YEEBEE.com.cn, 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 JD.com, 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