MoBif taps VoIP market abroad


  • Business
  • Thursday, 06 Apr 2006

PETALING JAYA: Mesdaq-listed MoBif Bhd is definitely a company to watch.  

In the last few months, the stock has been chalking up heavy trading volume and investors in this Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP)-enabler have been well rewarded - its share price has risen from 94 sen on Jan 3 to RM2.92 on Tuesday - up a whopping 211%. 

Its share price performance aside, MoBif as a company possesses a strong business model and is making inroads into markets overseas. 

Between 2001 and 2004, the company's earnings had grown at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 66%, while revenue expanded at a CAGR of 117%. For the financial year to Dec 31, 2005, it reported a net profit of RM9.78mil on turnover of RM36.28mil. 

Keving Leong

In February, the company signed up Ying Te Yi Technologies (Beijing) Co Ltd to distribute its products to VoIP network providers in six major Chinese cities - Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Qingdao and Harbin - in a two-year deal worth RM95mil. 

MoBif, which is also exploring the South American, European and US markets, intends to send 50,000 analogue telephone adaptors (ATA) to its South American partner, Ultravoce, from El Salvador this year, having already sent out 3,000 units since February. 

It will also send 50,000 units to its European partners, TeleVoIP in Italy and French-based OAK Global Group, in addition to the 1,000 units already sent so far. 

The man behind MoBif's success story is its chief executive officer and executive director Kevin Leong. 

“We started research and development in VoIP in early 2004. At the time, we were mainly doing vision automation and Internet surveillance systems for manufacturers, so it was a short step from handling visual information over the Internet to programming for voice information,” he told StarBiz

The product was commercialised in Malaysia in May 2005 and was initially offered on a subscription basis for RM50 monthly for unlimited usage. Currently, there are 500 customers subscribing for the use of 5,000 ATAs. 

“We tried to look for the best business model through customer feedback, and what we felt would satisfy customers' needs,” he said. 

The TAR College and Warwick University graduate said MoBif did not own all its software and neither did it sell its software. Rather, it provides a subscription and servicing and consulting to enable its customers to provide VoIP services in their home countries. 

In Malaysia, the company provides corporate clients with the means to manage an internal voice network at much lower cost than conventional phone lines. 

Mobif's Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) allows users to make free phone calls anywhere in the world.

Currently, MoBif has a two-pronged strategy. First, there are one-off proceeds from the sale of ATAs to customers. Depending on model specifications and the extent of customisation, the adaptors are usually sold for between US$60 and US$85, or RM230 to RM323, per box. 

Second, the company's subscription model via franchisees or airtime revenue share gives it a recurring income. 

“We are launching some major features this year, such as conference calling for up to 50 different callers. In the past, VoIP lines allowed only three callers but based on customer feedback, we have put in the new feature. 

“You can also carry out conference calling with a fixed line, but the company would have to pay for every new caller. With our system, you have unlimited usage for RM50. 

“Imagine, five years ago, we only had PC to PC calls. Today, there are so many things we can do.  

“For instance, with a hunting line, we can automatically transfer a call to anywhere in your organisation if nobody picks up a call, even to different countries and time zones,” Leong said. 

He also believes in doing business with a small but efficient workforce. 

“We focus on our core competency, which is primarily programming and outsourcing, or working with our partners. So, we are able to increase production by going to more manufacturers in different countries as and when we choose.'' 

MoBif, started in 1999, remains a lean organisation. ”We tried to not use a lot of resources. We started with three people, and now we have 50. With 50 people, we can be anywhere to serve all our global customers.'' 

As for the challenges faced by the company, Leong said MoBif was only limited by its decentralised server capacity, but having spent RM3.5mil in server capacity last year, there was enough to meet demand. 

He is passionate about the possibilities of technology, describing a virtual office environment where people work from home and yet, have all the facilities and convenience of the work place.  

Employers, he added, would save money on rental and staff would avoid long and expensive commutes to work. This, he said, was already happening in Japan. 

“We try to use hardware and software to cater to market feedback and meeting client’s business needs, and enabling the virtual office,” he said. 

 MOBIF :  [Stock Watch]  [News]

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