Yee­bee taps South­-East Asia po­ten­tial, a busi­ness-to-busi­ness Chi­nese plat­form for SME ser­vice providers, is look­ing to fur­ther ex­pan­d in the South-East Asian mar­kets af­ter hav­ing ex­tended its reach to In­dia and Singapore.

Zhang Tao, the chief executive officer of Yee­bee, said the com­pany is tar­get­ing more ser­vice ex­pan­sion in Brunei, Malaysia and In­done­sia to tap the po­ten­tial of their ser­vice sec­tors.

“We are try­ing to link up more small ser­vice providers from China with those in South­-East Asia,” he said.

Zhang, who was in Brunei to pro­mote his com­pany’s ser­vices, said more than 20 com­pa­nies in Brunei had signed up for the platform.

“In the fu­ture, we fore­see more de­mand for high-end con­sump­tion here, es­pe­cially in ed­u­ca­tion, tourism, med­i­cal care and fi­nan­cial ser­vices,” he said.

Even though the South­-East Asian coun­try has pro­vided its res­i­dents with free health­care and ed­u­ca­tion, there could be de­mand for high-end ser­vices in China, he said.

In Brunei, Zhang said his com­pany is re­ly­ing on the help of lo­cal cham­bers of com­merce to pro­mote its ser­vice, adding that its plat­form can en­able more co­op­er­a­tion be­tween small and medium-sized ser­vice providers in China and those in Brunei.

In In­dia, the com­pany has al­ready at­tracted about 2,400 com­pa­nies to join its plat­form, while in Sin­ga­pore, about 1,900 com­pa­nies have also reg­is­tered for its ser­vices. The com­pany said it had a to­tal of 800,000 reg­is­tered ser­vice providers in China.

Zhang said Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s an­nounce­ment that China will im­port ser­vices worth US$10 tril­lion in the next 15 years, at the first China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo in Shang­hai, has bolstered con­fi­dence for the com­pany to fur­ther ex­tend its ser­vice over­seas.

“The mar­ket in coun­tries like Brunei is unique be­cause large com­pa­nies would not bother to ex­pand their ser­vices here be­cause of the high cost of pro­mo­tion and the rel­a­tively small mar­ket,” he said.

Brunei had a pop­u­la­tion of about 420,000 peo­ple in 2017, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal me­dia.

Yee­bee is try­ing to serve as a li­ai­son be­tween ser­vice providers in China and those in South-­East Asian coun­tries to fa­cil­i­tate the im­port and ex­port of ser­vices, he said. The Chi­nese service providers can strike deals with their for­eign coun­ter­parts through the com­pany’s mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tions or via WeChat, he said.

Zhang noted that cur­rently, it is mostly large con­struc­tion com­pa­nies from China that are un­der­tak­ing projects in Brunei, and the con­struc­tion boom could end in the next two to three years af­ter the projects are com­pleted.

“What comes next must be Chi­nese ser­vice providers cater­ing to the ris­ing de­mand in ser­vices,” he said.

Quite dif­fer­ent from e-com­merce giants like Alibaba or, the lack of on­line pay­ment ser­vices in South-East Asian coun­tries would not pro­vide a hur­dle for Yee­bee as the com­pany re­lied mostly on mem­ber­ship fees for prof­its, he said.

“What we do is to link up the ser­vice providers. We are not mon­i­tor­ing the deals,” he said.

He added that un­like other e-com­merce mod­els, trade ser­vices would rely on off­line chan­nels for com­plet­ing deals.

“It is not like buy­ing a key ring from on­line plat­forms, in which the deal is com­pleted upon re­ceiv­ing the prod­uct. In trade ser­vices, buy­ers and providers must build trust first, and it takes time for the ser­vices to be com­pleted,” he said.

Zhang said the com­pany is not tak­ing any charges from ser­vice providers over­seas in a bid to ex­pand its reach.

He con­ceded this could still be the time for busi­nesses in South­-East Asia to de­velop a habit of re­ly­ing on on­line chan­nels to con­duct busi­ness.

“That is why we are fol­low­ing the steps of Alibaba, which we be­lieve are try­ing to shape the user habits here,” he said. — China Daily/Asia News Network