redeem and check their balances hassle-free. Customers are also exposed to new and current destination promotions via the Apple Asia, Apple West, Apple Japan, Apple MICE, Apple B2B, Apple Cruise and FIT features in the app. Today, Apple Vacations has a staff strength of 500 regionally and a team of 100 tour professionals with an annual turnover of RM1 billion.

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Loob Holding Contemporises F&B Scene With homegrown brands like Tealive and other international franchises under its wings, Loob Holding is a success story in the F&B industry. ryan Loo, a young and aspiring entrepreneur, wanted to make his mark in the local F&B industry when he first travelled to Taiwan and brought their bubble tea culture to Malaysia in 2010. Through his local start-up company Loob Holding Sdn Bhd, the CEO caught the beverage market by its horns, and experienced exponential growth within a short period of time, during which he also introduced a range of exclusive F&B brands parked under the Loob umbrella. With bigger dreams set on the horizon, Loo led a complete rebranding exercise and introduced Tealive early. Tealive quickly became the company’s anchor brand with 200 stores nationwide, with room still to grow. Loo turned all uncertainties, hardships and roadblocks on his path into opportunities that led to the success of homegrown brands like Tealive, llaollao and Define:food. Today, Tealive and the other brands under the company are found at almost all major malls and selected petrol stations in Malaysia. The Loob Holding that we see today is a proud owner of nine brands, with a market base of 3 million customers per month. Besides a local expansion plan, Loob is thrilled at the idea of tapping into the international market, especially after opening their first overseas Tealive outlets in Vietnam and Australia. They have also signed agreements to open hundreds of outlets across China and India. Bryan and his team (more affectionately known as Loobies) look for inspiration through their travels

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or research, and then hash it out at their monthly game-changer meetings to discuss and build strategies that will further enhance their business. This is followed by extensive research and development. Since the F&B industry is fastpaced, Loob makes it a point to keep up with market trends in order to stay relevant. Thanks to their young and creative talent base, Loob has managed to introduce some of the most exciting brands and creative campaigns to drive their fast-service F&B business. Besides Tealive with over 70 delicious beverages on their menu, Define:food is another homegrown brand that presents a contemporary European dining experience. Loob is also a franchisee of two popular Japanese brands – Croissant Taiyaki, a FrenchJapanese hybrid dessert and Gindaco,

Japan’s No.1 Premium Takoyaki snack. Besides that, Loob is also home to llaollao, a popular Spanish frozen yogurt brand. These brands have collectively contributed to various awards and accolades that further cement Loob Holding’s reputation as an excellent F&B marketing company. Among these include a string of titles won at the Marketing Excellence Awards in 2017 such as Excellence in Marketing Innovation; Excellence in Brand Strategy; Excellence in Marketing Communications/PR and Excellence in Content Marketing/Native Advertising/ Branded Content. Last year, the company was also conferred as one of Asia’s Best Employer Brands. According to Loo, while these accolades add value to the brand, it takes plenty of awareness, creativity and innovation to advance the business. The name Loob signifies the culture of ‘Looking Out of the Box’, and their team of Loobies are constantly looking for newer ideas and innovative concepts that they can blend into their offerings. The introduction of the bubble milk tea beverage via fast-service kiosks was one such concept that caught on like wild fire. It catered to the lifestyle of the millennial and influenced the lifestyle of mature consumers. Backed by teamwork, passion and entrepreneurial spirit, Loob makes an effort to achieve innovative ideas and empower its talent through a rewarding career. The company remains steadfast on its mission to be the leading lifestyle tea player with 1,000 stores in 15 countries, across four key continents by the year 2020.


LG Electronics is a leader in digital display solutions and its signage uses advanced technologies to drive customers’ message forward.

here’s no running away from incorporating technology into businesses in the 21st century and the rise of the millennials is changing the way retail is attracting customers. They are a techsavvy generation for whom the Internet and smart phones are indispensable items. To attract this growing and influential crowd, retailers must look for a more personalised shopping experience that will seamlessly integrate both the online and offline shopping environments. Studies done in the US show that this age group (which is moving into its prime spending age) is expected to represent 30% of total retail sales in the US by 2020. Courting a young, tech-savvy group of consumers, requires retailers to incorporate suitable digital solutions into their stores or risk losing them as customers. This is where the digital signage comes in. Widely used in many commercial and public spaces such as airports, stations, museums, stadiums, retail stores, hotels and restaurants, a digital signage gives up-to-date information in an attractive way. Retail business owners have quickly realised the potential of having digital signage. It has many benefits such as improving the visibility of the store and its products, making it easy to upsell and promote items, enabling effortless content management and immediate changes as needed. One of the first segments of retail that latched on to the advantages of digital signage is the quick service restaurants (QSR). Today, they are among the major uses of digital signage. Digital signage uses digital display and screens to display content, such as images, videos, streaming media, and information in public places for informational or advertising purposes. For restaurants, the digital signage

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applications which are in demand include drive-through displays, menu boards, promotional displays and infotainment displays. LG Electronics, which employs about 83,000 executives and employees worldwide, uses advanced technologies to drive customers’ message forward while its state-of-the-art research department delves deeply into design and research, and works towards the company’s vision of becoming a “Digital Life Creator”. Whether it is for QSR or other retail owners, LG leads the way in digital signage with its total digital display solution with a digital signage to fulfil its customers’ every needs - ranging from outdoor touch screens to video walls. The displays can be integrated to the point of sale (POS) system to display up-to-date stock information and promotions. Visual content also keeps customers entertained while they wait. Digital signage makes restaurant management easier and creates a contemporary atmosphere that customers enjoy. The all-in-one LG Digital Signage Solution answers the needs of both the QSR businesses and customers with

several products for different POS of a restaurant. For example, if the QSR is at the counter zone, the self-servicing kiosk can have menu boards that change with new promotional items. LG’s drive-through and outdoor displays create a visible presence for the restaurant while in-store, the promotional display (video wall) and entertainment (touchscreen) offering tonnes of info. As technology evolves, the LG Digital Signage Solution will continue to push the boundaries in terms of what is possible for digital signage in all retail segments. According to the International Data Corporation the use of digital signs in retail outlets is expected to grow from US$6 billion in 2013 to US$27.5 billion in 2018, at 35.7% annual growth rate. Meanwhile, it reports that nearly 82% of companies currently using digital signage are “very satisfied” with the technology.

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Maison Berger Paris-Malaysia Creates a Scentsational Market Maison Berger Paris’ beginnings in Malaysia can be traced to Dato’ Julie Lim, the owner of Jubilant Prestige Sdn Bhd and sole distributor of Lampe Berger in Malaysia. Dato’ Julie discovered the brand through a multilevel marketing (MLM) scheme, and purchases the products for her personal use. he entrepreneur – who was already making waves in the retail industry with her French boutique of 25 years, the House of Tatiana – took over the brand’s distributorship just as the MLM contract with Lampe Berger ended in 2012. She started a standalone store concept which set a precedent for other Lampe Berger dealers around the world. Jubilant Prestige today owns about 19 outlets at major shopping malls in Malaysia and Brunei. The company imports, promotes, markets and sells Lampe Berger products, and aim to have another store by end 2018. The Lampe Berger products are of par excellence with an impressive 120 years of history. The original Lampe Berger fragrance lamp known as The Universelle, was created by the French master Maurice Berger, a pharmaceutical assistant in 1898, to purify hospital bedrooms and keep them aseptic. The uniqueness of Lampe Berger lies in its details. Besides taking 18 months to create a single lamp, the home fragrance maker has specialised R&D and marketing units constantly developing new innovations and new market segments. A favourite among celebrities and the affluent, Lampe Berger created over 10,000 fragrance lamps that serve not just as exquisite decorative pieces but also as air purifiers through the science of catalytic combustion. By filling a lamp with the Maison de Berger parfum of choice, before securing and lighting the burner, it diffuses refreshing fragrance once the flame is blown out, lacing the living space with a pleasant aroma for hours, only after 20 minutes of diffusion. The heat from the burner oxidises air molecules and prevents them from recombining. All types of odour, ranging

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from tobacco, food, pets, sweat and more are instantly eliminated as the diffuser works its magic. In conjunction with its 120th anniversary, Lampe Berger made a 180-degrees strategy change by rebranding itself as Maison Berger Paris in 2018 and transforming the company from an SME to a thriving intermediate enterprise. While Maison Berger acts as the parent company, Lampe Berger remains as a primary product brand to preserve its rich heritage. Lampe Berger’s home fragrance range in Malaysia has over 50 types of fragrances across eight olfactory groups ranging from sweet floral essence and fruity passion to dreamy aromas that excite the senses. Using quality isopropyl alcohol, RO water and perfume concentrates, each Lampe Berger lamp goes through extensive lab and quality assurance testing, thus the longer time frame of production. With the rebranding, comes a range of new innovation such as The Scented Bouquets, which comes in the form

of lacquered glass cubes with diffuser reeds, ceramic rose and lily bottles as well as the Scented Candles collections with patented molecular Odour neutralising properties. What’s more prominent are collections that can become an alternative solution to health and lifestyle related problems as the Lampe Berger collections create an environment that calms the body, relaxes the mind, encourages a peaceful sleep, reduces breathing difficulties and keeps mosquitoes, mites and insects at bay. With delicate taste and multifunctional solutions, Jubilant Prestige is more than delighted to be fronting the home fragrance market in Malaysia, offering the same range of products that are packaged to serve the multilayered Malaysian retail segment. Targeting a monthly gross income of up to RM100,000 per outlet and 10% annual increase in sales, Jubilant Prestige forges ahead in full speed by marketing competitive and strategically priced products that offer more value than meets the eye.


The founders of Jaya Grocer have a long history of running family-owned businesses that go on to become legends.

aya Grocer traces its history to Teng Sek How who opened a sundry shop in Sentul in 1942. He eventually relocated to Kampong Ikan, Bangsar, where his business boomed. He later opened a new outlet called Teng Mini-Market Centre, better known as TMC, in nearby Lucky Gardens in the 1960s. TMC became a landmark in Bangsar as a supermarket which stocked quality imported goods and as a place where one could get almost anything. The Teng family also founded supermarket chain Giant Hypermarket which they sold to a foreign retail group in 1999. In 2008 the Teng family returned to the urban grocery business with the opening of Jaya Grocer at Jaya 33 in Petaling Jaya. The family noticed that there was a growing segment of affluent Malaysians who had lived and studied overseas, and were looking for the food items that they had enjoyed abroad. Malaysians are also more open to trying out imported food because of their exposure to foreign cuisines via the television and the Internet. The expats and the foreigners in Malaysia were also looking for food items that they were familiar with from back home.

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Thus, Jaya Grocer was born to cater to all these groups and to give Malaysian grocery shoppers a wide variety of quality and imported food ingredients to choose from. The supermarket was a huge hit. Shoppers loved the freshness of the products and the wide selection of organic and imported food items. There was also an excellent selection of fresh seafood, poultry, vegetables and fruit. This is not surprising as Jaya Grocer prioritises freshness and the quality of its products to ensure their customers get only the best. Jaya Grocer believes that the customer’s satisfaction and service make them stronger and better. The huge success of the first outlet of Jaya Grocer was proof that the supermarket had the right strategy and that it was serving a segment of shoppers whose needs were not being fulfilled by existing supermarkets. Within 10 years of the opening of its first outlet, Jaya Grocer has now grown to 25 outlets. Each location is carefully chosen, keeping in mind the shopping habits of consumers in each neighbourhood. Jaya Grocer outlets are mainly in the Klang Valley but it has also begun to venture into other states. The first outlet outside the Klang Valley opened in Sunway Iskandar Citrine Hub

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Jaya Grocer Finds Success In A Niche

in Johor, in January 2018. Meanwhile, the first Jaya Grocer outlet in the north opened at Gurney Paragon Mall, Penang, on October 2018. Jaya Grocer opened the Bangsar Market in Kuala Lumpur Eco City Mall (KLEC), which is a different format from its Jaya Grocer outlets. The Bangsar Market is touted as one of the largest “urban fresh market” in the country. Bangsar Market by Jaya Grocer brings back the feeling of shopping in a fresh wet market without the messy conditions of the wet market of the old. The Bangsar Market is clean and well laid out to meet the discerning demands of the sophisticated modern day shoppers in the city. Jaya Grocer runs a very successful online delivery service as well. The idea for this service grew out of the realisation that there were many consumers with a hectic city lifestyle who could not spare the time to come to the physical store to shop. Its delivery service promises same day delivery with the quickest delivery time being within two hours. Other attractive features of its online delivery service are the low fee for delivery. Also prices of the items remain the same as in store including promotional items. Jaya Grocer plans to gradually expand its coverage of delivery service to more areas around the Klang Valley beginning with its Pearl Point Outlet in Jalan Klang Lama. It also plans to set up a new distribution centre in Puchong that will help improve supply chain management. Online delivery service (www. jayagrocer.com) kicked off in 2016 and it has proven to be a huge hit with customers. It has since grown by 30 per cent.


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Liven Up Your Space with Ammolite Furniture Taking on a promise to design, build and deliver top notch interior products and services, the leading design and build contractor is gearing up for regional success. mmolite is Malaysia’s leading interior design specialist that plans, builds, supplies and installs furnishing and fixtures for corporate clients. Established in 2013, Ammolite also customises and supplies furniture to apartments, hotels, corporate companies and institutions. Building a portfolio was no mean feat for Ammolite whose overall business and strategic directions are managed by Executive Chairman and CEO Dato’ Tay Sim Kim. Dato’ Tay’s intricate leadership style has steered the business through its tough initial stages to where it stands today. Their achievements include the completion of several high-end projects for award-winning strata development as well as outstanding hotel refurbishment work that has transformed the surrounding environment into a bustling commercial zone, such as that done for Sunway Putra Mall. Dato’ Tay, who also wears many distinguished hats including that of Chairman of OSIM (M) Sdn Bhd; Lifetime Honorary President of Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA), Founder of MRCA Branding Education Charity

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Foundation, and Treasurer and Council Member of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, is a high-spirited entrepreneur himself who actively shares and exchanges business ideas with the retail chain to retain healthy competition and grow his business. With his illustrious career and direction, Ammolite today has built a reputation for itself as one of the best in the business. With their core business focused on furnishings and fixtures, it is only right that Ammolite is also known as Malaysia’s leading kitchen and wardrobe specialist. The recognition that they have received over their kitchen cabinetry works had paved the way for them to acquire sole distributorship of Goldenhome Kitchen products and services in Malaysia and Singapore as means to provide extended services to their corporate and retail clients. Goldenhome Kitchen is China’s leading manufacturer of eco-friendly kitchen cabinets with a global presence of 1,500 retail stores across the US, Australia, Middle East and Southeast

Asia. With more than 19 years of experience in the cabinetry market, Goldenhome Kitchen is also an awardwinning kitchen cabinet maker that promotes products with exceptional functionality and design. It is also made through sustainable practices using ecofriendly material that create a healthy living environment. Researched and designed by Italian designer Matthias Pareschi and Chief Technical Adviser Erwin Wacker from Germany Association of Modern Kitchen, Goldenhome Kitchen products offer luxury, convenience and quality at a great value. The cabinets are manufactured with E1 European standard particle boards that have low formaldehyde materials and provide a longer durability and impressive design options that are to turn heads. Their C3 series, for instance, has set an industry benchmark with its remarkable design and quality. Besides the C3, other best-selling cabinets are finished with AkzoNobel™ paints and coatings – used by BMW for its cars – creating a long-lasting metallic gloss or matt finishing that beautifies any kitchen space. With an impressive 7,000 sq ft gallery in Glenmarie, Shah Alam, Goldenhome Kitchen has set base as one of the largest kitchen cabinet show galleries in Malaysia. Budgeting a capital expenditure of up to RM20 million for the next five years, Dato’ Tay’s immediate expansion plan for Goldenhome Kitchen products covers the Singapore market first before they head on to neighbouring states. The premium brand will also collaborate with developers, interior firms, designers and talented individuals locally and regionally, to expand their market share and eventually take on the top spot in the kitchen cabinetry segment.


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Mpire Auto Group Takes The Road Less Travelled With many car dealers seeking business opportunities and new ones springing up often, it takes more than competitive pricing to remain successful in the industry. One such success story is that of Mpire Auto Group. pire Auto Group is a distributor of commercial vehicle brands, dealership and car rental and limousine services. Starting off in the automotive industry in 2004 as a Hyundai Sales Dealer, Mpire’s founder Dato’ Billy Goh’s biggest challenge was his youthful age. He started the business when he was only 22 and had to overcome the challenge of handling a team that was more experienced and older than him while facing tremendous pressure to create trust among his distributors, bankers and customers. This, however, proved to be an advantage. Dato’ Billy was innovative and Mpire secured a major breakthrough by creating a vacuum market as a result of understanding market and customers’ needs and behaviours. Vacuum market allows customers to gain great value for money by purchasing automotive products at a lower price without compromising on quality and service. Leveraging on this model, Mpire was able to secure a 30% market share for their Hyundai car sales through its subsidiary One Auto Marketing Sdn Bhd. Today, it is the largest Hyundai dealership group with seven showrooms nationwide. To create an advantage, Mpire made it its mission to ‘Create the Best Value

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for Money’ by enabling their customers to save despite their priced purchases. In the past three years, the company has saved consumers more than RM30 million through their unique Bulk Purchase concept. Through this model, the auto group makes a bulk purchase on certain car models or brands at a lower price, allowing them to offer better rates. All this with first-class treatment and services that they would receive when they purchase from home dealers. Mpire currently distributes top brands such as Foton, China’s largest commercial brand which features 4x4 Pick Up, Panel Van and Window Van as well as heavily commercialised Prime Movers under FotonDaimler, a joint venture brand of Foton and Daimler. The commercial brand vehicles are distributed by Mpire Asia Sdn Bhd while the JV brand is placed under Mpire Commercial Sdn Bhd. Another subsidiary, Mpire Jac Sdn Bhd, distributes JAC vehicles, China’s largest light truck brand which includes autos such 4x4 Pick Up, 1, 3 and 5-tonne light trucks. Besides the above, they are also able to offer competitively priced vehicles from top Japanese and European brands. Meanwhile, as the nation’s largest Hyundai dealer, One Auto has strategic business coverage in Central, Northern

and Southern Malaysia while Mpire Limousines and Tour Sdn Bhd manages car rental and limo services. Mpire also actively engages its consumers online such as on Mudah. com, carlist.com and a host of social media channels, in order to achieve higher visibility and build brand image. Today some 30% of their sales originate via online channels. Quality and pricing alone are not the only factors that drive business in today’s landscape. For Mpire, it is crucial to build a strong and reliable sales network and support divisions. Mpire is also finding ways to expand their business to include other aspects that would make the auto company a wholesome automotive dealer. Having moved up the value chain through their strategic business expansions Mpire has also paved its way into vehicle leasing. Apart from this, the company offers credit lending services as well to offer a more holistic service to their customers. Plans are in the pipeline to set up a local assembly plant that will turn Mpire into a complete automotive ecosystem, securing its business from end to end.

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Maserati’s 2019 Levante S Is Now In Malaysia Maserati’s successful SUV, Levante, is now available in Malaysia as an updated 2019 version with new contents that enhance its “Gran Turismo” character and set the Levante at the top of its class in terms of performance, driving dynamics and exclusivity. or the Malaysian market, Naza Italia, the official importer and distributor for Maserati, is offering the petrol-powered Maserati Levante S with GranSport and GranLusso trims. The new range introduces a highend interpretation of the Levante. Enhancements made in the Levante S include the adoption of a redesigned gearshift lever with shorter travel and improved operation. The GranSport trim presents a distinct styling theme with new front and rear bumpers that were inspired by the Levante GTS and Trofeo. For the Malaysian market, the Levante S version features 21-inch Helios wheels and a High Glass Metal Weave interior trim. SM Nasarudin Tan Sri SM Nasimuddin, Group Executive Chairman of NAZA Corporation Holdings Sdn Bhd said, “Following Maserati’s entry into the SUV segment, the Levante has exceeded expectations and continues to be a leader in its class. Whether customers opt for the luxury-oriented GranLusso trim or the sport-oriented GranSport trim, the Levante S promises them a first-class environment.” The SUV still features a forceful 430hp 3-litre twin turbo V6 engine. Designed by Maserati Powertrain in cooperation with Ferrari, the engine is manufactured by Ferrari in Maranello and is both powerful and eco-friendly, thanks to the Auto Start-Stop function.

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The V6 engine’s specific torque of 194 Nm per litre is the best in the luxury SUV class, as is its specific power (144hp/l). The Levante S accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds and has a top speed of 264 km/h. The design concept of the Levante combines coupé lines with interior space for five people and exceptional aerodynamic efficiency. In the newly enhanced Levante S, the design has reached new levels of sportiness with the restyling of the GranSport exterior. Alongside the sportier bumpers, the GranSport exterior is also discernible for the front and rear Black Piano inserts, the GranSport badges on the front fenders, the red brake calipers and the 21-inch Helios wheels. While the exterior of the baseline V6 versions remains the same, the characteristic features of the luxury-oriented GranLusso trim are elegant chrome inserts in the front fascia, chrome front/rear skid plates, body colour rear spoiler, silver-painted brake calipers, 21-inch Helios alloy wheels and GranLusso badges on the fenders. The new Levante S is fitted with a new gearshift lever for the eightspeed ZF automatic gearbox used on all Levante versions. The redesigned component features an intuitive, dual lane shift pattern providing shorter travel and improved functionality. The driver has the option to use the gearbox in either automatic or manual mode

simply by shifting the lever from right to left, while a new ‘P’ button on top sets the transmission in parking mode. The selectable modes are Off-Road, ICE (Increased Control and Efficiency) and Sport. The eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox ensures exceptional comfort, low fuel consumption and reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). By default, the car is set to Auto Normal mode, which offers the right balance between ride comfort, reduced consumption and sportiness, performing smooth gear changes at low engine speeds. The 2019 Levante S is priced at RM 788,800.00 (inclusive of local taxes and duties) and includes three years Standard Warranty coverage with no mileage restriction plus a *Maserati Premium Service Plus of three years/60,000 km whichever comes first. To view and test drive, visit Naza Italia’s showroom in Petaling Jaya. Follow @maserati.malaysia (Instagram) and www.facebook/maserati.malaysia for the brand’s latest updates.


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Only The Best From Madam Kwan Giving Malaysians and foreigners a true taste of Malaysian food that’s as good as what is served in hawker stalls but presented in a classy air conditioned restaurant. wan Swee Lian, better known as Madam Kwan, ventured into the food business in 1977. She ran the legendary Sakura Cafe on Jalan Imbi where customers were served food on luxury tableware atop glass tables. This was only seen in high-end hotels. The restaurant was a huge hit. Although she sold her restaurant in the 1990s, Madam Kwan couldn’t keep herself from the kitchen. Her youngest son, Datuk Rudy Foo and wife Datin Maureen Ooi, under their company Suez Top Ventures Sdn Bhd, opened a restaurant in Bangsar using Madam Kwan’s signature recipes in the menu in 1999. It was an instant hit. The restaurant was also a tribute to Madam Kwan and to her years of experience in the food business. It gave customers a true taste of Malaysian food that’s as good as what is served in hawker stalls but presented in a classy air conditioned restaurant. There are currently eight Madam Kwan’s in Klang Valley and one outlet at Sky Avenue, Genting. Despite being in business for 19 years, the food

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quality in Madam Kwan’s restaurants is consistently high, thanks to the founder’s insistence on using top quality ingredients and following a time honoured way of cooking the dishes using Madam Kwan’s way. The dishes offered in the restaurant are from her personal collection of recipes. She was also involved in how the food was prepared so that it met her exacting standards. Madam Kwan oversees the making of some dishes and sauces till today. Every day from 5am to 9am she is in the central kitchen overseeing the preparation of the ingredients used in making the dishes. The chilli paste, used as the base for many of the dishes in Madam Kwan’s, is unique because it’s made from scratch. As Madam Kwan insists that the chilli paste be prepared the traditional way using a stone grinder, a special machine was created to replicate the pounding method for the dried chillies. One of the most famous and must-have dishes in Madam Kwan’s is the nasi lemak typically served with her famous chicken curry. She

created her version of the dish in her old restaurant. She tried it many times until she found the perfect way of creating the nasi lemak. For the chicken curry she blends the spices herself to make it into a wet curry paste. For every Malaysian dish offered in her restaurant, she gives them a distinctive flavour, thanks to her own formulation of her unique sauces. Although nearly all of Madam Kwan’s dishes have their own fan bases, the two dishes most popular in Madam Kwan’s are the beef rendang and nasi lemak. Of these, the nasi lemak is the crowd favourite. In fact Madam Kwan is known as the Queen of Nasi Lemak. The dish clinched the Best Nasi Lemak award by Tourism Malaysia in 2010. Suez Top Ventures Sdn Bhd, meanwhile, is eyeing the overseas market as it believes the next step for the company is to share the cuisine with the rest of the word. Learn more about Kwan Swee Lian, Madam Kwan’s and Malaysian cuisine at facebook.com/ madamkwans

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MRCA Charity Visit to Pang Khong Kiem’s House Last December, Datin Flora Tan, Chairperson of MRCA’s CSR projects, together with some members of MRCA visited the home of Pang Khong Kiem in Taman Chembong Jaya, Rembau in Negeri Sembilan. The team donated a total of RM1,034.30 in cash and groceries to support Pang and his family. This included RM500 cash as ang pow to Pang. They spent about four hours with Pang and his family.

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BUILDING MORE THAN HOUSING

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Tan Sri Dr. Lim Wee Chai, Chairman and Founder of Top Glove Group of Companies

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TENACIOUS YOUNG GUN

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MK Curtain Berhad Founder and Group Managing Director Dato’ Calvin Khiu

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PAVING THE WAY FOR INDUSTRY 4.0 Dato’ Vignaesvaran Jeyandran, Chief Executive of HRDF

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The new and improved MALAYSIA RETAILER highlights, informs and introduces readers to trends and strategies within the retail, franchising and branding disciplines. The quarterly magazine also features a mix of articles, including personality and company profiles, success stories, and general reports relevant to the three disciplines.

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MRCA-KPDNKK Charity Run 2016

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Establishing a Southern Chapter & Realising Expansion Plans

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MRCA 24th Anniversary & Crown Awards Winners

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Group photos with the residents of Rumah Sejahtera Bentong.

Giving Back To Society This CNY

Group photo with some of the residents of Lutheran Care Home.

Close to 10 years ago the Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) under the leadership of past President Dato’ Tay Sim Kim created the MRCA Branding Education Charity Foundation. Some RM1 million in funds were raised for this. With this initial fund, the MRCA started to work on giving back to society by visiting and donating to the underprivileged during the main festive seasons, namely Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali and Christmas. Over the years this has become one of foundation’s main projects. Recently, in conjunction with the Chinese New Year festival, the MRCA Branding Education Charity Foundation organised a visit to two old folks’ homes namely the Lutheran Care Home and Rumah Sejahtera Bentong. Some 50 old folks received ang pows, goodies and other necessities. MRCA hopes that through this small gesture, the old folks will feel cared for and loved. Datuk Albert Chiang, Chairman of the foundation, Datuk Seri Garry Chua, MRCA President, Dato’ Tay Sim Kim, founder Chairman of the foundation together with the organising Chairperson Datin Flora Tan, MRCA exco members, council members, youth members and regular members attended the event. The MRCA Branding Education Charity Foundation and its members donated a total of RM13,000 worth of cash, groceries, gift sets, goodie bags and clothes storage drawers. The team would also want to thank GoodMorning Global Sdn Bhd and Paragon Vest Sdn Bhd for generously donating goodie bags and T-shirts respectively. The foundation hopes that the event will spark awareness among its members on the needs of the less fortunate and to be grateful for their blessings.

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MRCA Christmas Party About 100 members of MRCA attended the Christmas party in December at the Raintree Bar & Restaurant at Jalan Sentral, Kuala Lumpur. The party was attended by MRCA President Datuk Seri Garry Chua, Vice Presidents Dato’ Liew Bin, Valerie Choo and Shirley Tay, Secretary General Ken Phua, Deputy Treasurer General Dato’ Winnie Lim, Board Advisor Dato’ Jennifer Low, Legal Advisor Dato’ Manjit Singh, Council members Datin Flora Tan and Raymond Woo, MRCA Youth President Nicholas Chong and MRCA members. Everyone was treated to a sumptuous buffet dinner followed by lots of entertainment and singing sessions with Ken Phua on the keyboard.

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MRCA Christmas Charity Celebration for 115 Underprivileged Children The MRCA Branding Education Charity Foundation organised a Christmas celebration in December at One City Mall for 115 underprivileged children and teenagers from Pertubuhan Perkhidmatan Sosial dan Pembangunan Komuniti (PSPK) Daerah Gombak, Selangor (Association of Social Services and Community Development of Gombak District, Selangor). The children had a great time with performances, best dressed contest, games and lunch. Each of them received a goodie bag, mini hamper and ang pow. The celebration was attended by Datuk Albert Chiang, Founder Chairman of MRCA Foundation, Datuk Seri Garry

Chua, MRCA President together with Organising Chairlady, Datin Flora Tan, MRCA Exco members, Council members, Youth members and members. The Foundation, set up in 2010, gives back to the society through visitations and donations to charitable homes during Malaysia’s main festive seasons such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali and Christmas. Henry Sandanam, Chairman of PSPK Gombak, said the children are mainly from families living in the low-income bracket and their parents do not have the financial means to support their families. PSPK guides the children through mentorship by building their character to help them become worthy citizens. The Foundation, MRCA members and sponsors donated a total of RM25,000 in cash, groceries, mini hampers, ang pow, goodie bags, prizes and F&B during the visitation. The generous donors and sponsors were: Venue: e.City Hotel Sdn Bhd

Cash (total RM5,000): TimeTec Computing, Hap Seng Star, Datuk Albert Chiang, Focus Point Holdings Berhad, Ken Phua, Brian Tham, MRCA Councils and Youth members F&B: MyZSM, Marrybrown, Big Onion Food Caterer, Transtel Technology and Siff Develpment Goods: Sunshine Kingdom Sdn Bhd, In & Ex Holdings Sdn Bhd and Good Morning Global Sdn Bhd Through the donations and celebration, the Foundation hopes to promote awareness among the public about helping the less fortunate.

Malaysia Retailer Vol 7 No 1


40 Official opening of the new office of Sunrider International Sdn Bhd on Jalan Ampang.

President’s Activities and Officiating Members’ Events Official launch of HA LABO, Hair and Scalp Management, in MidValley Megamall.

The Kuala Lumpur Assembly Hall’s 15th Anniversary and Committee Dinner.

MRCA Youth Christmas Party at KL Gateway, Bangsar South.

Grand opening of Chakri Palace Skyview and Raintree Sky Lounge at Dorsett Hartamas Hotel by YB Khalid Abdul Samad, Minister of Federal Territories.

Official opening of KK Super Mart at One City Mall, Subang Jaya.

Malaysia Retailer Vol 7 No 1


Date: Nov 22nd Venue: Sunsuria Forum @7th Avenue Hosted by: Sunsuria Bhd

JANUARY 2019 Date: Jan 30th Venue: New World Petaling Jaya Hotel Hosted by: Time dotCom Bhd

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MEMBERSHIP UPDATE Category Total Ordinary 251 Associate 212 Affiliate 17 Total 480

Monthly Meeting

NOVEMBER 2018

MEMBERSHIP UPDATE Category Total Ordinary 255 Associate 214 Affiliate 17 Total 486

Malaysia Retailer Vol 6 No 4


RCA M42 Feature

MRCA NEWS THAT APPEARED IN THE MEDIA RECENTLY

Malaysia Retailer Vol 7 No 1


2019 EVENTS

CALENDAR MARCH 21 FEBRUARY 28 CHINESE NEW YEAR BANQUET DINNER

AGM & 5TH COUNCIL MEETING

TAIPEI INTERNATIONAL CHAIN & FRANCHISE SPRING EXPO

TBC

TAIPEI, TAIWAN

SUNWAY RESORT

APRIL 25 MONTHLY MEETING

APRIL 12-15

MAY 16 MONTHLY MEETING MAY 28 HARI RAYA CHARITY VISITATION

JUNE 20 MONTHLY MEETING

AUGUST 22 MONTHLY MEETING

JUNE 26 6TH COUNCIL MEETING

JULY 17 RETAIL CONFERENCE KL CONVENTION CENTRE

SEPTEMBER 11 MEDIA ENGAGEMENT

SEPTEMBER 25 MONTHLY MEETING

JULY 18-20 MIRF 2019 KL CONVENTION CENTRE

OCTOBER ANNIVERSARY DINNER

Malaysia Retailer Vol 6 No 3

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Profile for Harini Management Services Sdn Bhd

Malaysia Retailer Vol 7 No 1 (2019) -- CKL  

Malaysia Retailer, the official magazine of the Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA), is a one of a kind retailing, franchising and bran...

Malaysia Retailer Vol 7 No 1 (2019) -- CKL  

Malaysia Retailer, the official magazine of the Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA), is a one of a kind retailing, franchising and bran...

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