China is the way to go, market offers tremendous opportunities


KUALA LUMPUR: By virtue of its size, China is a market that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) must strive to tap into in order to achieve greater growth for their businesses, said Malaysian billionaire Goh Peng Ooi.

The founder and executive chairman of Singapore-listed banking solutions provider Silverlake Axis Ltd, who has been listed as the ninth-richest man in Malaysia by Forbes magazine and is acclaimed as the first tech billionaire in the country, said the opportunities that the Chinese market presented were so tremendous that ignoring them would be a huge mistake for companies intending to grow big.

“China is a very big market that you cannot afford to ignore,” Goh argued.

“If you ignore it, the mistake will very soon come back to haunt you. This is because when other people (who have expanded into China) become 1,000 times bigger than you, you will have no chance to fight back,” he told participants at the “Engagement with CEOs – Powering Growth” forum held here yesterday in conjunction with the upcoming Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) 2015.

The annual event has entered its sixth consecutive year, with the aim of encouraging Malaysian companies to grow and excel.

Speaking on Turning Your Dream into a Global Success, Goh conceded that it was not easy to deal with business counterparts in China, but stressed that the challenge should not be a barrier for any Malaysian SME to break into the lucrative market.

Goh, who founded Silverlake in 1989, led the company in expanding into China about seven years ago. Silverlake now boasts a market presence in South-East Asia, China, Japan, Sri Lanka and the Middle East.

In sharing his business success, Goh said a “thinking culture” was essential in a constantly changing global environment. “Dreaming and not thinking will get you nowhere.”

He noted that the world had evolved, becoming multi-valued and multi-procedural that one had to constantly think creatively and out of the box in order to sustain growth and remain relevant in a fast-changing world where business cycles were getting increasingly short.

Meanwhile, in urging Malaysian SMEs to explore the global halal market, the Secretariat for the Advancement of Malaysian Entrepreneurs (Same) CEO Neil Foo said the sector could be the next big thing for business.

“We are talking about a market of 1.8 billion people; that’s bigger than China’s 1.3-billion-people market,” Foo said of the global halal market.

According to Foo, the size of the halal market in China alone is huge, with 60 million people.

Pointing out that the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia, or Jakim, is the most trusted halal certification body worldwide, he said Malaysian SMEs should bank on the advantage to explore opportunities in the segment.

Foo was one of the four speakers, besides Goh, at the forum. Also speaking at the event was Star Media Group Bhd group managing director and CEO Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai and Reanda LLKG International CEO Koong Lin Loong.

SOBA 2015 is endorsed by Same, supported by Bursa Malaysia and audited by BDO, with 988 and RedFM as the official radio stations.

SOBA is open to all local enterprises that are not part of a multinational group or listed group, incorporated in Malaysia with foreign equity not exceeding 50%. Those who wish to participate may obtain the awards submission pack from The Star or download the forms from the microsite at www.soba.com.my. The deadline for entries is Sept 11.

SOBA 2015 is organised by Star Media Group with PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd, Exim Bank, Citroen Malaysia and Credit Guarantee Corp Bhd as sponsors and Connexion@Nexus as the official venue sponsor.

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