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Vol 5 No 4 2017

Exciting Week at MIRF 2017 Learn From The Best at The MRCA Retail Conference 2017 Sunway Malls Celebrates 20th Anniversary

WM RM9 / EM RM11

Turning 25 with Pomp & Grandeur

SITTING AT THE HEAD OF THE TABLE Dato’ Goh Cheh Yak, Founder and Group Managing Director of





MIRF 2017


6 Sitting At The Head Of

DEPARTMENTS 5 President’s Message

46 Member Updates

48 MRCA In The News

49 Event Calendar

The Table

The Service Industry

Massage chair specialist GINTELL (M) Sdn Bhd rises to the top, outlasting its bigger competitors.

Berjaya University College of Hospitality offers its students skills and knowledge to succeed.

30 First Look Into The DFTZ

FEATURES 12 Malaysia International Retail And Franchise Exhibition 2017

Get all the information and happenings at the most exciting retail fair in Malaysia.

18 MRCA Retail Conference

Highlights Digital Age

MRCA Retail Conference speakers urge online adoption among retailers in Malaysia.

22 Panel 1: Digital Transformers ON THE COVER

How to successfully navigate a complicated digital landscape.

23 Panel 2: Wholesale Shakers

Adapting technology advancement to meet changing demands.

24 Panel 3: Standing Out

Unique selling points are vital for success.

25 Panel 4: Young And Bold

The next generation shares how to keep millennials engaged.

26 20 Years And Still Standing GINTELL (M) Sdn Bhd Founder and Group Managing Director Dato’ Goh Cheh Yak Photography: Song @Picture This Studio

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28 Seeking A Career In

Sunway Malls marks its 20th year milestone.

SMEs to benefit from Malaysia’s first digital global trading platform.

32 Running Things Differently

Feruni opens its ninth store.

34 Dressed For Success

PJ Uniform Sdn Bhd continues to provide quality wear for students.

36 Share The Passion

Sunrider International spreads the word on good health, beauty and life.

37 Nelson’s International Reach

Company to export products to various countries around the world.

38 Poh Kong Continues To Shine

Jeweller’s commitment to quality has cemented its pole position in the market.

39 Refreshing Japanese cuisine

Nana’s Green Tea offers a wide variety of matcha desserts and unique dishes.

40 Meet The Oral Hygiene Experts

Fulian (M) Sdn Bhd, now a respectable world class manufacturer.

42 Rejuvenating Chow Kit

Creating new landmark for old Kuala Lumpur.

44 Top-notch Mall Management

Suria KLCC Sdn Bhd runs three highly successful malls in Malaysia.



Malaysia Retailer Vol 4 No1

MRCA Corporate Patrons



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 Dato’ Garry K.S. Chua ROTOL FOOD-CHAIN (M) SDN BHD






MALAYSIA RETAILER is produced for MRCA by

HARINI MANAGEMENT SERVICES SDN BHD (609031-W) W-9-12, Menara Melawangi, Amcorp Trade Centre, 18, Persiaran Barat, 46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Tel: 603-7932 3259 Email: harini.mservices@gmail.com www.harini.com.my Publisher/CEO V.S. Ganesan Senior Editor Vimala Seneviratne Editor Khaw Chia Hui Creative Designer Goh Wei Lee Advertising Consultant Faridah Ismail Marketing Manager Karthik Ganesan PRINTER PERCETAKAN LAGENDA SDN BHD (406003-A) No. 4 & 6, Jalan Tembaga SD5/2B , Sri Damansara Industrial Park, 52200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 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 © 2017 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.

5 President’s Message

President’s Message Dear esteemed MRCA members,

Dato’ Garry KS Chua, President, 2016-Present, Malaysia Retail Chain Association

It has been a fantastic and record-breaking time for MRCA the past few months. I would like to congratulate all the Organising Chairpersons for the success of their respective events. What they pulled off is nothing short of amazing. Dato’ Liew Bin has done it again, taking our MIRF 2017 to greater heights. His leadership resulted in a highly successfully and talked-about show for local and international retailers, franchisors, franchisees and supporting service providers. It attracted more local and international exhibitors compared with the inaugural event last year. Due to the overwhelming response, we will hold MIRF 2018 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. I would like to record my personal heartfelt gratitude to the KPDNKK Minister Dato’ Seri Hamzah Zainudin for taking time out to launch and tour our show, as well as MITI Minister Dato’ Sri Mustapha Mohamed for opening the MRCA Retail Conference and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong for closing the auspicious event. Credit goes to Dato’ Bruce Lim for his efforts in ensuring the event was held to the highest of standards. The Up Close and Personal with the Media event, helmed by Shirley Tay, saw a full house of top media representatives that provided networking opportunities for MRCA members. Thank you also to Datin Flora Tan, MRCA Corporate Social Responsibility chairperson, for helping to raise RM10,000 in cash and kind for widow Nurul Ain Razak and her five children. Also, we are pleased that MRCA Foundation, under the leadership of Dato’ Tay Sim Kim, donated RM30,000 to the Ti-Ratana Welfare Society (see page 24). The annual golf charity event at Tropicana Golf & Country Club saw corporate bigwigs and MRCA members come together for an afternoon on the course to raise funds for the underprivileged. We donated RM10,000 each to six organisations. Thank you Organising Chairman, Dato’ Alex Wong, for your effort. The MRCA Deepavali Charity event saw 30 underprivileged families receiving donations and cash from MRCA. They were also treated to lunch and activities organised for the families to have a good time. The most anticipated and historical event of the year is our 25th Anniversary Dinner. We are proud to be celebrating this milestone with a record membership of 430 to date. Organising Chairwomen, Dato’ Winnie Lim and our Deputy President Valerie Choo, are working very hard to ensure that everyone will have a memorable time. I hope to see MRCA garner 500 members before we greet 2018. I’m confident we can achieve it together. Our Annual Charity Run in November is expected to attract a record number of participants to raise funds for selected charity homes. We will close the year with the annual Christmas charity visit to a charity home in December. I would like to thank everyone for contributing in one way or another to make MRCA a successful association. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year 2018 and may we reach greater milestones in the coming year.


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In Focus


SITTING AT THE HEAD OF THE TABLE From its humble beginnings, massage chair specialist GINTELL (M) Sdn Bhd has risen to the top, lasting longer than its bigger competitors. Photography Song@Picture This

stablished in 1996, it is the brainchild of Dato' Goh Cheh Yak, who comes from a truly humble background. Before the company became a household name for massage and health products, Dato' Goh was a jack of all trades. When sharing the reason why he decided to run his own business, he said it was simply because he could not find a job then, on top of not being able to finish school. In fact, it wasn’t even called GINTELL when Dato’ Goh started his own business in the 1990s. It started with Intelljaya. He had an outlet in Sungei Wang Plaza, Kuala Lumpur, selling all manner of household products. One could find water filters, coolers, safety boxes, television and monitor filters, water heaters and so on. His company survived the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 and in the postcrisis economy, demand for healthcare products picked up. On March 28, 2003, Intelljaya was rebranded as GINTELL, with a focus on healthcare products such as massage chairs and treadmills and even changing the look of its outlets to reflect the new direction. “We restructured our products and focused more on healthcare products. We concentrated on our massage and fitness products,” he said. To ensure his new direction starts out with a bang, GINTELL launched eight new concept stores and started selling massage chairs he sourced from Taiwan under the brand.


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“Back then massage chairs were luxury items. Each was highly priced as they were made in Japan. They were out of reach for the middle income class. I bought in more affordable ones that were manufactured in Taiwan.” This move did not only helped GINTELL gain market share, but established a strong brand identity for GINTELL. Learning his lesson from

"Advertising is not enough. GINTELL invests a lot in staff training and after sales service so customers can truly experience our products in our outlets." - Dato' Goh Cheh Yak

running Intelljaya, Dato' Goh knew he had to capitalise on his company's rise. “That’s why we have set aside an adequate budget to promote our brand in these 20 years. “All the profit goes back to promoting our brand. So we don’t gain much profit but we gain on the branding. It’s for the long term. We have to invest in our brand,” he said,

“We have spent nothing less than RM50 million to RM60 million over the past 20 years in advertising and promotions.” “Advertising is not enough. GINTELL investes a lot in staff training and after sales service so customers can truly experience our products in our outlets. Also we invested more than RM10 million into a new business with the first bank note acceptor Vending Massage Chair 'Rest N Go' Stations. It started at most of the shopping malls, airports, transportation hub and anywhere with significant foot traffic. “We don’t profit financially having these massage chairs in these areas. The fee covers just part of the maintenance cost. More importantly, we want the public to experience what a massage chair can do.” The company introduced its first “Rest & Go” stations in Selayang Mall and Summit USJ in 2009. Consumers could get a good three-minute massage for just RM1. The response was extremely favourable, and within two years, GINTELL had 2,000 such chairs installed all around the country in shopping malls, airports and rest areas. Currently, there are more than 6,500 units of such vending massage chairs across Malaysia and over 2,500 in “Rest N Go” spots in Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Brunei and Philippines.

NOT RESTING ON HIS LAURELS Dato' Goh did not sit on his massage chairs. For the past three years, GINTELL experienced an astounding 20% per


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In Focus


annum growth in revenue. Today, the brand's revenue is upwards of RM100 million. “Honestly, I spend 90% of my time on work and business.” It was widely reported that many retailers were hit badly when GST was implemented in April 2015 and the subsequent depreciation of the ringgit and falling fuel prices. To cushion the adverse effects, GINTELL introduced new sofa chairs with massage functionalities at affordable prices and flexible payment schemes.

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Needless to say, those products did very well with the public. “The demand for massage items is here to stay. After a long day at work, people want to unwind and relax at home too. When times were good, people opt for the top of the line chairs, but during challenging times, they go for the mid-range items. “Although the prices are much more affordable than our top of the line products, the core massage mechanics are the same. What you might be

paying extra are for the added features and luxurious finishing that go with the higher end models,” he said at his headquarters in Bandar Sri Damansara, Kuala Lumpur. “Our best selling products are still our massage chairs series. We have a brand new line of massage sofas. It comes with the different designs: Devano S, SL and SV. These modern designs and luxury finishing come with a wide range of colours and are easily matched with home interiors.


“We will be focusing to grow the business via Online-to-Offline to enable customers to experience our products at our 111 showrooms nationwide."

“Besides the Sofa series, we have recently launched a few of the best massage chairs in the market, DeSpace UFO and DeSpace Moon. This range of massage chairs will definitely give you an out-of-the-world experience.” Currently, the DéSpace UFO massage chair is GINTELL's flagship product, priced at RM25,000. Dato’ Goh assures us this model is currently the best in the market, hence its price. To further enhance its product line, In 2006 GINTELL began investing in its own

designers while continuously working in the development with manufacturers overseas. As for manufacturing them in Malaysia, Dato' Goh has this to say: “I would love nothing more than to have Made in Malaysia products, but the cost is high, and scale is also an issue. Besides, I've established very good working relationships with my fellow manufacturers over the years.” “We launch two or three products each year. The market has become so competitive that we need to address the market demand and trends quickly. When we first started, a model can sustain sales for two to three years, but not any more. “Every year, we invest more than RM3 million in Research & Development of new products. So our R&D and design team and supply chain have to be in sync to ensure we meet product launch dates.” For his leadership and hard work, GINTELL was recognised by the Malaysia Book of Records as the “Largest Health Care Products Chain Store”. Also, GINTELL won four awards at The Star Outstanding Business Award (SOBA) including the coveted “Malaysian Business of the Year” award in 2015. This was the biggest achievement of the year at SOBA, an award which supports SMEs. GINTELL also garnered two Gold awards and one Silver award in the category of “Best in Marketing”, “Best Brand” and “Best Innovation” in its winning sweep. The company also made it to the “Most Promising” category in 2014.

PLANS AHEAD Dato' Goh also shared with us the company's vision for the coming year. “In 2018, we continue to aspire for more

people to enjoy good health. Thus, it is our desire for every household to be able to own and use our healthcare products. “To achieve that, we have launched the Hi-5 Rental Plan in July. This is an easy payment plan which constitutes 36 months of payment even for consumers without credit cards and it's interest free. Instead of buying, you can now rent a massage chair.” GINTELL is the first company in this region offering this rental facility for massage chairs. “We will also be focusing to grow the business via Online-to-Offline to enable customers to experience our products at our 111 showrooms nationwide. “As for our vending massage chair business, we will continue to expanding especially to overseas markets to create brand awareness and at the same time, enhance customers’ experience of our products. “We will also target to open at least 10 more branches of our boutique hotel, SOVOTEL which are also equipped with our very own healthcare products, such as massage beds, massage chairs and foot massagers."

EXPANSION BEYOND MALAYSIA Dato’ Goh might have stumbled his way into entrepreneurship but he has been steering his company with a decisive hand. There are “15 years expansion plans” in place, not just in Malaysia but the ASEAN region and in a decade or so – Asia. “Currently, we have expanded our overseas operations to five countries in Southeast Asia – Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Brunei. We are the No. 1 vending massage chair player in this region too.

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In Focus


GINTELL Ambassador Simon Yam

GINTELL Ambassador Amber Chia.

GINTELL Ambassador Dato' Jalaludin Hassan.


GINTELL Ambassador Ayda Jebat.

Dato' Goh with the trophies. Gintell won the “Malaysian Business of the Year” award, two Gold awards and one Silver award under the “Best in Marketing”, “Best Brand” and “Best Innovation” categories, respectively.

“Our objective is to enhance customer experience with our massage chairs to people from all walks of life. Besides the vending massage business, we have also ventured into the retailing business in Vietnam and Philippines, soon to be followed by openings in other countries. “We will be looking into Indonesia, Cambodia and Myanmar next year too.” He says no one business can afford to stay still without an aim to improve itself. An outlook of being "driven by necessity" has brought Dato' Goh more success than he thought possible when he first started but the need to continue moving upwards is paramount. Even in such economic uncertainties,

he has no qualms marching on beyond the Malaysian market. “I think this is a very good opportunity for us to tap into the overseas market especially during this time where our ringgit is soft. Developing countries like Vietnam and Philippines are markets with lots of potential. "Capitalising on our vast 20 years of retail experience, we will continue to strengthen brand confidence through educating members of the public and our consumers on the importance of healthcare. “Competition does exist everywhere but we are confident that our products' uniqueness and reasonable pricing will enable us to grow our market share.”

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GINTELL launched its Hi5 Rental Plan that enable everyone to own a massage chair at home interestfree and with zero credit limit. The Hi5 Rental Plan constitutes 36 months of payment with benefits that include a free gift, a three-year free service and warranty, zero credit limit, zero credit card interest, and a flexible upgrade plan. This means buyers do not have to pay for the repair due to natural damages incurred during the warranty period. Throughout the warranty period, customers can contact GINTELL’s customer service hotline to seek free technical assistance if there is any problem with the massage chair. At the same time, after paying off the full rental amount and at the expiration of the three-year rental period, the customer only needs to pay a token sum of RM1 to buy the massage chair. If he wishes to own a new model of massage chair, he can rent the new model at a special discount, courtesy from the Hi5 flexible upgrade plan. The monthly rental ranges from RM88 to RM388.


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Malaysia International Retail and Franchise Exhibition 2017 Get all the information and happenings at the most exciting retail fair in Malaysia.

From left: Mr Li Jih Tung, President of Taiwan’s Association of Chain and Franchise Promotion, Dato’ Liew Bin, MIRF 2017’s Organising Chairman, Dato’ Seri Hamzah bin Zainudin, Minister of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism, Dato’ Garry Chua, MRCA’s President, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Leong Hoy Kum, Mah Sing’s Group Managing Director / Group Chief Executive, Dato’ Liaw Choon Liang, MRCA’s Immediate Past President.

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he Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) held its official opening ceremony of the 2nd Malaysia International Retail & Franchise (MIRF) Exhibition on July 13 at Mid Valley Exhibition Centre (MVEC), Kuala Lumpur. The event was officiated by Dato’ Seri Hamzah Zainudin, Minister of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism, after which he took an extended tour of the exhibition. MRCA has managed to achieve its aim of becoming the biggest showcase of retail exhibitors that Malaysia has ever seen with an exciting display of the best and most established retail brands – all under one roof through its MIRF 2017. Notable brands include Gintell, Donutes Malaysia, Marrybrown, Nelson’s Franchise, Oppo Electronics and many others. Dato’ Garry Chua, MRCA President, said, “we are proud that MRCA successfully raised the bar with a 10% growth of exhibitors for the second edition of MIRF, attracting more than 260 exhibitors, including exhibitors from Taiwan, Singapore, China, the Philippines and other Asian countries as well as more than 20,000 visitors.” Themed “Breaking Boundaries”, MRCA continues to complement the needs of every professional with numerous educational features and business networking opportunities via the MIRF 2017. In line with MRCA’s direction for cross-border retail




28 Mall launch with Amber Chia at MIRF 2017.

expansion plan, MIRF sets Malaysia as the ideal international retail and franchise hub to seek potential investors and partners. Dato’ Liew Bin, MIRF 2017 Organising Chairman said, “The fourday event presents a fantastic platform for those within the industry to interact, transact, and forge new collaborations. It will also provide an in-depth focus on the next wave of retail, franchising, licensing, technology, future role of in-store, and the vital engagement between the retailers and consumers. There was an overwhelming number of sponsorship and support for MIRF this year. Mah Sing’s Group Managing Director, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Leong Hoy

Dato’ Seri Ivan Teh receiving a token of appreciation from Dato’ Garry. Looking on are Dato’ Seri Hamzah Zainudin and Dato’ Liaw.

Kum shared “Mah Sing is proud to be the diamond sponsor for the MIRF Exhibition 2017. The retail and franchise industry is an important part of our nation’s economy and this exhibition is a positive move to spur growth. We also felt it was timely for us to launch our Business Incentive Grant programme for our commercial projects.” At the event, ManagePay Systems Bhd launched the MRCA Ringgit Rewards MasterCard Card. The MasterCard Prepaid Card allows customers to load a desired amount, which can then be used in lieu of cash at participating MRCA outlets and receive purchase benefits such as immediate discounts or cash backs.

Parry Ong from Mastercard receiving a token of appreciation from Dato’ Seri Hamzah Zainudin. Looking on are Dato’ Chew Chee Seng of MPay and Dato’ Garry.

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At the Banner King booth.

MPay booth.

Group photo at the Taiwan pavilion.

At the Nelson’s booth.

Also at the event, MIRF 2017 diamond sponsor Mah Sing Group Bhd launched its Business Incentive Grant programme for the group’s commercial products. The programme will provide eligible applicants with business grants of maximum RM800,000 each should they purchase one of Mah Sing’s six participating projects. Meanwhile, at the press conference, Dato’ Garry agreed that the domestic retail industry needs to hire more locals instead of depending on foreign workers too much in light of the country’s foreign labour shortage. He admitted while the issue needs a long-term solution, retailers need to kickstart the process by prioritising locals when recruiting. “On the retail side, we should try to have more locals on the front line. We also need more locals for the backend, but sometimes we have no choice as locals are not interested in those jobs. “It is a process we’re encouraging retailers to get on board with. But it is a complex problem,” he added.

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Group photo at the Chakri Palace booth.

In an attempt to address the problem, the government in February last year suspended recruitment of all foreign workers, but lifted the ban three months later for the manufacturing, construction, plantation and furnituremaking sectors due to an acute shortage of labour. “It’s not something that can be resolved overnight, but what is

important is to start the process now, to alleviate the dependency on foreign workers. There are many in Malaysia and the distribution is not balanced across different sectors,” he said. He noted certain sectors such as construction and furniture production, typically hire more foreign staff than others, thus they would require a different solution to solve the issue.




DATO’ SERI HAMZAH ZAINUDIN The exhibition, in its second year, had shown good improvement from its first edition. The number and quality of exhibitors have improved compared to last year and there are also representatives from other countries. The retail sector is one of the most important sectors in the country and a need for retailers and small and medium enterprises to keep improving. These businesses accounted for 65% of the nation’s employment. I would like to see the industry create more jobs. By doing this, it will give confidence to the people about our country and will attract people from all over the world.

First, I would like to thank Dato’ Seri Hamzah for delaying his flight to another meeting overseas to help launch our exhibition. Last year, the same thing happened. He was kind enough to make time in his full schedule to attend the opening ceremony. In his current role as Minister of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism, he has initiated a programme to help the SME industry, especially the retail sector. Despite the very challenging market conditions, we successfully filled up all our booth space, which is a testament to the hard work the organising committee has put in. Last year was a good start for us. The MIRF 2016 fair recorded RM50mil in sales. The success of each exhibition depends heavily on all our MRCA members, especially the past presidents, support from Dato’ Seri Hamzah and his ministry, Tourism Malaysia, overseas partners, exhibitors and more. I cannot thank you all enough.

MIRF 2017 ORGANISING CHAIRMAN DATO’ LIEW BIN I would like to thank all our sponsors, including Mah Sing, Tourism Malaysia, KPDNKK, our Immediate Past President Dato’ Liaw and Past Presiden Datuk Seri Nelson Kwok (because they are the ones who initiated this event), overseas supporters, especially Taiwan and its Association of Chain and Franchise Promotion President Richard Li Jih Tung, Singapore and other countries. I would like to thank my team for working day and night to make this exhibition a success. Of course there is one person I need to thank immensely – our MRCA President Dato’ Garry Chua, who without his help and guidance, I would not be able to run the ship. I’m happy to report that the immediate return of MIRF 2017 is tagged at RM15 million while we are expecting up to RM100 million generated from the fair in the long-term.

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16 He also stressed on the importance of engagement between the government and the relevant industry stakeholders to structure a longerterm solution that would benefit both the government and the private sector without being too costly. Last year’s exhibition, the MIRF 2016, was truly a success with more than 230 booths comprising of international and local exhibitors from across Asia and over 15,000 visitors. MIRF 2017 is proudly organised in collaboration with Mah Sing Group as Diamond sponsor; Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism & Tourism Malaysia as supporting sponsors; and MRCA Corporate Patrons – Maxis, Malayan Banking, Fusionex and Mastercard. Terminus booth.

Singapore pavilion.

Marrybrown booth.

The Manhattan Fish Market booth.

MK Curtain booth.

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RAYMOND WOO, Managing Director, Arori Malaysia Sdn Bhd “MIRF is an excellent platform for Malaysian retailers and franchisors to find partners to pivot to higher growth. Not just Malaysia but internationally.”

LOW HAN NING, Co-founder and CEO, CNC Holdings Sdn Bhd (Churrz) “This is our first time participating and the reason joining MIRF is to get more exposure for our brand. We have been around for one-and-a-half years and this is the right time to expand our business. “Ours is the licensing model, giving the right for partners to use our branding, products and services, not as strict as true franchise models. We would ensure standardisation across the board. “Since we’re new to the market, our startup cost is much lower, giving the younger generation easier entry to owning a small F&B business.”

RHYMER KIM, Malaysian Branch Office Director, Korea Entertainment Media Inc “We are a media company from South Korea and we are looking for opportunities to launch our flagship 10+Star magazine in Malaysia as well as our 10 Lounge. “The magazine is currently distributed in several countries outside of South Korea. Malaysia is an interesting market for us as there are a high number of Kpop fans who are interested in our entertainment industry and Korean popular culture. We are hoping to find a local partner to enhance our distribution channels. “The 10 Lounge, it will be a retail outlet, selling Kpop style merchandise. We are looking forward to launching our store soon.”

DATO’ ERIC TAI, Finance Director & General Manager, Nelson’s Franchise (M) Sdn Bhd “We are here to enhance our new products, especially the Space Freeze Dried Corn. You can have them as healthy snacks. You don’t steam it or cook so it retains all the original nutrients. In fact, you get more, nutrient-wise. “We are also marketing our franchise. Our latest franchisee is in Nigeria and we are targetting to open up at least 10 outlets in the country in two years. “We ship everything from Malaysia, to 16 countries for now. We don’t have any processing plants or factories elsewhere. This way, we can ensure stringent quality control.”

CHEOW CHENG WAH, Managing Director, Ramaicorp Services Sdn Bhd “Our products cater to a very niche market and this is our first time exhibiting here. We are hoping to raise awareness and issues on cash handling and security, since the retail industry is still relying more on cash transactions.”

STANLEY TAN, Chief Principal, STC Education Group Bhd “This is our second time at MIRF. Last year, we had many queries which encouraged us to return. This year, we signed on as the master franchisee for Shane English School, from Taiwan. “The franchise complements my existing business of tuition centres and daycare. Our teachers are native speakers from Europe, which I feel gives us an edge over our competition. “MIRF helps our business a lot, learning from the other successful businessmen who are also MRCA members.”

LUCAS SEAK, Operation Director, Baagus Curtains “At MIRF 2017, we are pushing our latest starter kit, with a low entry level at RM1,000. You don’t need an outlet and keep stock. “With the kit, you can conduct your business anywhere. Show your customers the choices they have, get the measurements and send the orders to us. If there’s a need you can always bring customers to our showrooms. “There is no need to do any manufacturing. We control the workmanship quality and production. They might just need to do some simple installation at the client’s premises. With this, you can have minimal cash flow issues.”

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17 Feature




MRCA Retail Conference Highlights Digital Age

Speakers urge online adoption among retailers in Malaysia.

econd edition of the MRCA Retail Conference was held at The Gardens Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on July 12, a day ahead of the MIRF exhibition 2017. Themed “Innovation: The Future is Now”, it was focused on driving change and positive disruption using strategies and technologies that enables individuals and organisations to succeed in the competitive and shifting retail landscape. With this conference, it provided a learning platform for retailers, SMEs and academicians to understand the change and the need to change in the retail market.


After a scrumptious lunch, the conference’s opening ceremony saw the International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed grace the event. In his speech, Mustapa said the government launched the Productivity Blueprint a couple of months ago and has set up three groups of Productivity Nexus, in which one is a Productivity Nexus for retail, and food and beverage to be led by the private sector. The Nexus also comprises organisations such as MRCA, Bumiputra Retail Organisation, Malaysia Franchise Association among others, in partnership with the government.

Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed launching the MRCA Retail Conference 2017.

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“We recognise the importance of the retail and F&B sectors, which employ no less than 2.5 billion people and contribute 8.3% to GDP. Having said that, labour productivity in many of the sectors in the country is one of the lowest, therefore we formed the Productivity Nexus, which is about sharing of best practices,” Mustapa said. He added that innovation is important for retailers to move with the times and to be ahead of the curve, with digital being the way forward. While in his welcoming speech MRCA President Dato’ Garry Chua said online adoption among Malaysian retailers is still relatively low, but the initiative



Datuk Seri Idris Jala.

to start thinking and adopting digital strategies is there. He said members are putting their products for sale online and gauging feedback from online channels. “Some of our members have started adopting online initiatives but it takes time to pick up. But it’s a good start. Since the government is bringing in Alibaba, we have to rely on that wave to benefit the retailers and SMEs to the maximum,” he said. He added that online sales contribution is growing, but on a gradual mode. “This depends on the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ). If it kicks off faster, the process (online sales) will be faster. We’re looking at the next three years (for a pick-up in online sales). Definitely a double-digit growth for online after this.” Despite the growing importance of e-commerce, he said brick-and-mortar stores will not totally lose its presence. “You have to fine-tune the balancing game. Countries like the US, Singapore and Malaysia always have a supply of malls, so some have to be wiped out. It’s like a rationalisation process. You can’t have too many, so there’s a balancing of online and offline.” After the opening ceremony, the conference continued with the last session. Towards the end of the night, the conference welcomed another important guest to participate in the closing ceremony. The audience were taken with

Datuk Yasmin Mahmood.

Dato’ Seri Ivan Teh.

From left: Dato’ Bruce Lim, the Organising Chairman of Retail Conference 2017,Miss Valerie Choo, MRCA Deputy President, Dato’ Sri Mustapa bin Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Dato’ Garry Chua, MRCA President, Dato’ Liaw Choon Liang, MRCA Immediate Past President.

Dato’ Bruce Lim, the Organising Chairman of Retail Conference 2017 “We are privileged to be exposed to and engaged with some of the best known minds and brands from across the globe. There are takeaways from leading figures on transformation and digital economy. “Whether you are a startup, looking for inspiration to grow your business, introducing an international name to our local market, or a student learning the ropes, there is something each of you can take home.” “I would like to thank all our VIPs – International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong – for spending their time at our conference. “Also I would like to extend my gratitude to MRCA President Dato’ Garry Chua and fellow Council Members as well as my team for their relentless support and encouragement.”

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From Left: Dato’ Liaw, Dato’ Sri Nelson Kwok, Dato’ Tay Sim Kim, Datuk Albert Chiang, Michael Teoh, Panel Moderator, Nicholas Chong, YFS corp CEO, Alex Chong, Founder of Makan Culture, Valerie Choo, MRCA Deputy President, Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Dato’ Garry Chua, MRCA President, Dato’ Bruce Lim, Organising Chairman, Puan Wan Yon, HRDF Chief Development Officer, Bryan Loo, Founder of Tealive, Dato’ Chevy Beh, Founder & CEO of BookDoc.

Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong receiving a token of appreciation from Dato’ Garry at the closing ceremony.

Group photo of speakers with their respective plaques.

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Keynote speaker Datuk Seri Idris Jala receiving a plaque from Dato’ Garry.


The two keynote speakers Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood and Dato’ Seri Ivan Teh with Dato’ Garry, and some MRCA Council members, Past Presidents and guests.

the speech made by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, where he urged businesses to tap into the vast online market where spending methods were different. “This is what online-to-offline means. It is not asking you to drop your hard-built commitment to your existing operations. “Extend your branding and marketing through social media and messaging apps like WhatsApp and WeChat. Digital connectivity, as a revolution in economic activities, contributes nearly 16% of the country’s gross domestic product. “Through the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), RM162mil has been allocated to implement programmes such as e-commerce ecosystem, Digital Maker Movement and introduction of new location categories such as the Malaysia Digital Hub.” He also urged SMEs to look out for announcements in October on the Digital Free Trade Zone’s range of programmes for SMEs. The conference had Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) Chief Executive Officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) chief executive officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood and ADV Fusionex chief executive officer and managing director Datuk Seri Ivan Teh delivered the keynote addresses.

Attendees at the conference.

The first session, “Wholesale Shakers”, was moderated by Pradeep Khanna of Global Mindset and boasted a panel comprised Plaza Premium Group Founder and CEO Song Hoi-see, Tesco Malaysia CEO Paul Ritchie, Senheng Malaysia MD Lim Kim Heng, Lazada CEO Hans Peter Ressel and Verge: VT CEO Mark Edwards. The second session, “Digital Transformers”, was moderated by Dato’ Loh Yuen Tuck with speakers Fusionex CEO and MD Dato’ Seri Ivan Teh, Rev Asia MD and GM Voon Sze Khay, dimsum CMO Lam Swee Kim, Tencent/Wechat Online Media Director (Commercial Strategy) KK Lee, Aladdin Street Sr VP Lawrence Chooi, V-cube Japan Founder Naoaki Mashita, Mpay CEO Dato’ Chew Chee Seng and Head of

Payments, Business Solutions of Maxis Danny Chua. Lastly, the “Young & Bold Movers” session was moderated by Thriving Talents’ Michael Teoh. It had Tealive Founder Bryan Loo, BookDoc Founder Dato’ Chevy Beh, YFS Corporation CEO Nicholas Chong and Makan Culture Founder Alex Chong. MRCA Retail Conference 2017 was held in conjunction with MIRF 2017, drew more than 500 attendees. The conference was proudly organised in collaboration with Retail and F&B Productivity Nexus of the Malaysia Productivity Corporation, with great support from sponsors – HRDF Malaysia, Fusionex, MPay, and MDEC alongside MRCA Corporate Patrons – Maxis, Maybank, Fusionex, and Mastercard.

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L-R: KK Lee, Voon Tze Khay, Dato’Seri Ivan Teh, Dato’ Loh Yuen Tuck (moderator), Lum Swee Kim and Naoaki Mashita.


Digital Transformers How to successfully navigate a complicated digital landscape.

etailers are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the use of data to cater to the increasingly complex customer in this digital economy. At the first panel discussion of the MRCA Retail Conference 2017, titled “Digital Transformers – Innovation in Engagement”, four industry experts shared their experience in navigating today’s sophisticated digital landscape. Software solution provider Fusionex chief executive officer Dato’ Seri Ivan Teh said the current business strategies involved managing a challenging environment as the use of data was doubling every two years. “There is so much data online, people are searching for our products everyday, making payments online and transacting online. These types of online activities are going to increase. “Data is changing the way we work, changing the way we live and changing the way we operate,” he said. Dato’ Teh said in 2016, Facebook was the third largest platform to have


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world’s population on it, after India and China, making it an important audience. This year, Facebook overtook China and India to claim the number one spot to have the highest audience numbers at two billion users. What this signifies is that the use of data on multiple devices changes the way consumer behaves. He said that meant data about consumers (from their food preferences to online shopping habits) was vital for retailers to market their products and services. Analysing data, instead of merely storage, converts it from a liability into a strength for retailers,” he explained, adding that helping retailers to target the right customers defines the smart economy. He also said performing processes such as descriptive analytics, diagnostic analysis, predictive analysis and prescriptive analytics assist retailers in understanding the changing demands of the market and, in turn, helps businesses prepare solutions for their clients.

REV Asia managing director and general manager, Voon Tze Khay, said that in today’s world, content is king and his company provides content marketing solutions by creating engaging and viral content. “The news that we curate and provide needs to be trustworthy. The brands we have developed are dynamic and we are able to distribute such content to consumers in an exciting way. “Engaging content is what allows us to scale up to have nine million users,” he said. REV Asia is one of Southeast Asia’s digital media groups with an integrated strategy that incorporates online, publishing, social media and events. To visualise the size of an audience or consumer base within a digital economy, Tencent and WeChat online media director of commercial strategy KK Lee provides an example. According to Lee 35% of WeChat users spend more than four hours a day using the platform, while about 75% use the messaging system for over an hour. In 2016, WeChat had over 889 million monthly active users, 90% of whom were Chinese. The company, Lee said, has expanded beyond being a messaging system. “WeChat now connects people to people, people to business and people to services, providing huge opportunities for retailers,” he said. On the entertainment sector, Dimsum chief marketing officer Lam Swee Kim said the data analytics they distribute include hairstyle or food trends, and popular Chinese movies that offer retailers an insight to what consumers were following or were looking for. “There are lot of creative ways to partner us. We can bring in stars or promotions with fun!” she told retailers who are keen to work on digital market campaigns with Dimsum. Japan’s V-Cube founder Naoaki Mashita, who demonstrated the capabilities of V-Cube’s digital web conferencing solutions and drone use, said such devices would help improve a company’s efficiency and productivity. The visual communication company also uses big data extensively to improve education and training.


Adapting technology advancement to meet changing demands.

etailers must be able to innovate and create both offline and online shopping experience by adapting their business to the changing demands of the customers. Speakers of the second session of the MRCA Retail Conference 2017 called Wholesale Shakers, shared their views and experiences on innovation, and how their organisations are adapting to technology advancements. Plaza Premium Group founder and chief executive officer Song Hoi-See said for his company to thrive, a good company culture was important. “We started in 1998 with only 30 employees, and now we have grown to over 4,500 people worldwide,” he said. After running the group for a decade, Song found that through innovating his services, he identified business opportunities within the airport ecosystem, from offering meet-andgreet services to dining spaces at the airport. And it is this sort of innovation that needs to be instilled in Plaza Premium’s staff during the training they undergo at the Hong Kong headquarters. He said


the company spends over 130,000 hours a year on training. “We have learnt that to do this business worldwide, with different customers and requirements. We have to strike balance between innovation and standardisation.” Song said. For Tesco Malaysia chief executive officer Paul Ritchie, it was vital for Tesco to control cost but at the same time, innovate products and services. “Innovation is a confusing buzzword. I think innovation is about staying relevant and looking ahead, and turning an idea into a solution that adds value to the customer and the organisation,” said Ritchie. He explained that in 2013, Tesco was the first to market online grocery shopping in Malaysia, giving customers the freedom to shop how they wanted and when they wanted. “The growth depends on how quickly technology changes and how people change their habits of shopping. The reality is that there will still be a service in shops, whether it is small or big, whether it is online. “The real objective for every retailer is to figure out what’s the

L-R: Mark Edwards, Song Hoi-See, Paul Ritchie, Lim Kim Heng, Hans-Peter Ressel and Pradeep Khanna (moderator).

most convenient way to market for a customer,” he said. Ritchie pointed out that the strategy to navigate in this fast-paced technological world was about following the customer and ensuring products and services met their needs. On competing with online shopping sites, Senheng Electric KL managing director Lim Kim Heng said the company embark on a differentiation strategy for its products and services. “Senheng operates differently. We don’t use price to drive (the customers to our shops), a strategy we have implemented for over 15 years,” he said. Lim said even though the likes online shopping sites such as Lazada pose fierce competition, Senheng’s loyalty card programmes and nationwide stores offer customers’ variety. He added that Senheng had 30% more physical stores than its rivals, providing a better shopping experience. In reply to Lim’s points on the offline experience, Lazada chief executive officer Hans Peter Ressel said customers today expect an integrated online and offline experience. “Aspects such as loyalty, extended warranty, refund process, installation and delivery – I think you can or cannot to put a price tag to it, that is something that online cannot always replicate,” he said. Ressel added that it was not in anyone’s interest to try to compete on all these elements as Lazada, like other online marketplaces on the hunt for unique approaches rather than work at driving prices down, a practice that many major brands do not favour. On another dimension of technology, Verge VT Australia chief executive officer Mark Edwards said the potential of artificial reality and virtual reality for retailers was immense. “With the power we got in our phones anyone can experience AR or VR and it cost nothing. It all comes to quality and comes back to bringing products to life,” he said. Edwards said advancements were already being made from a business to consumer perspective, and was slower in the business to business platforms as 95% of virtual reality applications was in gaming, which tends to cater to consumers and not other businesses.

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Wholesale Shakers





Standing Out Speakers share how unique selling points are vital for success.

ifferentiation and unique selling points are important aspects in monetising fulfilment for the customers, according to speakers of the third panel session at the MRCA Retail Conference 2017. Fusionex Enterprise Practice Group vice president Isaac Jacob said retailers needed to experiment with technology in order to embrace technology. “We need not be afraid of failure, because if we are afraid of failure, we are unable to improvise and perfect our solutions,” he said. By being courageous, retailers are able to innovate and create hybrids of past decisions or solutions that work better for the customer. Tencent and WeChat online media director of commercial strategy KK Lee said local developers keen on penetrating the Chinese market need to be open-minded about culture and come up with unique selling points of their products. “For us, when we want to enter Japan and South Korea, we need to think about how we can tailor our services to suit those markets,” he said, adding that WeChat was now popular as a bridging service for users to connect to online payment systems, services and booking systems. Aladdin Street senior vice-president Laurence Chooi said retail stores should


Dato’ Chew giving his talk.

not be afraid of online channels or e-commerce, as they could complement the physical shopping experience. His advice to businesses venturing into the dynamic world of online marketplaces, was for retailers to develop their own niches and pursue their business goals, without getting seduced by the hype of technology. Managepay Service chief executive officer Datuk Chew Chee Seng said their differentiation in the marketplace was by building a robust system to ensure all retailers were able to sell to their customers on all omni-channels. “All channels meaning, whether it is on a website, retail shops or apps economy or even sms’, or social networking channels,” he said. His company provides this service to cater for the needs of retailers engaged in precision marketing techniques. “You need to know who your customers is, their age and gender, so you’re able to track every transaction

and know what they are buying. This is where data analytics will help,” he said. Datuk Chew said retailers with a physical presence today must think of an online solution, what he described as the offline to online commerce or O2O experience. “The future is here, you are able to have the Amazon experience where customers walk into a store and pick up items and leave with their payment details all captured electronically and through RFID tags,” he said. Maxis New Payments head of business Danny Chua, said Maxis was going through differentiation process and was looking at improving its bundle of services for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). “We have SME partners and clients. We have learnt the bad lessons and have improved on them. Our objective for these SMEs, is to help increase efficiency and automate processes,” he said. Chua said, “With that in mind, Maxis customises solutions from fleet management for transport businesses to stock-taking systems for retailers to manage in a secure private network. These are some of the examples of the types of solutions offered by the telecommunication player.” He shared an example where Maxis worked with lingerie brand Xixili to create an online store for the local brand, while linking them up with a logistic partner and assisting the company with digital marketing efforts. “What we are seeing is that they are getting RM6 for every RM1 spend on digital marketing,” he said, which shows results to the bundling of solutions from Maxis.

L-R: Isaac Jacob, Dato’ Chew Chee Seng, KK Lee, Laurence Chooi and Danny Chua and Dato’ Loh Yuen Tuck (moderator).

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Group photo of Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (6th from right) with Dato’ Garry Chua, Past Presidents of MRCA, Speakers, and Puan Wan Yon, HRDF Chief Development Officer.


Young and Bold

The next generation shares how to keep millennials engaged.

ntrepreneurs from the Gen-Y generation offered sound advice and tips on how to capitalise on the strengths of today’s growing millennial workforce at the final panel of the MRCA Retail Conference 2017. In the session called “Young and Bold Movers”, YFS Corporation chief executive officer Nicholas Chong said his company had hired young and inexperienced workers for a number of reasons. Cost was one of the factors, but it was their creativity that proved to be advantageous, he said. “Don’t look down on young people. I hire many inexperienced young people who have never worked in the fashion sector before.” Nicholas said YFS Corporation found this group of employees did not have fashion experience but were energetic, driven and creative when coming up with solutions for marketing his clothing line. “We need to encourage more entrepreneurs to hire young people. When they come into your company, young people need someone to sit


down and listen to them and give them a chance,” said Nicholas. He shared YFS Corporation’s journey which began as a clothing stall in the pasar malam or night market. Nicholas and his team, had the vision to expand this family-run stall to a physical store. Today, YFS Corporation is also developing their own Japanese-inspired brand at affordable prices. “And what is interesting with young staff or having a millennial workforce is that they are up to date with trends in styles, and in turn can offer your company the step ahead in design and innovating products,” he added. His business faced so much success that in the last year that YFS Corporation opened a store a month. Founder of Makan Culture Alex Chong explained that instead of trying to change the mindset of millennials from their entitled dispositions, being impatient and possessing materialistic values, employers should embrace these traits and turn them into strengths that work for the business. This is because the growing population of Gen-Y is set to make up 80% of the workforce in the coming years.

“Use their traits as strengths and converting them to work for your company, turning their entitlement into result-driven behaviour and impatience into efficiency,” he said. The millennials are known to disrupt the way businesses work, and it was the right move to have them as employees as they would stimulate innovation in organisations. “They are also looking for constant growth and a way up, so employers should take advantage of that hunger,” Alex added. Tealive founder Bryan Loo believed that his organisation needed to be driven by passionate employees set out to make a difference in the communities they work in, either through job opportunities or meaningful partnerships. “Through staff empowerment, we believe we are able to coach employees to impact communities by instilling passion in them,” he said. Loo also said being entrepreneurial helped young people create something out of limited resources and difficult circumstances, adding that more organisations should be grooming their employees to be enterprising. BookDoc Datuk Chevy Beh agreed with Loo in stating that making money had to be done with a sense of purpose, and that was one of the strengths of millennials behind successful enterprises as their value systems influence companies to be more responsible retailers.

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Years And Still Standing Strong

Sunway Malls marks its 20th year milestone since Sunway Pyramid’s opening in 1997.

alls have become part and parcel of our lifestyle. A local research revealed one out of five Malaysians tend to visit a mall during the weekend. The Malaysian mall industry first began over 40 years ago and it is estimated the country has more than 550 malls to date. The number is expected to continue rising throughout the next couple of years. For Sunway Malls, their journey


began two decades ago when Sunway Pyramid first opened its doors in July 1997, complimenting the Sunway Lagoon theme park to increase the vibrancy of Bandar Sunway and Subang Jaya. “During the 1990s, there was a wave of emergence for malls with mixedintegrated developments and Sunway Pyramid is amongst those who opened when the country was hit with the Asian financial crisis.

A group photo of tenants who opened their first outlet at Sunway Malls.

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“Through the uncertainties, we persevered and the mall was recognised as an iconic landmark of Subang Jaya and Selangor. Till today, we are still an iconic landmark thanks to the Egyptian architecture with the Lion-head,” said HC Chan, CEO of Sunway Malls & Theme Parks. Following the success of Sunway Pyramid, Sunway invested, built and operate more malls at various areas around Malaysia, overseen by the



Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah with Dato’ Garry Chua, Dato’ Tay, Mr HC Chan and guests.

management of Sunway Malls. These include Sunway Carnival, Sunway Giza, Sunway Putra Mall and the latest addition to the family, Sunway Velocity Mall. More malls are in the pipeline and they are located in Paya Terubong, Penang and Iskandar, Johor. Sunway Carnival is also expected to undergo expansion next year, further increasing their presence in Penang. “We aim to be amongst Malaysia’s largest mall owner-operator in time to come to solidify our brand in the country. Our advantage is that we are part of a bigger entity, the Sunway Group. “As a group, we enjoy tremendous leverage where we tap across 12 business divisions under Sunway, enabling us to grow fast enough yet maintain effective with costs,” Chan said. Currently, Malaysia’s mall industry offers a real estate value exceeding RM100 billion. There were concerns on the oversupply of malls as well as the onslaught of online shopping but Sunway Malls believes it is all about planning ahead coupled with the right strategy. “For us, careful evaluation and research are carried out by Sunway Group as a whole to study an area before pursuing a mall business. Another aspect that sets Sunway Malls apart is the fact that we emphasise

on shopping experiences, lifestyle experiences and customer care experiences to attract and retain our retailers and shoppers,” Chan said. “Online shopping is in trend now and we foresee it will continue to develop. To work with these technological advancements, the Sunway Group has established Sunway i-labs so together, we can seek market driven innovation that will lead us to continuously grow with time and face new challenges.” Chan said the mall industry has changed drastically especially in the last 20 years. “Never had there been a time in Malaysian mall industry that we are looking at such intense competition. Not only from online shopping but from physical brick-and-mortars as well. Although the oversupply of malls is mainly concentrated in the Klang Valley region, it is very clear to me that our mall industry today is a story from zero to hero,” he said. While it may seem that times are challenging for the retail industry, Sunway Malls has every intention to still expand and grow its footprint. “We will grow based on a sustainable model. Sunway Malls will continue to identify potential markets that are underserved and unlock these values to reach out to more Malaysians, and let them experience our brand,” said Chan, citing that Sunway Malls

In his speech at the function, MRCA President Dato’ Garry Chua commanded Tan Sri Dr. Jeffrey Cheah, founder and chairman of the Sunway Group, for not only being a visionary but a philanthropist as well. “Sunway Malls over the year have set a very high standards and expectations. The feedback received from our retailers stated that Sunway have always been business-friendly with a win-win approach. “With the increasing importance of online shopping and oversupply of retail space, mall management and retailers have to be mindful that there will be a rationalisation and a balance of brick-and-mortar businesses and e-tailers, which is already happening in the US and China. “It’s shocking Alibaba has taken over Walmart, revenue-wise, over the last five years. “We have to be mindful that digital development will be amplified within three to five years, depending on the development of the Digital Free Trade Zone, initiated by the Government and supported by Alibaba.”

has its retailers, business partners, dedicated employees and Malaysians in general to thank for the success they have enjoyed so far. “To me, this four decades old industry is still in its infancy stage. We still have more pathways to pave and more opportunity to evolve to serve the needs and wants of future shoppers.” With the experience Sunway Malls has, it is inevitable th at the mall group is looking ahead to make changes to the retail arena and be amongst the top drivers of the mall industry in Malaysia.

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Seeking A Career In The Service Industry BERJAYA University College of Hospitality offers its students skills and knowledge to succeed.

n view of the dynamic growth and demand for professionals in the tourism industry, the Ministry of Higher Education invited BERJAYA Corporation in 2007 to establish Berjaya University College of Hospitality (BERJAYA UCH), a niche institution of higher learning dedicated to specialising


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and championing the growth and development of hospitality, tourism, culinary arts and services industries. The Malaysian services sector, which accounts for about 53.9% of its gross domestic product (GDP), remains a key driver of growth for the Malaysian economy, providing 9.3 million jobs. The contribution of services to GDP is

on an increasing trend, according to the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), and by 2020, the contribution of services is targeted to reach 58%. “Several key growth contributors identified in the ‘Eleventh Malaysia Plan 2016-2020’ include retail trade, financial services and communications sub-sectors, while greater focus will be given to the modern and knowledge-intensive industries such as ecotourism and information as well as communications and technology,” said Mae Ho, Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of Berjaya Higher Education Sdn Bhd. “Since opening BERJAYA UCH in January 2009, we have expanded and established the BERJAYA Business School offering programmes from foundation to master levels. The School offers two flagship programmes which are the Diploma in Retail Management and the Bachelor of Retail Management (Hons),” added Ho. The BERJAYA Business School supports students in the retail


“To be the best, we must associate ourselves with the best. We can’t be everywhere or everything to everyone, but we strive to be the best inthe programmes we provide.” ~ Mae Ho, Executive DirectorCEO of Berjaya Higher Education Sdn Bhd

programmes in by enhancing their professional service skills which are interwoven with numerous specialized areas like supply chain, logistics, retails, consumer analytics, digital marketing, e-commerce, event management etc. Such specialized disciplines invites robust operational understanding associated with strong analytical, creative, decision making and communication skills. The school nurtures students’ ability to think critically and work independently, craft vision and strategy towards actionable plans, proficiency in business operations, and diagnosing and resolving complex problems in the retail business operations. Students will concentrate on various operational aspects of retailing and

will be involved in many live projects working either alongside retailers or in a consultancy style scenario. They may be redesigning a local retail store, investigating stock issues for a national department store, mystery shopping, two competing retailers, or looking at the psychology of shopping. Whatever it involves, there will be plenty of opportunity to practise their retail management skills. A 16-week work placement is designed to add real-world context to the theoretical and practical framework forged on campus, as well as bearing a bounty of crucial contacts, bolstering the students’ resume and enhancing their personal employability in the retail industry. Retail students are offered a

variety of career options in retail supply chain such as in the areas of product design, procurement, warehousing, production, transport, distribution, sales, etc. “We are proud of our close affiliation to members of MRCA and our retail students benefit from the insights, knowledge sharing by MRCA professionals as well as internship and job opportunities”, said Ho. BERJAYA UCH is located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s premier retail district where our students are placed in the heart of the retail action. Ho concluded, “To be the best, we must associate ourselves with the best. We can’t be everywhere or everything to everyone, but we strive to be the best in the programmes we provide”.

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First Look Into DFTZ SMEs to benefit from Malaysia’s first digital global trading platform.

alaysia’s small-medium enterprises (SMEs) are set to get a helping hand to expand their markets abroad when the first phase of the Digital Free Trade Zone takes off this October, if all goes as scheduled. The DFTZ aims to be a trading platform to assist SMEs to market their products globally and digitally, as this sector had previously found it difficult to reach the international market. It was launched in March in partnership with China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba. Since then, the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the lead agency, has been working to get the facilities in place for a launch which has been reported to be targeted for October this year. In August 2017, its chief operating officer Dato’ Ng Wan Peng told the Malay Mail newspaper that 1,100 of the


targeted 1,500 SMEs have been identified to be the first cohort to join this platform. No information is yet available as to which SMEs have been selected, and in what sectors, but it’s likely to be those which already have a digital presence and export capabilities. This cohort is in addition to the 50,000 Malaysian SMEs who already have active accounts on Alibaba’s e-commerce platform, said SME Corp chief executive officer Datuk Hafsah Hashim, as reported by the Borneo Post in May 2017. “Primarily, what we are looking for are SMEs with export capabilities and able to participate, to take advantage of the duty free zone (of DFTZ) to export products through the Alibaba platform,” she was quoted as saying.Next year’s target is 8,000 SMEs, she said. The DFTZ was launched in March this year by Malaysian Prime Minister

Dato’ Sri Najib Razak with DFTZ stakeholders at its official launch.

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Dato’ Sri Najib Razak with Alibaba founder Jack Ma. It will help SMEs take part in international trading by using internet technology, simplifying regulations, providing easier financing access and other measures. In short, it aims to make cross-border trade seamless via e-commerce. Malaysia hopes that this will double the growth rate of SME’s goods exports to USD38 billion by 2025, and create 60,000 new jobs. It will have three components, according to the DFTZ website. The first is an e-fulfilment hub to help SMEs and other businesses to export their products easily; the second is a satellite services hub to connect businesses with service providers such as financing and insurance; and lastly, an e-services platform to manage cargo clearance and other processes.


“We are starting DFTZ with China and Southeast Asia. We won’t end here. Many of the parties we are talking too are also operating in Europe and North America.” - Dato Ng Wan Peng

“MDEC regarded DFTZ as one of its most important initiatives because e-commerce holds the key to the survival and growth of retail businesses. The sector is growing at a rate of 10% to 15% a year.” – MDEC CEO Datuk Yasmin Mahmood

As a digital platform, it can be connected to other digital platforms around the world. It is said to be the first digital free trade zone of its kind outside of China, and will help SMEs by initially creating access to the Alibaba hub in Hangzhou to reach the China market. Access to markets in other parts of the world will be facilitated later. “Just as we are starting DFTZ with China and Southeast Asia, we won’t end here. Many of the parties we are talking are also operating in Europe and North America,” Datuk Ng was quoted as saying. Besides identifying and preparing the first batch of 1,500 SMEs to join the platform, a regional e-fulfilment hub is also being set up at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport Aeropolis. This will provide logistics facilities and storage,

as well as help expedite customs procedures. In an article in the New Straits Times in August, MDEC chief executive officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood said this facility was an important part of DFTZ as e-commerce is about parcelbased logistics versus container-based logistics. It was thus important to build good infrastructure to manage this. The e-fulfilment centre will be at the Aeropolis because e-commerce is to a large extent about logistics by air, she said. However, she also noted that in the future, there could be an opportunity to use Malaysia as a hub for goods shipments, and that would also require planning for logistics by ship and land. She said MDEC had studied the cargo flow at the Kuala Lumpur

International Airport, both its physical infrastructure and processes, and found it suitable as a logistics hub. Datuk Yasmin added that MDEC regarded DFTZ as one of its most important initiatives because e-commerce holds the key to the survival and growth of retail businesses. “The sector is growing at a rate of 10% to 15% a year,” she said, “putting at risk many Malaysian SMEs if they do not embrace it.” She noted that the DFTZ is of paramount importance, and that other countries in the region are also trying to get global giants like Alibaba to work with them. When it takes off, it’s expected to give a boost to Malaysian firms seeking to export and expand, but the onus is on these firms to embrace the change and to prepare for it.

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Dato’ CC Ngei, Founder and Managing Director.

Running Things Differently Feruni celebrates its ninth store opening in August.

he story of Feruni Ceramiche Sdn Bhd stems from the mantra of “Think Different”. Driven by the vision to do things differently and bring transformation to the tiling industry, founder and managing director Dato’ CC Ngei charted his first steps in 2010. Going against the grain, Dato’ Ngei decided to sell only one brand of tiles. He also introduced avant-garde ceramic tile designs, built world-class retail stores and streamlined the buying experience for customers. That decision and mindset turned out to be the right one as the tile retailer recently opened its ninth store in August, located in Kota Damansara. It is a bold step to take despite challenging property market and competitive retail business. The latest store spans 576sq m, built with the next-generation retail store concept that focuses on offering a


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convenient and practical tile shopping experience for homeowners. The three-and-a-half-storey retail space offers tile collections ranging from basic to most sought-after designs, including the brand’s signature i Shape, catering to customers’ increasing demand for quality and trendy tiles. The store also incorporates the six-key experience concept to assist customers – from tile information and selection to consultation and visualisation. Dato’ Ngei shared his aim for the company’s expansion: to reach out to more people so they can experience what Feruni has to offer. “We understand and want to fulfil our customers’ needs by bringing our unique tiling solutions closer to them from a more convenient and accessible location so they don’t have to travel far,” he told The Star.

At its Kota Damansara store, customers can expect a personalised and worldclass shopping experience, which has become a hallmark of the Feruni brand. It includes Feruni’s six key experiences comprising the i Space display of latest tile trends, i Panel tile information boards, Mix & Match corner with sample chips, i Bar lounge with freshly brewed Nespresso coffee, oneto-one professional consultation, and i Create 3D visualisations to bring your ideas to life. It also has the new merchandise section, where customers can bring home more than just tiles when they shop at Feruni, such as household items, T-shirts, umbrellas and more. This Kota Damansara outlet is not the last in the list as there will be three others, one in Jalan Kuching, Kuala Lumpur; Kajang and Johor Baru which Feruni plans to open by year end. There is also an even bigger move for Feruni as it will be taking its tiles to Guangzhou, China. The outlet is due to open at the end of October. He wants to also bring Feruni’s business model to other countries including Thailand, Indonesia. With a 557.4sq m built-up area, customers will be able to enjoy the same products and services that Feruni is offering to Malaysians. Meanwhile, Feruni Tiling Academy entered the Malaysia Books of Records as the First Corporate Tiling Academy, and at the same time, celebrated the graduation of its first batch of students.


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Dressed For Success PJ Uniform Sdn Bhd stands the test of time, continues to provide quality wear for students.

stablished in 1982 with its first outlet located in SS2 Petaling Jaya, PJ Uniform Sdn Bhd trading as the Professor brand, was initially the brainchild of founding members Lawrence Ooi and June Yap to cater to the school uniform needs of the local community. The uniforms were originally designed by Yap herself, with a strong focus on quality and innovation. In the early days she would prepare the cloth herself in the shop before sending them out to the manufacturer. In the years since their humble origins, Professor has established itself as a brand known for its quality of material and workmanship. “The work philosophy that my mum and dad passed down is that we must be a business that provides quality for our customers,” said TY Ooi in MRCA News (Vol. 1 No. 4) , executive manager


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of Professor and daughter of the founders of the business. Professor’s core business is the manufacturing and retail of school uniforms and co-curriculum uniforms for organisations including the Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, St John Ambulance, the Red Crescent, Puteri Islam, karate clubs, the Youth Cadet of Malaysia and Fire Brigade Cadets. Uniforms remained the primary focus of Professor until after TY returned from Australia in 2008 to join the family as executive manager. “My parents are now semi-retired. It was either I came back or they would sell the business,” she added. Unable to fathom the business falling into the hands of outsiders, TY admitted that she has a very strong attachment to the business. After all, she had hands-on experience in the business during her growing up years. “I’ve been working in this business

Lawrence Ooi, co-founder of PJ Uniform Sdn Bhd.

35 since I was a kid. I worked every school holidays,” she said. Although TY is now in charge of Professor, her mother Yap, who in addition to being a writer, a travel photographer, a Chinese ink artist, an antique collector, as well as an expert in artistic floral arrangement, remains the brain of the business. And her father, who was in charge of the public relations and marketing, pushed the brand into the malls. Today, the brand is also present in 11 Tesco outlets and other malls around Malaysia. In recent years, Professor has expanded its core business to include camping and outdoors equipment. Now the store has an extensive range of gear tents, knives, cooking utensils, among others and Professor seeks to become a one-stop shop for camping enthusiasts. TY had also expanded Professor’s presence into the internet. They have customers from all over Malaysia, as far as Sabah who make the trip to the store in PJ just to purchase their products. An e-commerce site set up for Professor at professoruniforms.com have made it easier for outstation customers to obtain their products, even offering free shipping for orders over RM200. In response to customer feedback that the prices of Professor’s uniforms may be above the budget of some Malaysian families, they have created a sub-brand called Professor Deluxe which is less expensive, making it affordable for their customers. Although Professor Deluxe costs less that their regular uniform line, customers can be rest assured that there is no compromise in quality and workmanship. To meet the increased demand of uniforms both online and in store, Professor has established their own factory in Cheras to supply the material demands of their eighteen outlets and franchisees. With over 35 years of experience and 18 outlets behind under their wing, their core business philosophy has not changed. Professor has the expertise, proven track record and hands-on skills for manufacturing uniforms. They pride themselves as the leading quality school and co-curriculum uniform provider, as well as a one-stop shop for other school needs.

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Share The Passion

Sunrider International is founded to spread the word on good health, beauty and life.

hirty-five years ago, Dr TeiFu Chen founded Sunrider International to help people around the world enjoy better health and a better lifestyle. Since then, the company has grown into a dynamic global enterprise, conducting business in more than 50 countries and regions, taking great pride in offering over 400 herbal-based products of the highest quality that enable users to make exciting changes in the way they look, feel, and live. Ever expanding as a dynamic global company, the business has grown to include direct selling, franchising company stores, manufacturing, and luxury hotels. Self-manufacturing has been an essential component of Sunrider’s success and ability to support various business ventures. Sunrider currently owns eight manufacturing facilities worldwide, which collectively span over two million square feet of premier manufacturing space to ensure the quality and exclusivity of its products. Sunrider’s owners are experts in the fields of health, nutrition, and science. Dr Tei-Fu Chen, a world-renowned herbalist with a degree in pharmacy, and Dr Oi-Lin Chen, a licensed medical doctor, combine the best of Eastern and Western approaches. Their sons Eric Chen, an organic chemist and Vice-President of Manufacturing, and Reuben Chen, MD, board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Vice-President of Business Development, have undertaken important roles in the Sunrider management team.


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Sunrider’s unique, effective, high quality products.

The second generation is trained to carry on Sunrider’s proud tradition of owner expertise and innovation. Together, they lead a team of scientists to research, formulate, and manufacture all of its products. Sunrider’s unique, effective, highquality products are the main reasons for its business longevity, consistently garnering prestigious awards. “We will never compromise on our quality. We will never try to sell you a fad juice or other products that will cure everything,” said Dr Chen. Every Sunrider product is based on the Philosophy of Regeneration® for optimal health. Many health companies believe in giving consumers more of

everything – more vitamins, more proteins – all of which our bodies do not need more of. Sunrider’s concept and approach are different from these companies’ – believing in only one important concept, that is BALANCE. To stay in balance, our bodies should be fed the right food. Concentration is important for its products as it makes them highly effective. The public are invited to visit Sunrider outlets as well as other Sunrider franchise stores all across Malaysia to find out about its unique products. For enquiries, call the Sunrider Malaysia Business Service Department at 03-4253 3266.

37 Feature

Nelson’s Growing Its International Reach Company implements plans to export products to various countries around the world.

elson’s Franchise Sdn Bhd is beginning to fair better in the second half of the year compared with slower sales in the first quarter of 2017 especially for the export market. Finance director and general manager Datuk Eric Tai said the local scenario was stable with the company’s franchisees and distributors working hard to promote Nelson’s products. “We are also preparing to export to new markets in Japan, Dubai, Nigeria and Bangladesh,” he said, adding that this was the strategy for next year. On choosing strategic spaces for business, Tai said Nelson’s was selective when surveying for space or when there were many opportunities offered by property owners. “A market survey is performed before venturing into a new space. We design and tailor the cost of setting up the outlet according to our schemes and budgets of the franchisees,” he explained. He added that if the company was keen on the potential of a mall’s location, it might recommend leasing the space when the mall is first established and wait for the shopping centre to build its clientele. The decision on spaces is also influenced by tenant mix and floor of the Nelson’s outlet. “For instance, our brand will do well when situated near walkways and where the outlet is clearly visible when potential customers come out of say a supermarket,” added Tai. There are now more than 80 outlets throughout Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. Nelson’s has developed a system for training outlet operations and in-house management training to support their franchisees and business partners.


This ensures a high standard of service delivery that is uniform across all Nelson’s outlets. Nelson’s believe in sharing their experience and excellent products with those who are venturing into entrepreneurship, both at the local and international level. The company believes its brand is backed by over 30 years of experience and high quality of its product, mainly sweet corn. “We have constantly maintained the quality of our corn through various measures taken such as having strict planting requirements of our own seeds, processing of our kernels from our own HACCP and Halal certified processing plant,” he said. Tai also said Nelson’s create new products to suit market trends such as freeze dried corn, corn milk and corn cereal. “Attractive packaging and

promotions play an important part in ensuring that our products are packaged and displayed in practical, eco friendly attractive receptacles.” On winning awards, he said these commendations remind the company that it has to continuously strengthen the brand and not be complacent. “The ‘secret’ to Nelson’s success is the people behind the brand. The passion to see that Nelson’s continually strives to better itself in terms of stronger and better testing species of corn being planted is key. He added that strong partnership with suppliers and distributors was also important, as through collaboration, Nelson’s was able to develop products to suit consumers’ tastes. For 2018, Nelson’s plan to consolidate its group of companies to a more solid entity by placing more emphasis on its subsidiary’s processing plant, automating it further to reduce foreign workforce and enhancing the hygienic and quality management sector of products.

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Poh Kong Continues To Shine Jeweller’s commitment to quality has cemented its pole position in the market.

stablished in 1976 with its first outlet in Petaling Jaya, Poh Kong is at the forefront of the jewellery industry and enjoys tremendous growth. The company was listed on Bursa Malaysia in 2004 and today it has its own manufacturing facility in Shah Alam and has reached their 100th outlet in 2011, thus earning its position as Malaysia’s largest jewellery retail chain store. The story of Poh Kong began as a small counter in 55 sq ft space in Petaling Jaya shop. Today that is where its headquarters is located. Poh Kong’s founder is Dato’ Eddie Choon, prior to setting up Poh Kong, he was working in a goldsmith shop in Taiping for three years since age 15, and another four years in PJ. In 1976, the then 22-year-old Choon’s cousins assist him in business operations, with a few more shareholders then who had since sold their stake to him. He sold gold and other jewellery, and also custom made items. From manning a counter he took over the whole shop in 1980, and opened the first branch in 1982. “Poh” means precious and “Kong” means sparkling, forming the brand of Poh Kong, which remains a strong jewellery brand. That was the name Dato’ Choon adopted as his name of the shop. The jeweller’s passion is in its dedication in providing fine jewellery of high quality and international standards. To ensure quality, Poh Kong ensures that stringent measures are taken without compromising design, where jewellery has been by meticulous craftsmen. Poh Kong thrived over its competition because of its sincere and honest service, aside from the high quality products offered at its branches. Putting its knowledge and expertise in the jewellery business to good use,


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Poh Kong offers a wide range of products, designed locally and internationally, with exceptional materials.

Poh Kong has created several in-house brands such as Tranz, Happy Love, Anggun and The Art of Auspicious Jewellery. Tranz is gold jewellery in 22K gold and enhances the appeal of gold jewellery through its modern yet classy designs, while Happy Love boasts a selection of elegant oriental gold jewellery. Anggun features Asian-inspired designs of floral motifs. Under Anggun there are various collections such as Alamanda, Bunga Raya, Manja, Orkid, Melur and Karya Anggun. Meanwhile, The Art of Auspicious Jewellery is a showcase of well-crafted masterpieces designed with feng shui elements in mind, denoting blessings of good fortune and longevity. Besides developing its range of in-house brands, Poh Kong is also the sole distributor for world-renowned

international jewellery brands such as Schoeffel luxury pearls from Germany, and two Italian brands – Luca Carati and Moraglione 1922. Schoeffel is a highly respected brand name in the world of cultured pearls, renowned for inheriting one of the most beautiful and extravagant pearls with excellent quality. Luca Carati is one of Italy’s most prestigious luxury jewellers with expert craftsmanship and invaluable experience in finest material acquisition. Established in Valenza, Italy since 1922, Moraglione 1922 is a jewellery brand reflects designs that juxtapose colourful precious stones with alluring diamonds. Poh Kong is also the license holder to develop Disney Jewellery for adults and children. The jewellery includes Mickey Magic, Mickey & Friends, Disney Baby, Winnie The Pooh and Disney Princess.

Nana’s Green Tea offers a wide variety of matcha desserts and unique dishes.

ana’s Green Tea, a pioneer, authentic matcha brand from Japan opened it’s first café in Malaysia in April 2014. The modern authentic Japanese café delivers one-of-its-kind matcha, the finest Japanese powdered green tea, which is said to boost metabolism, reduce cholesterol and help to control stress. Nana’s Green Tea is a refreshing departure from traditional Japanese culture, breathing new ideas into the green tea drinking culture, which was popular in Japan. The café has stayed away from the old-fashioned-conventional interiors and instead opts for chic, hip and fun dining experience, creating a unique “New Japanese” tea house that suits the lifestyle of modern people. Despite the name, Nana’s Green Tea actually serves more than just green tea – it offers the wide selection of Japanese cuisine. The café sells a variety of desserts and ice cream, such as Matcha Soft Cream Latte, Parfait, Anmitsu and food such as Locomoco Hamburg, Chicken Namban, Salmon Udon with cream


sauce which are also popular with which customers. Matcha enthusiasts will love the photogenic Matcha Nama Chocolate Parfait. An array of extensive food, beverage and dessert are featured in its Grand Menu. Everyday Set Meal is available from RM18.90 (vegetarian set) to RM22.90 (meat set) inclusive of choice of drinks. In addition to the regular menu, seasonal drinks and sweets which are based on each season in Japan, are served as well, dedicated to foodies and dessert’s lovers.

INTERIOR DESIGN The café design concept is based on the idea from Sen-No-Soutan, the grandson of Sen-No-Rikyu, the originator of Japanese tea ceremony. Soutan believed that the spirit of tea ceremony connected with Zen teachings. “Tea Ceremony and Zen are identical” was the teaching of Soutan to his followers. Nana’s Green Tea recaptures the beauty of Soutan’s tatami mats hut in the modern tea room in the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur outlet. All the compartments are divided with Shoji panels (similar to shoji paper sliding doors); and the enclosed space offers tranquility and WabiSabi feelings, said Yoshida, the award winning interior designer from Japan.


15 years ago, a Japanese man came across a US chain storeStarbucks cafe, a US-based coffee restaurant, in Japan which not only attracted many locals but was very popular among people from other countries as well. Drinking tea is a Japanese culture; however people are so attracted to drinking coffee rather than tea. He became worried that the habit of drinking tea will be taken over by coffee. This inspired him to open the first Nana’s Green Tea in Jiyugaoka, Japan. Eventually, this tea became well known throughout the country.It is based on matcha green tea that originates from Japan. Matcha green tea has many health benefits. Today, Nana’s Green Tea is popular and is recognised as the number one brand among Japanese cafes. There are more than 80 shops throughout Japan. The aim is to introduce excellent Japanese food culture and tradition to the world and enrich peoples’ lives. Simply Awesome Sdn Bhd is the proud owner of Nana’s Green Tea Café in Malaysia. The outlets are in The Gardens Mall, Mid Valley Mall and Pavilion KL.

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Refreshing Japanese Cuisine





Meet The Oral Hygiene Experts Local company Fulian (M) Sdn Bhd’s humble roots to a respectable world class manufacturer.

ulian (M) Sdn Bhd is a manufacturing company specialising in manufacturing oral care and hair styling products. Its brands include Raiya, Blanco (oral care) and Revive (hair styling). All the house brand products are halal-certified. Located in Bukit Minyak Industrial Park, Penang, the manufacturing site is GMP compliant as well as ISO 9001 certified. This GMP compliance is a testament to Fulian’s goal to provide superior quality personal care products to meet the ever-changing need of the consumers. Equipped with modern and sophisticated facilities, its chemical lab and biological lab enable the team to perform independent research and development. In 1960s, when Malaysia just gained independence, goods and supply is scarce. Feeling that there was a lack of oral hygiene products in the market, a dentist in Penang decided to make his own. Starting with tooth powder, the continuous effort of the dentist led to the introduction of Raiya in 1962. From its humble beginning, selling from house to house using a bicycle, the red branding of Raiya slowly gained its


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Raiya Natural Mint Fluoride Toothpaste A unique formulation using three essential oils – peppermint, spearmint and anise. Apart from providing natural mint flavour, the essential oils also has natural antibacterial componentst. Together with fluoride formulations, Raiya natural mint fluoride toothpaste ensures healthy gums and strong teeth for your family. Raiya Tea Tree Oil Non-fluoride Toothpaste Some consumers are worried over the excessive intake of fluoride hence Raiya introduced the Tea Tree Oil Non-Fluoride toothpaste, providing an alternative for discerning families. Tea tree oil is also a natural antiseptic, helping to protect the oral cavity from harmful germs while the added Xylitol helps remineralisation of enamel, forming a protective layer for one’s teeth. RAIYA Miswak Fluoride Toothpaste This is a combination of modern science with Miswak extract. The added extract is specially formulated without animal-based ingredient and non-alcohol which suitable for Muslim community.

Fulian (M) Sdn Bhd’s Manging Director, Mr Lim Siew Boon.

popularity among the locals in Penang island. Over the time, Raiya expanded to the northern region of peninsular Malaysia, and to East Malaysia. The brand is synonymous with quality while being affordable. Fulian has successfully expanded its production line into Raiya Junior. The toothpaste for children is safe, made with food grade ingredients that help encourage kids to brush their teeth diligently. Today, the company takes pride in its high quality products that have become household names in Malaysia.


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Chow Kit

Vinsoon Group founder and chief executive officer Dato’ Michael Lim shares his vision to create a new landmark for old Kuala Lumpur.

Can you share with your plans for the Chow Kit Trade Centre? CKTC is our first high-rise wholesale mall development project. As a onestop wholesaling mall specifically for cosmetics, kitchenware and traditional Malay herbs located within the heart of Kuala Lumpur, we foresee it to become an attraction and an international trading marketplace for entrepreneurs, businesses, e-retailers or brick and mortar owners from all over the region.

“CKTC will elevate the business of wholesaling to a level which allows wholesalers to have their own space at the distinctive one-stop wholesale mall.”

Why did you decide to turn it into a wholesale mall, instead of a regular shopping centre? As we were planning and developing this project, a few aspects were put into consideration. Instead of just providing the community with a shopping venue,

we wanted to create a project that is able to contribute and increase certain values to the Chow Kit environment. The area is known for their wholesale business in cosmetics, kitchenware and traditional Malay herbs for almost 50 years. As of now, Chow Kit does not have a standalone wholesale mall that serves these three categories. Moreover, the booming e-commerce contributes to the wholesale business in Chow Kit. As the One Road, One Belt initiative is in the midst of being put into place and with Jack Ma appointed as the advisor to the Malaysian digital economy, it will encourage businesses to expand to the benefit of Malaysia as a whole, from wholesaling to retailing both online and offline. This spurs more entrepreneurs to

– Dato’ Michael Lim Tiam Chye, Founder and CEO of Vinsoon Group Some of the MRCA members at the unveiling of Chow Kit Trade Centre.

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Artist impressions of the wholesale mall.

start their e-commerce businesses. When they start young, they lack the capital; going directly to manufacturers will not be a good move as they need a minimum order quantity to purchase products. As such, they get their goods from wholesalers. How will this concept fit into Chow Kit’s image? The concept of CKTC is not meant to fit into Chow Kit’s current image, but to play a part in modernising the area whilst still retaining its history of a traditional Asian market – what Chow Kit was known for decades. Many measures have been undertaken to upgrade Chow Kit as a better and safer place for people to conduct their businesses, which will eventually attract more people to come. How will the development benefit the people of Chow Kit and its traders? As Chow Kit is an area boasting a rich heritage of history, CKTC (a freehold development) breathes a modern touch into the area known for its rows and rows of long-established retail outlets specialising in wholesale goods. CKTC will elevate the business of wholesaling to a level which allows wholesalers to have their own space at the distinctive one-stop wholesale mall. CKTC also has a 24-hour security facility to ensure safety to trading can be conducted in a safe environment.

Developing CKTC provides significant value not only to Chow Kit but also to wholesalers and investors of CKTC; nurturing Chow Kit to embrace the fast-paced financial and development movement that Kuala Lumpur is now experiencing to be on par with other fast-moving cities around the world. Will this adversely affect existing businesses? We believe that we would become a good complement to the existing businesses in Chow Kit. CKTC will be offering various range of products to provide more options for buyers and traders to explore. With the additional variations of items to purchase, it will prove to make a positive impact for businesses operating in CKTC, as there will be an increase of people coming into the area for buyers will be able to find different goods in one area. Who are your current tenants and what is the occupancy rate at the moment? CKTC is still under construction, and will officially be launched on the fourth quarter of 2019. Hence, there are no tenants as of now but only buyers. Our current buyers comprise of business investors and wholesalers bringing in a range of products and stocks focusing on cosmetics products,

kitchenware and traditional Malay herbs from China, Thailand, South Korea and Indonesia. MK Curtain – Malaysia’s leading and biggest curtain showroom – is our biggest investor occupying the entire 7th floor of the development. Additionally, Hypershoe – a member of Vinsoon Group – is also a key buyer, occupying the entire 6th floor. Currently, CKTC is nearing 60% occupancy rate and we foresee that the whole development will be fully taken up by December. As many retailers are going digital, how will having a physical space help their businesses? Wholesalers play a huge and fundamental role in the process of getting manufactured products into the hands of customers, as most retailers especially online e-commerce still rely upon to purchase stock in bulk to ensure profitability. Even though retailers are going digital, there will still be a need for physical space where buyers can have a feel and touch of the actual products before buying it; decreasing the risk of faulty products. Young entrepreneurs who are going to start their e-commerce business and are lacking capital will find this as a safer avenue to purchase their products. With a physical store, it increases the confidence of the buyers.

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Mesra Mall



Suria KLCC

Top-notch Mall Management Suria KLCC Sdn Bhd runs three highly successful malls in Malaysia.

uria KLCC is a world class retail asset management group specialising in the development and operation of shopping malls in Malaysia. Currently, its portfolio consists of three of the country’s leading shopping malls – Alamanda in Putrajaya, Mesra Mall in Terengganu and Suria KLCC in Kuala Lumpur, with combined retail space of more than two million square feet. Since its inception in May 1998,


Alamanda Putrajaya

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Suria KLCC has succeeded in bringing together the best local and international brands, and customers in one place. It is committed to building a world-class shopping environment for its discerning customers, with sustainable sales turnover for its retail partners. Suria KLCC achieved a record breaking moving annual sales turnover (MAT) in March this year, with over RM2.5 billion, while Alamanda and Mesra Mall have shown substantial

Suria KLCC Sdn Bhd Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Brien.

improvement on the year-on-year traffic and MAT. In its effort to keep the malls fresh, relevant and exciting, Alamanda and Suria KLCC have undertaken new development works, slated to be completed by 2020. The new development will provide opportunity for existing retail partners to expand their business, and prospective partners to be a part of one of the leading premier shopping malls in Malaysia. Suria KLCC is the only retail asset management company in Malaysia with a training centre that offers retail related training courses to assist its partners in diverse aspects of their business. The training centre provides programmes for retail talent acquisition, customer service enhancement and retail management. It also engages highly skilled and experienced consultants for customised programme solutions that work best for the retail partners’ brand and people. At Suria KLCC, great emphasis is placed on open communication, collaboration and performance. These key driving factors have contributed to the success of the company and its retail partners. Suria KLCC is 60% owned by KLCC Property Holdings Berhad and 40% owned by CBRE Global Investors.

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MALAYSIAN BRANDS JOIN FRANCHISE FAIR IN INDONESIA As part of the delegation organised by the Domestic Trade, Co-Operatives and Consumerism, HAIRDEPOT recently participated in the Franchise & Licensing Expo Indonesia 2017 at the Jakarta Convention Centre, from Sept 8 to 10. Other franchisors who were also there were Marrybrown, Laundry Bar, Cleanpro, IPM, Bangi Kopitiam and Q-Dees. The Malaysian Pavillion was launched by a representative of the Malaysian Embassy in Indonesia, Zamshari Shaharan. Apart from participating and exhibiting products and services, there were many programmes happening alongside the three-day fair. Among them were business meetings between Malaysia and Indonesia, discussing topics such as Building Relationships with Industrial Players, Opportunity for Foreign Brands to Venture in Malaysia and Acquiring Foreign Brands.

ONLINE AND OFFLINE COLLABORATION Lazada Malaysia announced their collaboration with 7-Eleven Malaysia and MOLPay to offer offline payment services at all 7-Eleven Malaysia stores via MOLPay. This will allow Lazada Malaysia users to pay for their purchases on the shopping site by presenting a printed slip or SMS code of their online purchases at the cashier of any 7-Eleven store. “The partnership is a strategic fit, leveraging on 7-Eleven and MOLPay’s individual strengths, we see this as an alternative payment option for online shoppers. Through this collaboration, we enable Malaysians to shop for over 12 million items available on our website, combining it with the familiarity of paying over-the-counter at any 7-Eleven stores nationwide,” Hans-Peter Ressel, CEO, Lazada Malaysia. “Our aim is to ensure that we fulfil our customers’ expectation and provide them with the convenience they need. Hence, we believe it is important for us to keep up with the hottest trends as well as introduce new products and services that would garner further attraction and leave a positive impact on our customers. “Lazada’s over-the-counter payment presents an ideal alternative for shoppers to enjoy shopping online further, as they can now process their transactions offline at any 7-Eleven stores, 24-7,” Gary Brown, CEO, 7-Eleven Malaysia

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MOLPay has been providing extensive payment network for global businesses to set their footprint in Southeast Asia by enabling businesses to accept complete methods of payment such as credit/debit cards, domestic banking and even cash. Through MOLPay’s involvement with MRCA, it is looking to deepen market penetration through innovation that will mutually benefit the Malaysian retailers in setting up the payment platform for their businesses of any sizes.



MPAY UNVEILS MRCA RINGGIT REWARDS MASTERCARD CARD Managepay Systems Bhd (MPay) launched the MRCA Ringgit Rewards Mastercard Card in conjunction with the MIRF exhibition at Mid Valley Exhibition Centre, Kuala Lumpur. The MPay Mastercard Prepaid Card enabled MPay to package an end-to-end payment ecosystem for the community at large, providing a range of uses from a general purpose reloadable card, travel card, gift card, salary card and more. This has also paved the way for more innovative propositions, to incorporate loyalty solutions, for the benefit of retailers, who are looking to maximise business opportunities. Being a Mastercard Card, the MRCA Ringgit Rewards Card is versatile, convenient and accepted at all domestic and millions of retail locations worldwide through the Mastercard acceptance network. Consumers who make contactless payments using their

Mastercard card at participating MRCA outlets will receive a discount of up to 20% on their purchases. The participating outlets cover a variety of retail categories from eyewear, beauty, to food and beverage with merchants – Focus Point, Clara International, Chakri Palace, Sanoook, Rainforest Bistro and Cafe, MBG Fruits and Nelson’s, with others coming on board soon.

MRCA WELCOMES CENTRAL I-CITY Central Pattana Public Company Limited’s maiden international regional shopping centre, Central i-City, recently became a member of the Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA). A joint venture between CPN, Thailand’s largest retail developer and investor, and i-City Properties Sdn Bhd, an affiliate of Malaysian property developer i-Berhad, Central i-City was invited by the MRCA council to apply for membership and received a certificate at the association’s July monthly meeting event, which was attended by more than 200 guests. Central i-City, expected to open in 2018, is situated in Klang Valley’s most advanced technology and lifestyle hub and is a landmark that signifies Central Pattana’s advancement into the ASEAN shopping centre landscape. Incorporating the best of Malaysian retail and the latest ideas from Thailand, Central i-City’s innovative concept will allow visitors to appreciate the Thai shopping experience – a much-loved trend – locally.

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MRC 48

Malaysia Retailer Vol 5 No 4

2017 - 2018













Malaysia Retailer Vol 5 No 3


Malaysia Retailer Vol 4 No1

Profile for Harini Management Services Sdn Bhd

Malaysia Retailer|Vol 5|No 4|2018|Dato Goh GINTELL  

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 5|No 4|2018|Dato Goh GINTELL  

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