GEORGE TOWN: Buy freshly caught whoppers from the sea and have them delivered to your doorstep? Why not?
As many as 8,000 people log in to a live Facebook fish auction in Penang to bid for snappers, threadfin (kurau), groupers and many others species.
Each live session takes around four hours, with up to 80 bids per fish.
Three entrepreneurs in Penang took inspiration from live online auctioning in Taiwan.
The fish are packed with ice in polystyrene boxes and sent to as far as Johor.
Iris Lee, the host of the fish auctions, promotes the varieties available for the day from around 6pm from Tuesdays to Sundays.
The mastermind-partner is Goay Kheng Khin who said he drew inspiration from marketing strategies and trends in Taiwan.
“Our buyers set the price for our products,” he said, adding that all bidding starts at zero ringgit.
He said groupers are the most sought after fish besides snappers, prawns, salmon and even lobster.
The 32-year-old former aquaculture produce exporter said he proposed the idea and invited his friends Joseph Lee and Tang Chee Leong to join him and began broadcasting live three months ago out of a shophouse in Bukit Tambun on mainland Penang.
None of them have had any experience in online business.
Lee, 34, is a car detailing services provider and Tang, 46, is a renovations contractor.
Lee said 71% of the bidders are men and Tang observed that the bidders are mostly between 35 and 44 years old.
“We urge more youths to use social media as a business platform. It is possible to operate businesses at home,” Goay said.
So far, the trio has delivered fish to Kedah, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Johor.
Penang buyers can also pick up the fishes themselves.
Since fish is a perishable item, they provide a freshness guarantee to buyers.
“If our seafood is not fresh when delivered, we are willing to fully refund our customers,” he said, adding that sometimes, delays by the courier services are unavoidable.
During The Star’s interview with the entrepreneurs, customer Charles Beh dropped by to collect the fish he successfully bid for.
The engineer in his 30s said he had bought the fish a few times and was satisfied with the freshness and prices.
“I spent around RM300 this round,” he said, revealing that he bought salmon and grouper.
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