SINGAPORE-BASED Osim Inter-national Ltd expects the turnover from its Malaysian market to grow by 30% to 50% for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2003.
According to its chairman and chief executive officer Ron Sim, currently the company has 57 outlets in Malaysia but it intend to increase the number to 75 by the end of this year and 150 by 2005.
Sim said this during an interview after a ceremony to introduce Chinese actress Gong Li as the new celebrity face for the company.
According to Sim, there is a growing market in Malaysia where rapid socio-economic progress and government efforts to promote adoption of a healthy lifestyle have led Malaysians to become more health-conscious.
At group level, Sim is optimistic of achieving an annual growth of 29% in turnover.
He said that Osim intended to increase the number of its stores to 500 by end of this year and 1,000 stores worldwide by 2008. The company currently has 388 stores worldwide.
Sim said this was in line with the company's four-pronged growth strategy - new outlets, new products, new countries and new business focuses.
“We have also signed franchise agreements to market our products in new countries like South Africa, South Korea and the Philippines last year,” he said.
Sim said that Osim intended to add three to five new countries a year to its current network of 18 countries.
Osim has four business focuses - health, hygiene, nutrition and fitness.
“Our main area of concentration is on the health aspect and currently 95% of our outlets are health outlets focusing on providing a healthy lifestyle,” Sim said.
He said that the company would focus on the hygiene, nutrition and fitness aspects in the years to come.
Sim said Malaysia currently did not have any outlets focusing on fitness but that would be remedied with the opening of two fitness outlets selling fitness equipment this year.
Sim said the Asian market was expected to grow phenomenally and Osim intended to ride on this growth by focusing on countries like Malaysia, Thailand and China
He said that China's growth potential was huge and its turnover growth for this year could hit 50% and even 100%.
As part of its promotion strategy, the company has recruited Chinese superstar Gong Li to endorse its products and feature prominently in the marketing aspect of the company.
“This is an exciting new phase in the Osim marketing strategy. We wanted an international figure with a certain star quality; someone who can identify with the Asian market and is recognised by the rest of the world. Gong Li fits the bill. Her international appeal will help cement Osim's globalisation,” Sim said.
According to AC Nielsen and Gallup, Osim is currently the top brand in the healthy lifestyle category in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan. Its overseas operations constitute the bulk of group turnover and this is expected to increase as it continues its marketing roll out.
In terms of global performance, Osim International group achieved pre-tax profit of S$15.4mil on turnover of S$173.6mil for the first nine months of last year compared with S$123.5mil and S$11mil respectively in the corresponding period of 2001.