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Vol 8 No 2 2020

Rise of e-commerce in Malaysia during Covid 19

Malaysia Needs Covid-19 Act to Protect Businesses & Jobs

MRCA MCO Action Bureau to Help Members Affected by MCO

The right voice of reason never goes out of season as exemplified by the leadership of the MRCA President

WM RM9 / EM RM11

Datuk Seri Garry Chua: A Retrospective


MRCA Corporate Patrons

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A-5-2, 3, 3A, Level 5, Block A, Sky Park One City, Jalan USJ25/1, 47650 Subang Jaya, Selangor. Tel: 603-5882 4333 Fax: 1 700 810 950 Website: www.mrca.org.my PRESIDENT Datuk Seri Garry K.S. Chua ROTOL FOOD-CHAIN (M) SDN BHD

FOUNDER PRESIDENT Dato’ Eddie Choon POH KONG HOLDINGS BHD

IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT Dato’ Liaw Choon Liang, JP FOCUS POINT HOLDINGS BHD

PRESIDENT COUNCIL Dato’ Eddie Choon POH KONG HOLDINGS BHD Datuk Albert Chiang BONIA CORPORATION BHD Datuk Lee Hwa Cheng SINMA JEWELLERY CENTRE SDN BHD Dato’ Tay Sim Kim OSIM (M) SDN BHD H.E. Datuk Seri Nelson Kwok, JP HONORARY CONSUL OF THE REPUBLIC OF MOZAMBIQUE TO MALAYSIA NELSON’S FRANCHISE (M) SDN BHD Dato’ Liaw Choon Liang, JP FOCUS POINT HOLDINGS BHD Datuk Seri Garry K.S. Chua ROTOL FOOD-CHAIN (M) SDN BHD

DEPUTY PRESIDENT Dato’ Vincent Choo Kok Leong URBAN IDEA SDN BHD VICE PRESIDENTS Dato’ Liew Bin BRILLIANT MERCHANDISING SDN BHD Valerie Choo Yoke Shiem SIMPLY AWESOME SDN BHD Shirley Tay Bee Koo SUNRIDER INTERNATIONAL (M) SDN BHD Datuk Seri Dr. Chai Kee Kan KK SUPERMART & SUPERSTORE SDN BHD SECRETARY GENERAL Ken Phua Cheng Chuen BENTLEY MUSIC SDN BHD DEPUTY SECRETARY GENERAL Dato’ Bruce Lim Aun Choong SKILLS JOHOR SDN BHD TREASURER GENERAL Dato’ Alex Wong Che Sing HAP SENG STAR SDN BHD DEPUTY TREASURER GENERAL Dato’ Winnie Lim Yoke Chin SOLUTION RISK CONSULTANTS SDN BHD COUNCIL MEMBERS Seak Thean Pow BAGUS CURTAIN SDN BHD Dato’ Choi Wei Yee SUNLIGHT TAXI SDN BHD Dato’ Syed Kamarulzaman Dato’ Syed Zainol Khodki Shahabudin PERBADANAN NASIONAL BERHAD Dato’ Dr Edmund Lee Kim Hock KLUANG STATION F & B SDN BHD Datin Flora Tan Joo Hua TRANSTEL TECHNOLOGY (M) SDN BHD William Tang Chee Weng THE STORE CORPORATION BERHAD Brian Tham Jee Ping WATATIME (M) SDN BHD Nicholas Chong Kah Yean YFS CORPORATE (M) SDN BHD Jeff Yong Chun Loong KIMMA SDN BHD Raymond Woo Hai Shiang ARORI (M) SDN BHD Sharan Valiram VALIRAM TRADING SDN BHD Jason Woo Wee Yoong CLARA INTERNATIONAL BEAUTY GROUP SDN BHD Malaysia Retailer Vol 4 No1

BOARD OF ADVISORS Dato’ Dr. Jennifer Low, JP GROUP MANAGING DIRECTOR, QUILL GROUP OF COMPANIES Tan Sri Dr Lim Wee Chai CHAIRMAN, TOP GLOVE CORPORATION BHD Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Leong Hoy Kum GROUP MD, MAH SING GROUP BHD Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Barry Goh Ming Choon CHAIRMAN OF MCT BHD Tan Sri Datuk Tee Hock Seng JP GROUP MANAGING DIRECTOR OF BINA PURI HOLDINGS BHD Tan Sri Datuk Ter Leong Yap EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN SUNSURIA BHD PRESIDENT’S ADVISOR Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Tang Yeam Soon THE STORE CORPORATION BERHAD PRESIDENT’S ADVISOR FOR EVENT & PR Tan Sri Datuk Danny Ooi D’TOUCH INTERNATIONAL SDN BHD LEGAL ADVISORS Datuk Ringo Low RINGO LOW & ASSOCIATES Dato’ Dr Manjit Singh MANJIT SINGH SACHDEV, MOHAMMAD RADZI & PARTNERS HONORARY AUDITOR Dato’ Sri Raymond Liew Lee Leong MCMILLAN WOODS Datin Yap Shin Siang YYC GST CONSULTANTS SDN BHD OTHER FOUNDING MEMBERS Dato’ Chin See Keat Wong Chee How

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Publisher/CEO V.S. Ganesan Senior Editor Vimala Seneviratne Editor Rachael Philip Contributing Editor Khaw Chia Hui Creative Designer Goh Wei Lee Advertising Consultant Faridah Ismail Marketing Manager Karthik Ganesan Operations Manager G. Revathi PRINTER PERCETAKAN LAGENDA SDN BHD (406003-A) No. 2, Jalan Gangsa SD5/3E, Sri Damansara Industrial Park, 52200 Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 603-6273 6599 Fax: 603-6273 6606 DISTRIBUTOR MPH DISTRIBUTORS SDN BHD (MALAYSIA) (5048-A) Ground Floor, Bangunan TH, No 5, Jalan Bersatu 13/4, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. Tel: 603-7958 1688 Fax: 603-7956 5995 Email: distributors@mph.com.my All articles featured in Malaysia Retailer magazine represent the personal views of contributors and are not necessarily those of MRCA & Harini Management Services Sdn Bhd. All writers automatically agree to indemnify MRCA and Harini Management Services Sdn Bhd against any loss, costs, expenses (including legal fees), damages and liabilities that might arise from their own incapacity, negligence, breach of contract or other civil misdeeds. We reserve the right to edit all articles. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2020 by MRCA and Harini Management Services Sdn Bhd. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the publisher. MRCA and Harini Management Services Sdn Bhd accept no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photography, illustration and other editorial materials.


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President’s Message Dear esteemed MRCA members,

Datuk Seri Garry KS Chua, President, 2016-Present, Malaysia Retail Chain Association

The retail industry got off to a flying start in 2020. Many retailers were expecting to greet our tourist friends coming all the way from their home country to celebrate Visit Malaysia 2020 with us. We know now that the situation took a turn different than anticipated. Thanks to the efforts of our fellow countrymen, the valiant frontliners, and timely assistance from the Government, the circumstances surrounding the Covid 19 pandemic have finally begun to show improvement. Along with the easing of the Movement Control Order (MCO), our fighting spirit has rekindled and it burns brighter now than ever before. In this issue of Malaysia Retailer, you’ll read about the MRCA MCO Action Bureau (MMAB) which is actively looking into the needs of members affected by the pandemic. To help our members sail through this challenging situation, we organised several webinars and forums – some of which are covered in this issue. MRCA & MRCA Branding Education Charity Foundation donated 40,000 gloves and 100,000 antivirus wipes to the Ministry of Home Affairs. MRCA, together with a coalition of Malaysia’s business communities from various associations, had urged the Government to implement the Covid-19 Bill/Act (Temporary Measures) to protect businesses and jobs. Prior to the MCO, we organised a dazzling CNY celebration which saw 850 guests welcoming the Year of the Rat. Our Guest-of-honour was Tan Sri Dr Lim Wee Chai, Executive Chairman of Top Glove Corporation Berhad. Thank you Shirley Tay, Dato’ Winnie Lim and Valerie Choo for putting up a good show. The past few years has been a good run for the Association. Membership is now at 530, an all-time high, financials stable as always, and the other facets through the 6-point action plan. We have been encouraging more Bumiputera retailers to join MRCA and as a result we now have more Bumiputera retailers in our Association. This wouldn’t have been possible if not for all council members, organising chairpersons, members, the Association secretariat, media, and our stakeholders who were kind enough to assist and work tirelessly in championing this endeavour. My journey at MRCA was life-changing as it was fulfilling. This particular issue of Malaysia Retailer has a special place in my heart because it also features the various highlights of the Association during my tenure. It brings me joy to realise that over the years, we’ve achieved a great deal through our enormous network in bringing people together, helping those in need, making new friends, and if there’s one thing I learnt, it is about valuing friendship and treating everyone with respect. The rest, whether it’s business or a task at hand... will come naturally! As my presidency draws to a close, I will still continue to contribute to this important institution as its immediate past president and a member of the President Council. I hope our members will persist in doing well for themselves and supporting the Association that will always be there for them.

“ENRICHING MEMBERS FOR THE FUTURE”

Malaysia Retailer Vol 8 No 1


CONTENTS / VOL. 8 NO. 2

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Datuk Seri Garry Chua: A Retrospective

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Top Glove Sets its Sights on Higher Aspirations

Smartphone Sales Continue to Grow in Southeast Asia

COVER STORY

6 Datuk Seri Garry Chua: A Retrospective

He has been MRCA President from 2016 to 2020 and his passion and willingness to dedicate his time and effort to the association were quickly recognised. As his tenure ends, we look back at his achievements as President.

12 A Retail President for All Seasons

FEATURES ON THE COVER

16 Asia’s Property Doyen 18 Crisis Management For

Organisations During A Global Pandemic

22 Top Glove Sets its Sights on Higher Aspirations

24 Bonia Damiano Collection 2020 26 My Beaute Village to Open Datuk Seri Garry Chua

Malaysia Retailer Vol 4 No 1

50 Outlets within 5 Years

28 MRCA Forms Task Force to Help Members Affected by MCO

29 Year-end for Retail Business to Pick Up

30 Malaysia Needs a Covid-19 Act to Protect Businesses and Jobs

32 Rise of e-commerce in Malaysia during Covid 19

34 Business Survival After the Pandemic

35 Stimulus Package #4 PRIHATIN PKS: “What’s in it for SMEs?”

36 Smartphone Sales Continue to Grow in Southeast Asia

37 MRCA in the Media DEPARTMENT

3 President’s Message


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Datuk Seri Garry Chua: A Retrospective

He has been MRCA President from 2016 to 2020 and his passion and willingness to dedicate his time and effort to the association were quickly recognised. As he ends his tenure, we look back at his achievements as President.

aving been an industry stalwart for a few decades, Datuk Seri Garry Chua has been a part of MRCA for more than 20 years. His passion and willingness to dedicate his time and effort to the association was quickly recognised. Soon, he was elected vice-president, a position he held for more than 10 years. His vision for MRCA was evident, leading him to be elected president in April 2016. After accepting the role, he laid out plans to strengthen MRCA’s role in the Malaysian business community. The plan included: • Boosting membership • Strengthen governmental and stakeholder engagement • Enhancing media exposure for MRCA and members • Encouraging more training by the MRCA Academy • Bigger CSR events • MIRF, conferences, CEO Night • Talent development Being true to his words, Datuk Seri Garry has delivered his promises over and beyond. Now, MRCA has more than 500 member companies, many of which are industry pioneers and leaders in their own fields. The respective heads of these members companies also serve in the MRCA committee board and on the board of advisors. MRCA has also secured corporate patrons such as Maxis Berhad, Fusionex International and RHB Banking Group, and connecting with the nation’s largest associations such as MACEOS, PIKOM, Malaysia Shopping Mall Association, Malaysia Gift Premium Association and Kuala Lumpur Chinese Chamber of Commerce, among others. MRCA has also been in constant engagement with relevant ministries, governmental agencies, regional trade associations and business chambers.

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This has led to many overseas mission and familiarisation trips to Vietnam, Taiwan, Cambodia and many more. With such trips, MRCA members are in a unique position to meet other governmental bodies and the business community in each country. This greatly helps members to navigate the business landscape as well as gain insights into other business opportunities in each country. This has resulted in several collaborations and joint ventures between Malaysian and oversea companies to expand their businesses in Malaysia and their home countries. “As a trade association of this size, MRCA has a lot of pull. After hearing feedback from our members, we can present their issues, concerns and suggestions to other industry stakeholders and government policymakers. “It also gives us leverage to secure meetings with trade associations in other countries. It is not something a

single company can pull off in a short timeframe,” said Datuk Seri Garry who also initiated three local MRCA chapters, in the states of Johor, Perak, and Penang. Representing MRCA, Datuk Seri Garry has sat in many meetings with policymakers to ensure the voice of the retail and franchise industry is taken into account. The level of engagement has not been affected despite the changes in the federal government. Apart from regular events and press releases, Datuk Seri Garry has pushed for a dedicated annual media engagement programme, inviting top editors of all media platforms – print and online – to an afternoon get-together. “We have more than 100 events every year. While some are held inhouse, we have many large-scale events that are of great benefit to the industry and public. Through this special media engagement programme, we are able to get the word out while helping to garner publicity for our members. “I hope that our members will continue this tradition as it has been proven to work very well,” said Datuk Seri Garry. Members are able to directly meet the press to exchange views on how to better secure media coverage and publicity. This also includes MRCA’s Malaysia Retailer magazine. Published every quarter, the magazine features interesting members on the cover, sharing their experiences and life stories. The magazine also shares the numerous events and training MRCA organises. Another great publication is the MRCA Who’s Who Directory, collating the association’s history, development, personalities and information on all members. It allows those who are interested in working with MRCA member companies to get to know every one of them. Speaking of training, Datuk Seri


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Garry has made efforts to improve the MRCA Academy, providing better resources to conduct relevant training programmes. These programmes have benefited staff members in areas such as management, sales, human capital, consumer habits and spending, digital marketing, social media and many more. They are conducted by certified trainers all year round at the MRCA head office. Meanwhile, corporate social responsibility has always been the core of MRCA. Under Datuk Seri Garry’s leadership, the association has boosted charity events, dispensing much-needed fund to deserving charity organisations. “There are always segments in

society that needs a helping hand. We are fortunate to be in a position to offer help. So, it is our duty to extend as much time and resources to the most underprivileged in Malaysian society. “With our MRCA Charity Foundation, I’m confident that our members will always be ready to carry out their corporate social responsibility when the need arises,” he said. Among the flagship annual CSR programmes are the MRCA charity run and golf tournaments. In conjunction with festive member dinners, MRCA also allocates funding for charity purposes. The disbursement is overseen by MRCA Charity Foundation. Another feather in MRCA’s cap is the Malaysian International Retail and Franchise Exhibition (MIRF). The exhibition is an ambitious undertaking, attracting top industry players to Malaysia. It is a good springboard to market in Asia as well. Popular sectors in MIRF are food and beverage, retailing, education, beauty and health, among others. Since its first edition in 2017, MIRF has grown leaps and bound, expanding not just in revenue but in shaping and cultivating new business models, strategies and innovation. MIRF 2019 transacted more than RM80 million business revenue with over 11,000 visitors from all over the world. Held alongside MIRF is the MRCA Retail Conference which brings together interesting speakers, sharing insights, highlighting future trends and their unique business acumen. It has attracted participants from all walks of life and recognised as an event not to be missed. These flagship events came to

fruition under Datuk Seri Garry’s strong leadership. With the support of the organising committees, he has been able to grow these events year on year, pushing MRCA to truly represent the industry in the region. Among the anticipated annual events are CEO Night, CNY Banquet Night, Anniversary Gala and so on. Each of these mega events provides networking opportunities for members. “We don’t exist in a vacuum and every one of us at some point will need help and collaboration. MRCA events are a good time to build those networks and relationships, especially in a social setting. “I hope these events will continue to anchor our calendar year and I hope to see more and more members coming together every year.” In addition, Datuk Seri Garry has enhanced the MRCA Youth chapter, allowing better talent development and mentoring. The youth members are able to learn the ropes more closely from their seniors while sharing their views on e-commerce, e-tailing, social media marketing and other new and innovative business tools. Personally, Datuk Seri Garry has provided a steady hand in leading MRCA to greater heights during his tenure as President. His active industry involvement and vision have greatly contributed to the growth of the industry even in these challenging times. But not to fret, as the Immediate Past President, his presence is always needed to continue to push for MRCA to lead the retail and franchise industry in the midst of a pandemic and possible global recession.

Malaysia Retailer Vol 8 No 2


Cover Story

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A Retail President for All Seasons The right voice of reason will never go out of season as exemplified by the capable leadership of MRCA President Datuk Seri Garry Chua.

atuk Seri Garry Chua has emerged as a strong voice of reason during the most trying Movement Order Control (MCO) season ever faced by the retail industry and all other spheres of businesses in Malaysia recently. Following the unexpected lockdown imposed nationwide during the MCO period stretching initially from April 18 to 31, 2020 which was further extended to June 9, 2020 that was imposed by the Malaysian government – it was clear from the very onset that not only would all sectors and businesses be hit – but the face of retail too had hit a fatal blow and would probably also never be the same again. The dire situation, however, was not just unique to Malaysia – but prevalent worldwide. The extent of the massive shut down across all industries – to the level of witnessing even international borders to other countries being completely shut down to curb the deadly spread of the threat to humankind in the form of a common invisible enemy named as the Coronavirus or Covid-19, undoubtedly cried out for unprecedented measures during this extremely turbulent times. During this trying season as the MCO forced businesses to shut operations, many online digital platforms started emerging to voice concerns on behalf of their respective industries. When the government’s first PRIHATIN package was launched as a response to the crises facing the nation, Datuk Seri Garry Chua’s voice was one that was among the most sought-after. Representing the voice of the

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retailers and presenting their plight at this moment in time is no easy task. And, where others lost their cool expressing their viewpoints live, the seasoned class act sailed through with a level head and with flying colours. His ability to handle crises by painting an overall picture of the entire landscape with the brush stroke of a pen while propositioning pivotal solutions clearly showed forth that he was indeed the man for the urgent hour to address the plight of the retailers. The significance of understanding the importance of creating awareness of issues covering the retail and franchise industries has always been something pivotal in the president’s manifesto since helming MRCA – what more during this time. Like many others, he too was distressed about how their business operations, which came to a sudden grinding halt, would operate in the days, weeks, months and even years to come. But, his cool and collected composure spoke volumes of how to handle crises. He acknowledged that the Covid 19 crisis was an unprecedented dilemma, unlike any of the previous economic recessions that previously plagued the nation. Covid-19 brings with it untold ramifications spanning the socioeconomic sphere – beyond just how businesses and retail would operate to generate profits and footfall. The nation and the world are all already

on the brink of a huge global meltdown of untold proportions. And herein, lies the dilemma. It is said that the true measure of a man’s character is reflected in two scenarios. One, how he reacts to having amassed great wealth and, two, how he responds when he has lost great wealth. The MRCA president has made a name for himself with his thriving businesses revolving around the food and beverage as well as the building industries as reflected under the Rotol Group of Companies which he established in 1994. Under his F&B business are different brands such as Chakri Palace and Rainforest, including Sanoook and Raintree. Adept at undertaking exterior building facade services to the next level, the Rotol Group is able to basically “take, restore, repair” and give the properties back to clients in mint-like condition. The technology behind the group’s exterior façade building materials, he explained came about from a joint venture with a US partner over 20 years ago, during which time a sector was established here while the group holds a licence in Japan. Ever the visionary, he has already set goals, working on mentoring his son Max Chua to expand the business operations to China and other countries which have many high-rise buildings while his daughter Caleen Chua is running the F&B business including overseeing Chakri Palace.


Now, at the height of the Covid-19 crisis that has seen a nationwide shut down retail operations, he has to up the ante to present the plight of retailers in unprecedented tough conditions. Already facing an onslaught of digital mediums eating into its pie, the problem was further compounded without the benefit of footfall given the MCO. The distinctive advantage he has in having his own business is that he is well-versed with the ins and outs of the retail industry, how it moves and what it takes to survive in this highly competitive sphere. Having already built a close rapport with retailers and across the board with shopping malls, his value-added proposition to stand united in one cohesive voice to promote the cause of retail can be seen in the already in place strategies of using online media to promote MRCA’s upcoming expo.

Indeed, these are strong membership numbers that we are looking at. Backed by over 500 members, with a strong following of leading franchise and retail store operators spanning over 25,000 outlets throughout Malaysia – these members alone create over half a million job opportunities nationwide. This is in line with MRCA’s theme ‘Enriching Members for the Future”. Obviously born to lead, his birth date being January 1 positions his zodiac signs between that of the tail end of the Rooster and the beginning of the zodiac sign of the Dog. His social skills from the feathered fowl serve him well as he stands in the great divide between the stakeholders of the retail industry – being the clarion call voice representing the plight of the retail industry – to the government and the overall industry at large.

The media it seems, can’t seem to get enough of him as they value his pertinent views in this season of great distress and calamity. Now more than ever, the voice of reason needs to be sounded. And for that, the already badly-hit retail industry at least has a capable and experienced president helming the retail industry in the inimitable manner that is unique to him. All is not just serious talk with this president who also has his own take on life, which he shared with the writer previously when being interviewed for another publication. “Touching on values, I wish to reiterate that talents and looks are God-given – so be thankful. Fame and money are, in a way, men-given – so be grateful. Attitude and ego are selfgiven – so be careful and stay humble,” he opines.

A Personal Thank You from Datuk Seri Garry Chua

suppose “fortunate” is the word my tenure at MRCA has reminded me of. “Fortunate” not only because we have grown into the largest retail, branding, and franchising fraternity in Malaysia (as of now, membership has indeed more than doubled to 530); but, “fortunate”, above all, for the opportunity of working alongside some of the nation’s finest,

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most dedicated, and most talented personalities. It is an honour that I must acknowledge these amazing individuals who selflessly contributed their all in advancing the Association, its members, and stakeholders to achieve more than it ever did. To my very capable and hardworking Deputy President Dato Vincent Choo, thank you for playing an active and persuasive role in rallying

participants and sponsors for our inaugural Who’s Who directory, and organising major festive events such as our anniversary dinner. The Association is blessed to have “Three Angels”: Vice Presidents Shirley Tay and Valerie Choo and Deputy Treasurer General Dato’ Winnie Lim. The Council enjoys a close and cordial relationship with them. We have a tremendous understanding of each

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other and often complement one another towards achieving MRCA’s common objectives – lifting MRCA to higher levels through activities and exceeding KPIs. Shirley Tay, who was in charge of membership recruitment, had also organised successful trips to Penang, Johor and Sabah. They have wowed us with their finesse and determination in organising events such as the Association’s anniversary dinners, Media Night, CNY celebrations and the Business Trip to Shanghai where Dato’ Winnie went to great lengths for us to visit Alibaba’s Hema superstore, Fresh Market, JD.com, and the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, the largest of its kind in the world. They sacrificed time and were creative too. An example is our endearing Hero Sejati song which began as an idea by them, and supported by Sylvester Fan’s studio. They made enormous efforts in reaching out to others, setting a standard for future events to be implemented in the best possible way. Beyond these remarkable displays of effort, their contributions have left a far-telling effect on bolstering the public’s impression of the credibility and overall reputation of the MRCA. It is a privilege for us to also recognise the efforts of Dato’ Liew Bin, without whom there would be no Malaysia International Retail and Franchise Exhibition (MIRF), as well as his successor, Raymond Woo, who managed to follow one tremendous success with another. MIRF has grown to be the most successful retail and franchise exhibition in the region. Dato’ Bruce Lim did a phenomenal job with the MRCA Retail Conference 2017, in that he managed to secure top speakers and prominent guests for the occasion. We had Dato’ Sri Mustapa bin Mohamed, then Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Ir. Dr. Wee Ka Siong, then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Idris Jala, CEO of Pemandu. Datuk KK Chai successfully organised a comprehensive business trip to Cambodia and Vietnam and also organised the CNY dinner, attended by 1,200 guests — the largest by far. Datin Flora Tan has been the ‘fairy godmother” of MRCA’s CSR programmes. I thank her for her effort in painstakingly checking out and sourcing sponsors and welfare centres that require MRCA’s

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assistance. She does all her charitable work in the most effective manner, and such enormous devotion is, even here at MRCA, unprecedented. We are inspired by her passion and devotion towards helping the unfortunate and underprivileged. We would also like to thank our Treasurers, Dato’ Alex Wong and Dato’ Winnie, for making sure that the Association’s funds are managed in the most efficient way. Not forgetting Ken Phua for continuing the hard work and responsibilities as Secretary General after Jeff Kong. Also to Sharan Valiram and Jason Woo for their contribution as organising chairmen and sponsoring events and Seak Thean Pow for being our longest-serving Council member. MRCA salutes your loyalty and appreciates your valuable insights and contributions over the years. To our recently-nominated Chairman of the Southern Chapter, Michael Liew, congratulations and thank you for stepping up to the challenge of extending our presence down the Straits. Datuk Lawrence Liew, our Advisor of the Southern Chapter, and together with the rest of our community in Malacca, Pahang, and Johor, has been very active in contributing to the extensive development of our Association. We have been to Penang a few times, and we find that the Northern Chapter holds a lot of potential for both the Association and our members. Credit to Chairman Sr Michael Geh for overseeing the developments of the Chapter and being our gateway to doing business and garnering participation in the states up North. Our respects to the late Ricky Thye, our inventive organising chair of MRCA’s maiden MRCA-KPDNKK Charity Run 2016, who has demonstrated strong contribution by making “Running for the Needy” a big success during his tenure. His spirit is carried on by subsequent chairpersons, and I thank Dato’ Choi, William Tang and Jordan Ng for their leadership in helping us continue the success story of MRCA’s charity run. Our MRCA Branding Education Charity Foundation, under a yearly rotation system, has benefitted immensely from the contributions from all our past Presidents, beginning with Dato’ Eddie Choon, Dato’ Tay (who established the Foundation), and Datuk Albert Chiang, who have each given a lot of support and devotion to the Foundation.

We also applaud Datuk Lee Hwa Cheng for purchasing MRCA’s first office at Jaya One. During Datuk Seri Nelson Kwok’s presidency, MRCA bought the current office premise at One City, Subang. Their presidencies were good times, and Datuk Lee made the most of his exemplary tenure in ensuring weekly communication with the Council. Credit also goes to Datuk Lee and Dato’ Liaw, who have been instrumental in conceptualising the CEO Night and MIRF – two events that have become staples in MRCA’s social calendar. Thank you also to all the Council members for their outstanding commitment, passion, hard work. Their devotion to projects assigned far exceeds the drive observed at most NGOs. MRCA Youth deserves a special mention for they are the future captains of the Association, the industry, and the country. We’ve had many interesting developments at MRCA Youth since Edison Choon took on the mantle as its president. I thank Edison and his successor, Nicholas Chong, for an outstanding job thus far. We are enthusiastic just as you are about your future successes and contributions to this big family. Our gratitude to the Board of Advisors, Dato’ Dr. Jennifer Low, JP, Tan Sri Dr Lim Wee Chai, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Leong Hoy Kum, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Barry Goh Ming Choon, Tan Sri Datuk Tee Hock Seng, JP and Tan Sri Datuk Ter Leong Yap; President’s Advisors Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Tang Yeam Soon and Tan Sri Datuk Danny Ooi, Legal Advisors Datuk Ringo Low and Dato’ Dr Manjit Singh and Honorary Auditors Dato’ Sri Raymond Liew Lee Leong and Datin Yap Shin Siang. Thank you Simon Wong and the MRCA Secretariat for raising RM80,000 within a month for the MRCA President Cup & Friends event, proving that the team manages stellar events just as comfortably and capably as it tackles day-to-day administrative challenges. To all our members, thank you for your unwavering trust, commitment and support. As an Association spanning many disciplines, cultures, regions, and business models, we succeed best and quickest in this diverse environment by embracing one another and by helping each other succeed. Thank you all for carrying on inspiring generations of retailers and franchisors wherever you are!


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Asia’s Property Doyen Dr Renesial Leong shares her thoughts on the CMCO and talks of some of her bestselling books on property. What are some of your thoughts on post-MCO and CMCO? We should aim to be a part of the solution, and not the problem. Nothing is worse than being in a tornado of constantly maligning the situation and dwelling in self-pity, while creating physical and emotional damages to those around you. Chin up and take on the challenges with a stride. Seek solutions, evaluate your options, weigh the consequences and take action to move yourself out of the situation. In your quest of doing so, please do not forget to take care of your health. The best gift we can give ourselves and our loved ones is to take good care of our health and not be a burden to those around us. Achieve the clichéd work-life balance and sleep well – it’s pointless to be in bed for eight hours when half the time you lay awake, tossing and turning. You have written many books on real estate investment strategies. Can you please give an overview of your masterpieces? To date, I have written 6 books and all of them have made it to the best-selling chart. Most of them are also available in Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin, for the benefit of my non-English speaking readers.

Let me give you a brief overview of the books to help you better understand the unique content each of them presents.

• Property Jewels

English: ISBN 983-41401-2-6 Bahasa Malaysia (Permata Hartanah): ISBN 983-41401-3-4 Mandarin: ISBN 978-967-5501-00-5 Property Jewels is my inaugural book and it’s the First Property Investment Guidebook written in the Asian context, launched in 2003. This came about when I couldn’t find any property investment guide book throughout Asia, hence I set out to write one when I felt I was ready many years later. Although many years might have passed, more than 80% of the strategies are still applicable today. I believe this is the reason the books are still selling well. Realising that attaining financial freedom is a dream for many, Property Jewels demonstrates how this can be achieved through property investing. It is brimming with 263 diamond-studded strategies which have already helped thousands of people enter the property investment market successfully and accumulate strings of property jewels. In this book, I present a valuable road map to help you become not just a property owner, but a property millionaire! You will learn how to pick the right property, get extra financing, complete the deal smoothly, find good tenants, and steadily build your portfolio. The icing on the cake is the indispensable advice on dealing with the VIPs you would be working with – the brokers, the lawyers, the tenants and the handymen. In between the great tips and words of caution, I’ve also weaved in interesting stories from my seminar participants and my personal experience, to make it a more enjoyable read.

• Your Tenants, Your Jewels English: ISBN 978-967-5501-01-2 Mandarin: ISBN 983-967-41401-6-9 Bahasa Malaysia: ISBN 9789834140175

Buying a good property is just the start. Managing it well is a different ballgame. If you own a property or two and wish to profit from it in the best possible way, this book will help you do that. It draws from many real-life experiences to provide you with insights on how to be the Ultimate Landlord – one who has reached the ultimate financial destination in life. Effective tenant management is no rocket science, so anyone can benefit from this book. And when done correctly, as this book will reveal, you can bask in a steady stream of income that may change your life forever. This is a top 10 best-seller for local and foreign authors combined.

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• Property Jewels Under The Hammer English : ISBN : 978-967-5501-07-4 Mandarin : ISBN : 978-967-5501-08-1

• Commercial Property Jewels English : ISBN : 978-983-41401-8-2 Mandarin : ISBN : 978-967-5501-02-9

If you have only bought houses and condos, you will see the untapped opportunities in investing in commercial properties. Even if you have not bought a single piece of property before, this book will show you how to get the funds and how to choose your first commercial property. It draws from many real-life experiences, there are no theories, just practical and profitable tips that are unexpectedly entertaining as well. Through commercial property investment, you could retire rich and early too!

• The Magic of Property Investment

Finding a great property at an absolute bargain is the dream of every property investor. One avenue is through property auctions. I see many such opportunities on the horizon in today’s market. In this book, I present a realistic appraisal of buying properties that go under the hammer, putting forward the benefits of buying from auctions whilst highlighting pitfalls that can cost uninitiated investors a small fortune. My step-by-step guidance will help you pick your way through the journey of searching for the right auction property, carrying out critical investigations on the property, all the way to making the winning bid in the auction room. I have included interesting stories from my friends, my seminar participants as well as from my personal experience interlace with valuable advice to make this book a rewarding and enjoyable read.

English : ISBN : 978-967-5501-03-6 Mandarin : ISBN : 978-967-5501-04-3

• Property Jewels 2

A shocking truth about property investment in Asia is that more than 50% still stay in rented properties! Put bluntly, the majority are simply not aware of the huge potential of investing in properties, be it as simple as having a roof over our heads; or a comfortable home to improve the quality of our lives, to using real estate as our ticket to a prosperous retirement or as ambitious as using it as an investment vehicle to rake in the millions. This book shows you why investing in property is not only wise and satisfying but reassuring when done correctly. Life is sometimes like viewing a kaleidoscope, at different angles, it reorganizes and presents different patterns. At different stages of your life, you could suddenly discover what not possible then, to be possible now.

Property investors, both new and experienced, will find this book a fascinating and essential reference in today’s fast-changing property investment landscape. Besides being a step-by-step guide to property investing, it takes you through pages and pages of new developments, upcoming trends and creative ideas, particularly on the technological front. From Airbnb to fractional investing and much more, readers will appreciate the extent technology has impacted on property investing and will continue to be a game-changer. This book cannot be more timely and special as it is appropriately applicable in today’s market. Piping hot from the oven too as it was only released just weeks before MCO.

English : ISBN : 978-967-5501-10--4

To sum it up, the best investment is still in knowledge and the most affordable form is through books. It is my humble wish that my books will continue to add massive value and enrich the lives of those who are on the property investment journey. Take baby steps if you are new to the game and may you enjoy a fruitful and fulfilling investment journey. Celebrate every success regardless of how small it may be, and remember to reach out to touch the lives of the needy with every profit you make. Keep yourself rewarded and motivated. Riches do not only come in dollar and cents, it comes from the heart too. Make yours a big one!

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Crisis Management For Organisations During A Global Pandemic By Dr Victor SL Tan

he changes and impact the coronavirus global pandemic have on organisations are unprecedented with massive lockdowns: airflights grounded, factories and businesses closed. Even with Movement control order releasing some restrictions for some industries and business in stages, social distancing and tight rules and penalites for breaking rules and regulations are still in effect. Most employees are forced to work from home. Companies are indeed facing an unprecedented crisis. Suddenly crisis management has become the top agenda. What is crisis management? Crisis management is about implementing well- thought out strategies to handle sudden and impactful negative event. While there are many models of crisis management, I would like to share one proven approach for effective crisis management.

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CRISIS MANAGEMENT TEAM MEETING Some companies already have their crisis management team (CMT) in place. They would just have to convene

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an emergency meeting. For those without the CMT, a meeting should be called comprising the various heads departments or strategic business units which are most affected by the crisis. In the case of the coronavirus pandemic, most companies would have

form a CMT to assess the impact on their business and develop strategies and specific counter measures to address the issues immediately. The CMT could be divided into sub teams with specific roles and responsibilities as shown the table.

KLSCC’s Crisis Management Approach

Response To Crisis

Crisis Management Team Meeting

Crisis Management Approach Reinforce and Fortify the Organisation

Assess Effectiveness of Strategies


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Name of Sub CMT Team

Roles and Responsibilities

Cash Management Team

To ascertain the amount of cash on hand and ensure adequate for payment of expenses To provide solutions to make up for the drop in cash due to Covid-19 lockdown worldwide( and locally, the MCO Movement Control Order) To provide creative ideas to improve cash flow and liquidity

Revenue Generation Team

To assess the impact on revenue from Covid -19 lockdown To provide solutions to make up for the loss of revenue To provide creative ideas to improve revenue while maintaining or decreasing costs

Cost Optimisation Team

To assess the impact on cost from Covid-19 lockdown To provide solutions to optimise cost in every area To provide creative ideas to optimise and reduce cost without affecting productivity and effectiveness

Communication Team

To assess the impact on company communication from Covid- 19 lockdown To provide solutions to improve effectiveness of communication with staff, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders To provide creative ideas to improve effectiveness communication without increasing cost using free software and online communication tools like Zoom, Skype and Whatsapp video

Human Capital Management Team

To assess the impact on people and productivity from Covid-19 lockdown To provide solutions to improve staff morale and develop new skills to cater to the changing needs of the business To engage staff to come up with creative ideas to help overcome the firm’s challenges

REPONSE TO CRISIS From each of the 5 teams above, they should come up with very concise counter measures or strategies to address the specific challenges facing the firm. Each team has a leader with selected relevant members. All the team leaders report to the Head of CMT. Each team must come up with a action plan complete with deadlines, persons responsible, dates of progress report and clear measures of success. In responding to the crisis, particular attention should be paid to the impact on stakeholders and their concerns. For example in undertaking cost reduction, some companies have asked their staff to go for unpaid leave during the MCO period. The message should be communicated in a forceful way but in a spirit of seeking understanding and cooperation to help overcome the company’s challenges together. The company should also assist eligible staff for wage subsidy provided by the government. In such a crisis time, there is fear and uncertainty, thus transparent communication back up with sincerity and honesty is critical to build trust with employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. Companies

should provide an open channel of communication for stakeholders to address their needs and concerns.

ASSESS EFFECTIVENESS OF STRATEGIES Most crises required decisions and actions to be taken speedily to contain and limit the damage from the repercussions. It is crucial that the Head Of CMT assess the risks, the effectiveness of the strategies and monitor the outcome of each specific measure undertaken. Thus defining a clear measure of success of each strategy or counter measure needs to be done and agreed upon earlier.

REINFORCE &FORTIFY THE ORGANISATION Each crisis provide lessons learnt through insights and hindsights; all of which should enable companies to have forsights to deal better with a crisis in the future. For example, the coronavirus global pandemic, forced people to work from home, many have improved their ICT skills overnight using Zoom, Webex, Skype or other online communication tools. Once viewed as impractical, but

now companies are exploring which part of their workforce can work from home and still maintain their performance and productivity . Each crisis enables companies to re-strengthen their positions and fortify their risk management to mitigate and prevent them from collapsing. Companies can be more discerning about their vulnerabilities, read warning signals better and act quickly and effectively if they have a good crisis management approach to begin with.

Dr Victor SL Tan is the CEO of KL Strategic Change Consulting Group. He is a management consultant and had been involved in turnaround management for companies during the Asian Financial Crisis and the Global Financial meltdown. He is the author of 11 change management books. His latest book is on Leading Positive And Profitable Change. For feedback please email him at victorsltan@klscc.com or contact him at 012 390 3168.

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Top Glove Sets Its Sights On Higher Aspirations The world’s largest manufacturer of high-quality gloves at an efficient low cost, aims to increase its market share to 30% by year-end and become a Fortune Global 500 Company by 2040.

stablished in 1991 and headquartered in Malaysia, Top Glove Corporation Bhd is the world’s largest manufacturer of nitrile, natural rubber and surgical gloves with 26% of the global market share. The company has manufacturing operations in Malaysia, Thailand and China with a production capacity of 78.7 billion gloves per annum, alongside marketing offices in these countries as well as USA, Germany and Brazil and exports to over 2,000 customers in 195 countries worldwide.

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With the support of its 19,000 employees, Top Glove continues to produce high-quality gloves at an efficient low cost in line with its timetested Business Direction. Not content to rest on its laurels, Top Glove has set its sights on higher aspirations, which include increasing its world market share to 30% by year-end 2020 and becoming a Fortune Global 500 Company by 2040. Top Glove began as a local business enterprise with a single factory and one production line. Today, it is not only the world’s largest glove manufacturer, but also offers a comprehensive product range, fulfilling demand in both the healthcare and non-healthcare segment. Its achievements and international

recognition are credited to its founder, Tan Sri Dr Lim Wee Chai, who has grown the company into the resounding success it is today. To ensure it continues to deliver a strong performance and customer satisfaction, Top Glove invests extensively in R&D to drive product innovation and improve process efficiency. Tan Sri Dr Lim has also instilled a unique employee-centric culture prioritising good health, discipline and the upholding of good business ethics. These have also contributed to Top Glove’s success story. Tan Sri Dr Lim constantly emphasises that it is the people that form the foundation of the company.

Best Wishes for Datuk Seri Garry Chua “Thank you Datuk Seri Garry Chua for your astute leadership and congratulations on a successful presidency. I wish you all the best in your future undertakings. Also, I encourage you to practise the 5 Wells (Clean Well, Eat Well, Work Well, Exercise Well and Sleep Well), so you can live long and healthily until you are 120 years old, which is my life target. “Work is our hobby, Exercise is our duty, Health is our wealth.” – Tan Sri Dr Lim Wee Chai, Founder & Executive Chairman, Top Glove Corporation Bhd.

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Bonia Damiano Collection 2020 aking cues from the past, the Bonia’s Damiano collection is the embodiment of a timeless classic. Inspired by the quintessential modern escape, the designers took cues from modern nomadic lifestyles and the general lust for travel and created an entire collection around the concept. The signature monogram squares have been updated with multiple colour options to keep it fresh and modern. Design that caters to different lifestyles, maintain an air of sophistication and elegance even while on your more exotic travels with this latest range. For the enterprising business traveller, the Damiano totes and duffle bags are the perfect on-the-go companions while for fun-spirited ladies, the Damiano crossbody is a dependable

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style solution for unencumbered travels; for midnight dinner, switch out for a satchel to keep you going. From smaller articles like leather crossbody bags, bucket bags, shoulder bags, and mini backpacks to roomier pieces such as tote bags, backpacks and traveller bags, the collection is a fresh take on the perfect vacation.

Well wishes for Datuk Seri Garry Chua “We, at BONIA, would like to convey our most heartfelt appreciation to Datuk Seri Garry Chua for his dedicated service to MRCA over the years at the helm – cultivating stronger bonds between members and strengthening the association’s core foundations. BONIA wishes him all the best for his future ventures and personal prosperity.” – Datuk Albert Chiang, Chairman, MRCA Branding Education Charity Foundation.


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My Beaute Village To Open 50 Outlets within 5 Years y Beaute Village marked another milestone with the official opening of its 6th outlet in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur in February, to serve the trendy middle to upper market clientele. The outlet was opened by MRCA President Datuk Seri Garry Chua. With a total retail space of 1,300 sqft, the outlet is designed to meet the beauty needs of today’s generation and retails a wide range of priced beauty products sourced from United Kingdom, Poland, France, Denmark, Italy, Turkey, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, and Korea. The products are natural, vegan, or has organic ingredients, free from silicone, paraben and colourant, manufactured by environmentally friendly processes and no animal testing and/or cruelty used in the development of the products. “Beaute” is derived from French word means beauty and the theme of My Beaute Village is based on a shopping environment with the charm of a European village. My Beaute Village, owned by the same owners of the Magicboo chain, is expected to open six more stores in the first half of this year in My Town Shopping Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur, Central i-City and Setia Alam Mall in Shah Alam, Dataran Pahlawan Megamall in Malacca and Gurney Plaza in Penang. Its 1st outlet in Eko Cheras Mall in Cheras which was opened in late 2018, and since then four outlets were opened

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in IOI Mall in Puchong, Aeon Klebang Mall in Ipoh, Toppen Shopping Centre in Johor Bahru and Vivacity Megamall in Kuching, Sarawak. My Beaute Village plans to open 50 outlets within 5 years. Meanwhile, Magicboo was established in 2001 and has grown to become one of the largest one-stop retail beauty and wellness marts in Malaysia and Singapore. It has about 60 outlets across the two countries and offers an extensive selection of more than 5,000 products ranging from body, skin, hair care and home care, and spa and accessories, among others. These products are imported from several European countries as well as Australia, Japan and Korea. Magicboo’s wide distribution network of retail showrooms located in strategic areas, have also enabled it to serve the customer’s needs and to

sell its products at a competitive price. As such, customers of Magicboo enjoy the benefit of buying quality products at affordable pricing. Furthermore, the company has also a team of well trained and dedicated technicians who provide support and after-sales services to complement the high demand for sophisticated equipment.

Awards Won by Magicboo 2017-2018

Growth Strategy Excellence Award

2017-2018

Malaysia Power Brand Mark of Quality Award

2015-2016

Golden Eagle Award

2015-2016

The Brandlaureate SMEs BestBrands Award

2014

Golden Eagle Award

2013

ASEAN Outstanding Business Award

2013

Top Brand Award

2013

Keris Award

2012

Asia Pacific Excellent Entrepreneur Award

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Well wishes for Datuk Seri Garry Chua “We thank Datuk Seri Garry Chua for your contribution and accomplishment for the retail industry and best of luck in your new endeavour. Above all, wish you have good health and happiness.” – Winson Chang, CEO of Magicboo Beauty Sdn. Bhd.


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MRCA Forms Task Force to Help Members Affected by MCO The strategic task force called the MRCA MCO Action Bureau (MMAB), was set up to combat the adverse effects and impact of the pandemic plaguing the nation’s businesses. he aim of the MMAB task force is to help all its members in these challenging times, it said in a statement recently. It said that the retail and franchise industry and related businesses are facing huge and unprecedented uncertainties due to the pandemic, including the Movement Control Order (MCO) that has brought most businesses, their supply chain and their operatives to a standstill. The objectives and goals of the MMAB are to work with the Government and all its related agencies on stimulant packages, and tangible and intangible means to address the pressing issues, challenges and burden faced by MRCA members, especially those who are adversely affected. The task force will also engage with members to ascertain their difficulties, and to provide advice as well as make suggestions and help to look at interim and alternative solutions. “For example, MMAB can suggest the use of other operatives and technologies to change members’ current business models,” it stated. It will champion initiatives and interact with other NGOs, whose members are also impacted by this pandemic, to help each other and create mutual benefits. The task force will work with the financial institutions on the possibilities of securing loans and other financial help, advice members on business continuity management

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measures, especially on their business processes and IT systems as well as provide advice related on legal, taxation, accounting and financing, among others. “Recognising that there are shortterm, mid-term and long-term effects for recovery, the MMAB will strive hard to meet its objectives. The aim is to help MRCA members to sail through this difficult phase,” it said. MRCA has already started their engagement strategy with its embers by having regular forums and

discussions via online Web services. This engagement will soon be taken over by the MMAB and will continue to proceed as such until they are able to meet the members face to face. The MMAB will set up a new Facebook communication channel as soon as possible to allow the members to reach out to the MMAB. “The MMAB will endeavour to provide support in a timely manner. MRCA will always remain committed to its core values and objectives in serving all members,” it added.

THE MMAB CONSISTS OF: EMINENT ADVISORY GROUP MRCA President Datuk Seri Garry Chua MRCA President Council Members Datuk Albert Chiang, Datuk Lee Hwa Cheng, Datuk Seri Nelson Kwok and Dato’ Liaw Choon Liang MRCA Vice President Datuk Seri Dr Kk Chai MRCA Council Member Sharan Valiram BUREAU WORKING COMMITTEE MMAB Chairman & MRCA Treasurer General Dato’ Alex Wong MRCA Deputy President Dato’ Vincent Choo MRCA Vice Presidents Shirley Tay, Dato’ Liew Bin and Valerie Choo MRCA Deputy Treasurer General Dato’ Winnie Lim MRCA Secretary General Ken Phua MRCA Council Members Seak Thean Pow, Brian Tham and Raymond Woo MRCA Members Stan Singh, Michael Liew, Liang Foo Kuan, Jordan Ng, Alex Chong, Christine Tan, Vach Pillutla and Tony Lim PROFESSIONAL ADVISORS MRCA Honorary Auditor Dato’ Seri Raymond Liew MRCA Legal Advisor Datuk Ringo Low


Year-end for Retail Business To Pick Up

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Business in retail outlets and malls will be slow until November or December before it picks up steam, said MRCA President Datuk Seri Garry Chua. hile shoppers are slowing trickling back to the malls, retailers can expect a rise in profits by year end when consumers spend more during the festive season, he said recently in an interview with theSun newspaper. “Malls will have to give good discounts as consumers, even the T20 (income group), will be looking for value buys. However, it might take up to the middle of next year for profits to return to pre-pandemic levels,” he was quoted by the daily. He told theSun that retailers in the meantime “have to introduce measures to keep their businesses afloat”. Datuk Seri Garry was also recently quoted in the Star newspaper where he told the national daily that everyone, not just the government, had to play their part to combat the virus. “I believe all MRCA members have followed the standard operating procedure (SOP) set by the government before opening up to ensure that everyone is safe.” He was also quoted that conditional MCO was vital to ensure that jobs were saved but at the same time, necessary measures must be in place to ensure safety. To safeguard the economy, lives and safety, a balancing act was also necessary. On the issue of parents taking elderly parents or relatives and young children to the malls, Datuk Seri Garry told the daily that everyone must be responsible. Those with young children or elderly relatives should not be encouraged to visit public spaces and shopping malls. He was of the opinion that children above 10 years may go with their parents to the mall provided they follow the guidelines. “But sometimes, it is difficult for

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parents as their younger kids may insist on following them so I believe the situation would depend on each household,” he told the daily. Datuk Seri Garry was also quoted in The Straits Times on May 12, regarding moulds that appeared on leather merchandise at a shop in a mall in Penang, when the mall was reopened after more than 50 days of closure due to the pandemic. “I think there are remote cases where there was damage of goods, but

MRCA members have not had issues with that,” he was quoted. He also told the daily that retailers and shopping malls needed to work together to attract more customers. “Shopping malls must have aggressive promotions to help retailers. Malls also need to show that they have their standard operating procedure to prevent Covid-19 infection, such as temperature checking and providing hand sanitisers, to bring back customers’ confidence,” he told the daily.

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Malaysia Needs a Covid-19 Act to Protect Businesses and Jobs A coalition of Malaysia’s business communities from various associations, including MRCA and trade bodies, urges the Government to implementation of Covid-19 Bill/Act (Temporary Measures). The online press conference in late April was done through Zoom e-Conferencing.

his is the first time in Malaysia’s history that various associations came together and conducted an e-press conference using Zoom and broadcasted it live on Facebook to appeal to the Malaysia Government to protect and save businesses, which ultimately save jobs. The coalition said the Covid-19 Bill/ Act would provide at least a temporary period to 31 December 2020 (with necessary extension when the needs arise), until businesses could resume full operations.

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POST MCO Many businesses, especially in the retailing, manufacturing and servicing industries, have business contractual commitments where their financial commitments will be enforced and legal disputes will take place in abundance which will impact their business survival. MRCA honorary auditor Datuk Seri Raymond Liew said, it was of paramount importance for a Covid-19 Bill/Act (Similar to the Singapore Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act) to be put in place to protect business owners from legal suits when they are unable to fulfill

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their contractual obligations in order to sustain their businesses post-MCO. “Furthermore, the Bill/Act should provide for the sharing of financial burden from owners of shopping malls, shop lots, offices and factory for a reduction in rental. Therefore a Covid-19 Bill has to be introduced to enable businesses to receive temporary relief as many business owners will find themselves unable to fulfill their contractual obligations,” said Datuk Seri Raymond who read out the appeal of the coalition.

TO 1PROHIBITION TAKE LEGAL ACTION

Appropriate measures need to be spelt

out in the proposed Covid-19 Bill/Act to certain contracts that prohibit certain legal actions to be taken between counter parties and/or their guarantors, if the counter parties are unable to perform such contracts due to, a material extent, caused by Covid-19. This includes not only leases (rent) but the supply of constructions materials, performance of private corporate bonds, performance of provision of goods and services for events, performance of goods and services related to tourism, performance of private hire purchase related to factoring service provider and repossession of goods used for the purpose of a trade and business.

Pertinent Points

• The relief imposed by law will save jobs, businesses, companies and investments which will then continue to multiply the economy.

• Contracting parties will not waste time and resources fighting in court over application of doctrine of frustration or meaning of Force majeure Clauses. Hence there will be legal certainty resulting in commercial certainty. • Preserve legal rights such as right of legal action by stopping limitation. This Bill/Act is only a temporary measure till end of the year (or extended as and when the needs arise). When the Bill/Act is passed, the contractual obligations will continue unabated.


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SHARING OF FINANCIAL BURDEN

On the sharing of financial burden, business owners would implore that the rentals be based on Gross Turnover (GTO) sharing for mall and shop rentals during these challenging times until normalcy is in place. If this is not favourable, the Government should consider 80% tax rebate for rental reductions to landlords. The rental reductions would help ensuring the business sustainability for all involved.

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STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES (SOPS)

Allow departmental stores and restaurants to operate under strict SOPs mirroring Hong Kong methodology of no more than 4 people to a table and not more than certain number of guests in the restaurant.

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WAGE SUBSIDY

The current terms and conditions that limit to 200 employees per

company to claim wage subsidy should be removed by SOCSO because all employees, regardless of sector, pay EIS. Furthermore, to qualify for the wage subsidy, we appeal to the Government to remove the conditions attached to the mutual reduction (i.e. pay-cut) of wages between employers and employees to sustain business survival in the private sector.

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PRIVATE SECTOR

Employers must be given the rights to manage its workforce and reign in wage reduction, as the employers see fit. Ultimately, it is the employers who are in in charge of the employee wage welfare. The next 6 to 12-month business will certainly drop due to adverse market conditions hence no businesses can guarantee employment and full wage. Adjustments due to unforeseen circumstances will need to be made based on market conditions. The government should implement this Bill/Act without any delay to protect businesses when Parliament convenes on 18 May 2020.

The Coalition Comprised the Following:

• Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA)

• SME Association of Malaysia (SME Malaysia)

• Malaysia Retail Association (MRA) • Bumiputra Retailers Organisation (BRO)

• ASEAN Retail-Chains & Franchise Federation (ARFF)

• Malaysia Digital Chamber of Commerce (MDCC)

• Branding Association of Malaysia (BAM)

• Bumiputra Retailers Organisation (BRO)

• Persatuan Usahawan Maju Malaysia (PUMM)

• Federation of Malaysian Fashion, Textile and Apparel (FMFTA)

• Malaysia Budget Hotel Association (Mybha)

• Malaysian Hairdressing Association (MHA)

• McMillan Woods Association/ Network of Accountants

MRCA MCO Action Bureau Town Hall Sessions The MRCA MCO Action Bureau (MMAB) held four Town Hall sessions via zoon with its members on how the bureau can assist those whose businesses are affected by the impact of Covid-19 pandemic. During each session held on May 3, 7 and 21, MRCA President Datuk Seri Garry Chua gave his opening remarks followed by Dato Alex Wong, Chairman of MMAB, who highlighted the objectives of the bureau. There were also open discussion, sharing and Q&A sessions. Some of the issues discussed at the sharing session were alternative source of business funding, franchising your business, angel investors, crowd funding and looking for business mentors, among others.

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Rise of e-commerce In Malaysia During Covid-19 The Covid-19 pandemic has made online shopping the new norm, thus making the e-commerce business boom globally as people shift their shopping towards online platforms. Malaysia too, has seen a huge increase in online shopping. A study shows what Malaysians shopped online during the lockdown.

uring the lockdown or the movement control order (MCO) nearly all economic activities in the country had ground to a halt. The only sector that thrived during this period was e-commerce sector. Malaysians turned to online shopping for their needs as there were no shopping malls or shops (except for supermarkets and pharmacies, among others) that were open. Many who had never shopped online started buying things online as well. Now that the MCO has been lifted, many Malaysians are still wary of being in crowded places and would rather shop online.

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THE SURGE IN ONLINE SHOPPING Commerce.Asia Group of Companies, an e-commerce ecosystem of technology and big data solutions, reports that it saw a surge of 149% yearon-year Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) growth in the first quarter since the MCO was introduced. According to the company’s founder and executive chairman, Ganesh Kumar Bangah, e-commerce continues to be one of the few industries that would thrive in such challenging circumstances. The former National Tech Association of Malaysia (PIKOM) Chairman adds that, despite the pandemic, Commerce.Asia ecosystem is seeing a very encouraging spike in this first quarter of the year. “We are seeing significant growth in our

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merchants’ sales across various product categories. While some were practical purchases of essential items, other purchases were complete surprises to us given that the country is undergoing MCO. This change in buying behaviour shows that Malaysians are adapting to the new living situations.” He foresees a permanent change in consumer behaviour with many opting to make their purchases via digital marketplaces even after the MCO is lifted. Even as e-commerce continues to catapult after the implementation of MCO and merchants work tirelessly to keep up with the demand, what were Malaysians really buying online?

Commerce.Asia leveraged its huge database to analyse sales trends (30 days of MCO vs 30 days before MCO) across their merchants. From the graphics, we can discern that the MCO has had a marked effect on the consumers’ purchasing behaviours. With health being a major concern, it was no surprise that latex gloves saw staggering increase in sales as people try to protect themselves from Covid-19. As expected, essential items such as food, toiletries and baby products surged in sales. What was surprising was that the fastest-growing product transacted during the MCO was ladies undergarment!

IMPORTANCE OF LOGISTICS Ordering goods online is one thing, but delivering the goods to the customers on-time is equally important. Ganesh stresses the importance of merchants to be on top of logistics arrangements to ensure on time delivery. “Logistics play a vital role in supporting e-commerce by ensuring efficient processing and delivery of orders. In addition, logistics and transport services support the supply chain of essentials which ensures continuity of daily supply to consumers,” says Ganesh. He adds that the Commerce. Asia ecosystem has been built with this in mind, which is to give a one stop solution to e-commerce merchants from on board to delivery, which would enable merchants to sell quickly and effectively.


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Commerce.Asia comes out as the top e-commerce company in Asia Pacific Malaysia’s Commerce.Asia has emerged as the Top Winner of the APAC CIO Outlook Awards for being the “Best E-commerce Consulting/ Services Company in APAC 2020” among the selected Top 10 companies in the Asia-Pacific region. APAC CIO Outlook is an international print magazine published from the hub of technology, Silicon Valley, with the aim of connecting the region’s various Enterprise IT communities. Ganesh Kumar Bangah, the Founder and Executive Chairman of Commerce.Asia said that he was “humbled to have received such a prestigious international award” and vowed to continue empowering

brands and merchants to realise their fullest potential via e-commerce. “We had set ourselves the high bar by being the region’s most reliable outsourced/managed services provider to enable merchants to get a bigger share of increased consumer demand, and to ensure that they have the fulfilment capabilities to cope with increased demand. “We cover aspects of e-commerce that businesses often have to struggle to learn, including warehousing, payment, delivery, marketing and order management. It’s a commitment to truly remove the stress of working with technology for businesses that may not be so tech savvy,” he added.

He explained that the group’s end-to-end, one-stop solution enables brands and businesses to sell online, while managing all aspects of their online businesses from developing their own online stores to managing product sales across multiple e-marketplaces such as Lazada, Shopee, Lelong, PrestoMall, Amazon and eBay.

WTO report: How the Covid-19 pandemic has affected e-commerce worldwide The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Secretariat has published a new information note looking at how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected e-commerce, including the implications for cross-border trade. The WTO Work Programme defines “electronic commerce” as the production, distribution, marketing, sale or delivery of goods and services by electronic means. It notes the increased use of e-commerce as consumers adapt to lockdowns and social distancing measures and draws attention to several challenges, such as the need to bridge the digital divide within and across countries. Some key points from the report • Enforcement of social distancing, lockdowns and other measures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic has led consumers to ramp up online shopping, social media use, internet telephony and teleconferencing, and streaming of videos and films. • This has resulted in spikes in

business-to-consumer (B2C) sales and an increase in business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce. The increase in B2C sales is evident in online sales of medical supplies, household essentials and food products. • Demand also increased for internet and mobile data services. The network capacity and spectrum to accommodate the shift to online activities has urgently had to be adapted by both operators and governments. Demand has fallen, however, for certain services with a large online component, such as tourism services. • Ecommerce for goods and services trade has been adversely impacted by the same factors that have caused disruption in supply and demand overall. Disruptions resulted in delivery delays or cancellation of orders. Other ecommerce-related challenges include price hikes, product safety concerns, deceptive practices, cybersecurity concerns, the need for increased bandwidth, and development related concerns.

• The pandemic highlighted the need to bridge the digital divide, both within and across countries. Many traditional obstacles have been accentuated and have continued to hamper greater participation in ecommerce activities by small producers, sellers and consumers in developing countries, particularly in least-developed countries. This has underscored the need for efficient and affordable ICT services, such as telecommunication, computer and other IT services and emerging technologies. • Governments have adopted new measures, and the private sector has also acted, to respond to and ensure that ecommerce can help to alleviate some of the challenges faced in combatting the virus. • The pandemic has made it clear that ecommerce can be an important tool/solution for consumers. It can also support small businesses and, by making economies more competitive, be an economic driver for both domestic growth and international trade.

Original Source: WTO News taken from the website eTrade for all (https:etradeforall.org) Malaysia Retailer Vol 8 No 2


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Business Survival after the Pandemic The Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) held a live Facebook panel session on April 13 with guests from MRCA, Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and SME Association of Malaysia, for their views on business survival after the Covid-19 pandemic. SPEAKERS • Datuk Seri Garry Chua, MRCA President • Datuk Michael Kang Hua Keong, National President, SME Association of Malaysia • Datuk Dr AT Kumararajah, Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry MODERATOR • Dato’ Bruce Lim, Deputy Secretary General, MRCA

ENGAGING POLICY MAKERS Since the start of the MCO in mid-March, many associations have been engaging with the government to make the plights and woes of all SMEs, retailers, and businesses heard. With almost no income, businesses are paying overheads such as salaries, rentals, and bank loans, among others. Datuk Seri Garry believes that it is necessary to work together with the government, employers and employees in sharing the burden. Financial institutions, suppliers, statutory contribution bodies and landlords, need to work together to support SMEs and ensure business survival, he stated. “The “mid-to-higher tier” SMEs require further attention by the government because many of them are chain retailers, employing hundreds of employees. They also need to discuss with their respective banks to restructure their loans. He also stated that employers should establish goodwill with their employees by ensuring two-way communication. Picking up on that point, Datuk Michael said that an option was to offer senior employees some shares in the company or let them become a partner in the company in lieu of a full salary. He pointed out that SMEs generally find it hard to claim and get assistance from the government to overcome their loss of income, and it falls on associations like theirs to request help from various ministries. Datuk Kumararajah said the Government’s RM250 billion “Mak Cik

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Kiah” stimulus package, among other measures, achieved a “higher level of coverage” by “managing the demand side”, while acknowledging that Putrajaya might have overestimated the ability of SMEs as a “relatively resilient” group. He suggested that the Government have a “single window of implementation” in place for its SME crisis. Datuk Michael recommended that the government emulate the practices of the UK, and make transparent the financial assistance situation surrounding acceptance and rejection rates.

WINNING THE HEARTS OF RETAILERS On how businesses should behave, Datuk Kumararajah called for a “transparent” approach that focused on negotiations. Connecting to Datuk Kumararajah points, Datuk Seri Garry cited the example of Sunway Malls and their 2-week rent-free period having a rippling influence across other malls in the industry – each following suit with a rent-free or rent-reduction programme that benefits the long-term relationship with its tenants. He added that the 15% discount from Tenaga Nasional could have been as high as 30-50%, so as to help malls “cushion part of their expenses”. On the Special Relief Fund, Datuk Kumararajah said that it covered only a small percentage of the SMEs in the country. “It was never a medium-term

solution, instead it was intended to merely cover liquidity needs in April.” He said that immediate drawdown was necessary to ensure that the purpose of the SRF was not defeated at the waiting line. Observing that consumers are taking their shopping online, Datuk Michael opined that the RM500 million business digitalisation grant from the government was a timely opportunity for SMEs to retool, but recommended that a revision in the number of beneficiaries so that more SMEs could make the change. According to Datuk Seri Garry, consumers are increasingly skewed towards takeaways and deliveries. Grab and Foodpanda have seen delivery volumes pick-up by a factor of 10 “compared to normal days”, even though many restaurants did not score very well throughout this period.

DIGITAL PATH As for business opportunities, Datuk Michael pointed out that SMEs should consider going on a digital path by leveraging existing governmental assistance. “With changes in customer behaviour, the business model has to change as well,” he said. He also stated that the government should work together with businesses to build up a sustainable and selfsufficient ecosystem within the country, instead of relying mainly on imports. Datuk Kumararajah pointed out that SMEs realise that technology is accessible and affordable, but it’s the back end that does not match in terms of the processes. “Our processes were not aligned to work from home,” he said. However, he expressed confidence that industries would take a permanent step forward through reimagined business models in this medium-term isolation economy. New legislation and regulation must be enacted to complement and compensate the “new level of business”, he added.


SPEAKERS

Datuk Seri Garry Chua, President, MRCA

MODERATOR

Datuk Wira (Dr.) Hj. Ameer Ali bin Mydin, Vice President Bumiputra Retailers Organisation (BRO)

n 7 April 2020, a day after the government announced the 4th PRIHATIN economic stimulus package to aid SMEs and micro-businesses, MRCA held a webinar on the dynamics of this stimulus package. During the session Dato’ Garry Chua pointed out that about 98.5% of businesses in Malaysia are SMEs, and these businesses support 6 million workers, while contributing one-third of Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP). In the wake of COVID-19 and the MCO, he explains that entrepreneurs should focus on what “you want to change”, not what “you cannot control”. Touching on the stimulus package, Datin Winnie opines that the package is good for micro-enterprises and has helped industries to a fair extent, despite its limitations. She also points out that certain companies are left out from the stimulus as they are neither small nor big, hence they do not fit into the SME spectrum. While lauding the government’s efforts in reaching out to SMEs, Datuk Wira Ameer recommends that the government distribute the RM2.1 billion PRIHATIN special grant strategically to ensure that the money goes towards the restoration of businesses. Dato’ Sri Tan Thian Poh conjectures that many businesses pay out most of their cash on rent, supplies, and wages leaving aside cash in hand which, at a “maximum”, allows them to “survive

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Dato’ Sri Tan Thian Poh, Chairman, Federation of Malaysian Fashion, Textile and Apparel (FMFTA)

Datin Winnie Loo, Deputy President, Branding Association of Malaysia (BAM)

for one month”. He suggests that the government look into cash flow problems of the bigger players as they may not have sufficient reserves. The discussion also touched on the possibility of tax deductions for landlords offering rental discounts of more than 30%, which is one of the biggest concerns apart from salaries. Datuk Seri Garry said that many of MRCA’s members operate in malls, with hefty rentals. Therefore, on behalf of retailers, he calls for more malls to reduce or waive rent payments to ensure that their tenants stay and continue to operate. To this, Datuk Wira Hj. Ameer, who owns 27 malls, and whose business is also a tenant in many locations, feels that tenants and landlords (including REITs and their trustees) should have the “heart” by not charging rent during the MCO, when businesses are already hurt. On the subject of economic rebound, Datin Winnie believes that restarting the economy after the MCO would require “Malaysians to help Malaysia”, by supporting homegrown industries, businesses, and by making holiday plans within the country in order to fuel economic recovery. With the COVID-19 pandemic at play, consumers are fearful thus avoiding crowds and non-essential shopping, which in turn affects the retail industry. Dato’ Sri Tan shared that the Hari Raya season has always been very important for the textile industry,

Dato’ KK Chua, Founder & CEO of Armani Media

accounting for about 35 to 40% of sales for an entire year. An extended MCO is not good for certain retailers, particularly those who depend on peak seasons to meet annual sales targets, as the MCO will pressure buyers to cancel, or divert orders to other countries “which are not shut down”. On employer-employee relationships and negotiations, Datuk Seri Garry said, “negotiations are an avenue to alleviate issues between employers and employees.” He recommends allowing employees to be remunerated for whatever losses or deficit suffered during the MCO following its conclusion, when the company might have new contracts or a returning surge of sales eventually. “Everyone must sacrifice – the banks, the landlords, the government and staff. All parties must compromise in certain ways to make sure we get through this difficult period. “Lastly, it’s a test of compassion, kindness to each other, and gratitude. This should be the time to contribute to make sure everyone sails through,” stresses Datuk Seri Garry. In supporting Datuk Seri Garry’s statement, Datuk Wira Hj. Ameer said at his company, all directors are required to take a 100% pay cut. In concluding the session, the speakers resonate that this trying period is a test of resilience, compassion and unity to keep each other afloat in business.

Malaysia Retailer Vol 8 No 2

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Stimulus Package #4 PRIHATIN PKS: “What’s in it for SMEs?”

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Smartphone Sales Continue to Grow in Southeast Asia Consumers in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam bought 1.2 million more smartphones in 2019, says research company GfK.

outheast Asia’s smartphone sales volume rose by one per cent in 2019 amidst the two per cent decline in global demand. Overall, consumers across six of the region’s key markets snapped up nearly 97 million units of the device worth US$23 billion last year, a growth of four per cent in sales value compared to 2018. Malaysia and Singapore grew at the same rate for both smartphone sales value and volume at 13 per cent and 11 per cent respectively. Meanwhile, Thailand recorded a higher value over volume growth, at 13 per cent versus 6 per cent, while the Philippines’ growth stood at 5 per cent in value and 3 per cent in volume. Only Vietnam and Indonesia reported negative growth in the single-digit range. “Over the years, consumers in the region have always been showing keen interest when it comes to mobile handsets, with many owning more than one set or changing their smartphone frequently,” explained Alexander Dehmel, Associate Director at GfK.  “It should be highlighted that the higher value over volume growth recorded in the Southeast Asian smartphone market indicates that consumers are upgrading their devices, a trend that has been observed in recent years,” he added.

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Consumers’ fixation with their smartphones also stems from the fact that in many markets, the device has become an integral part of the shopper journey. For instance, GfK’s latest FutureBuy report revealed that in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest market, over three-fifth (64%) of respondents agreed that their smartphone/tablet is their most important online shopping tool. In addition, more than half (58%) said they prefer to use their mobile device to pay for transactions – an affirmation that smartphones are increasingly playing a more dominant role in consumers’ daily life.   Innovations have been defining the smartphone market over the years and this is the area where easy-tograsp improvements are taking place. Following the mantra “the more, the better”, smartphone features continue to offer more and improved capabilities. One of the major technological advances, which is closely related to performance and experiences, is 5G. “5G will be a hot topic this year, with Singapore spearheading the launch of this high-speed network in 2020. We can expect to see a lot of buzz around 5G network and also anticipate the market to be heating up with lots of promotions around new 5G smartphone models,” Dehmel said.

With the enhanced capabilities of in-phone cameras and their ability to capture high-quality images and videos, consumers prefer models with large internal storage to accommodate more media, making it one of the most important features consumers look out for when purchasing a smartphone. Nearly one-fifth (20%) of all devices sold have 128GB of storage or more, compared to only 6 per cent in the previous year. Singapore (18%) and Malaysia (6%) led the way for the highest proportion of sales coming from devices with internal storage of 256GB and above. “Under normal circumstances, we would expect to see market performance in the region continuing its upward trend with even bigger and better phones being launched to satisfy consumers’ insatiable appetite for new devices,” commented Dehmel. “However, the Covid-19 situation will temporarily affect market performance in the region, and even globally. The impact of the coronavirus on global supply chains and production capacities along with weaker demand is likely to slow but not stop the growth of the category in Southeast Asia.”


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MRCA NEWS THAT APPEARED IN THE MEDIA RECENTLY

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Malaysia Retailer Vol 8 No 1

Profile for Harini Management Services Sdn Bhd

Malaysia Retailer|Vol 8|No 2|2020|Datuk Seri Garry Chua  

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