M-Mode enriching mobile content


BY ELAINE ANG

MESDAQ-BOUND mobile media content provider M-Mode Bhd aims to maintain its position as one of the leading players in the industry by enriching its content and services to attract more mobile phone users. 

Executive director Tung Wai Fun said: “Content forms the core of the business, especially in the mobile media content industry. We want to continue to offer a wide variety of content and services that is relevant to our users – be a one-stop mobile media content provider to them.”  

The group currently offers a full range of information, data and entertainment products and services via short message service (SMS), multimedia messaging service (MMS) or wireless application protocol (WAP)/general packet radio service (GPRS), especially for the Chinese language and Bahasa Malaysia markets.  

These products are marketed under four product brands – QQ and Nino for the Chinese language market and Sempoi and Nur Islam for the Bahasa Malaysia market.  

“Our niche is in the Chinese and Malay markets. We now offer over 400 services to these two markets,” Tung said. 

Tung Wai Fun stresses that despite its plans to venture abroad, M-Mode will remain focused on the domestic market.

Aside from offering its services to end-users, M-Mode has formed strategic partnerships with mobile operators such as Maxis Communications Bhd and Celcom (M) Bhd to offer them selected mobile media content. 

According to Tung, the group is a key content provider for Maxis' Chinese content. 

“We are about to launch the Chinese WAP with Maxis. It is at the user acceptance test stage now and should be launched soon,” she said. 

M-Mode also provides content for Celcom's Chinese and Malay portals. 

Tung said M-Mode's key business strategies to achieve its objectives and maintain its competitive strengths would be via product (content) enrichment and development, overseas market expansion, enhancing technology infrastructure, marketing and brand building, and content aggregation. 

“We develop most of our content ourselves and have our own research and development (R&D) teams focused on content and information technology,” she said. 

She said the group was looking to work with partners to provide better content to its subscribers and were talking to cartoonists, broadcasters, publishers and content/application developers locally and abroad. 

It is in talks with sports channel ESPN to further enhance its news content. 

The group will also continue to develop both its applications software and hardware to keep up with the latest technology trends adopted by mobile network operators. 

As part of the group's plan to grow the business, Tung said, M-Mode was embarking on a two-prong expansion plan encompassing both the international and domestic markets. 

“Our expansion overseas could be via joint ventures or acquisitions. We have had initial meetings and discussions with certain parties in the Asean region and China and hope to have some results by the first quarter of next year,” she said. 

She added that besides promoting its products overseas, the group might consider having a content team in those countries to develop the local content. 

Mobile telecommunications is among the fastest growing sectors of the Malaysian telecommunications industry.

Tung feels China could offer a huge potential as the Chinese people were very much in tune with the mobile phone market and always kept updated with the latest technology.  

“We expect some revenue from our overseas ventures to contribute to total revenue in 2005,” she said. 

Having said that, Tung stressed that the group would still remain focused on the domestic market. 

“There is still much potential to grow in the domestic market; it is not saturated yet. We want to continue to maintain our market leadership in terms of the number of services we provide to the Chinese and Bahasa Malaysia vernacular markets,” she said.  

It will also focus on aggressive subscriber recruitment and long-term customer retention and loyalty schemes. 

M-Mode, slated for listing on December 6, will make a public issue of 20.43 million new ordinary shares of 10 sen each at an issue price of 45 sen each. 

Of this, 16 million shares will be offered via private placement to identified investors, 2 million to eligible employees and directors and 2.43 million to the public. M-Mode's public portion has been oversubscribed by 22.93 times.  

The listing will raise RM9.19mil, of which 30% will be used for its overseas market penetration, 25% for R&D and 27% for working capital. 

Tung foresees good prospects for the group. “We did very well this year and we are targeting to do better in the coming years, boosted by our overseas market expansion and new technology like the 3G (third generation) to exploit. 

“Although it will be challenging, we are looking forward to a lot more opportunities in future,” she said. 

According to a report by Infocredit D&B (M) Sdn Bhd, the Malaysian mobile telecommunications sector is among the fastest growing sectors of the Malaysian telecommunications industry. 

The report said the domestic mobile telecommunications sector had grown at an average of 41% in the past five years, achieving a penetration rate of 44% or about 11.1 million subscribers as at the end of 2003. 

“Penetration rate is expected to hit 50% by the end of the year,” it said. 

The country has also recorded tremendous growth in SMS usage, with the total SMS traffic reaching 6.2 billion messages in 2003. 

M-Mode recorded a pre-tax profit of RM882,000 on revenue of RM5.64mil for the first six months of 2004, higher than the pre-tax profit of RM836,000 and revenue of RM5.01mil for the whole of 2003. 

Related Stories:M-Mode aims to improve people’s lives with its services 

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