If there’s one key takeaway from the Covid-19 pandemic most people can agree on, it’s that health is wealth.
Apart from staying safe when we venture outdoors by masking up, sanitising and washing our hands often and practising physical distancing, creating an indoor environment that prioritises wellness is just as important.
Coway has been dedicated to researching and developing environmental solutions, particularly in personal health and wellbeing, since it was established in 1989 in South Korea.
From air and water purifiers to mattresses, improving lives through the creation of a healthy indoor environment is at the core of Coway’s philosophy, and Coway Malaysia has made great strides in this area.
Coway Malaysia managing director Kyle Choi, appointed to the role in 2014, believes that one should always strive to be better than yesterday.
“We are a people company. Each and every one plays an important role to keep Coway functional. We achieve success together, not by a small group of individuals, but as a whole,” expressed Choi during a virtual interview.
From its numerous CSR initiatives to the upcoming Coway Run event, the company has many big plans for Malaysia, all in the spirit of improving lives and livelihoods.
Meeting a milestone
The past year and a half have been challenging for businesses the world over, and many went into survival mode to manage the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite these challenging circumstances, Coway managed to achieve their “2 Million Homes” customer milestone, meaning this is the number of families across the nation that have subscribed to its products and services.
In Malaysia, the company’s best-selling products are their water purifiers, and different models cater to the varying needs of customers such as household sizes, budgets or functions.
According to Choi, the convenience of water purifiers puts consumers’ minds at ease, such as water quality concerns from eroded water pipes, germs and so on.
“The best remedy for Malaysia’s hot tropical climate is to stay hydrated at all times with pure, clean water. Having a reliable water purifier is crucial, particularly for those living within high density localities and who are incessantly plagued by unending water woes – pollution and disruption,” explained Choi.Achieving their “2 Million Homes” milestone is icing on the cake for the brand, on top of improving the lives and homes of Malaysians.
“We are thankful and grateful to all our dedicated Coway customers and staff, for their continued support throughout these challenging times. We could not have reached this milestone without them,” said Choi.
“Coway has also experienced challenges like never before in maintaining our operations during this MCO. As public health and safety are important, we follow the government’s SOPs strictly, halted our services and many orders piled up.
“In the initial stage of the MCO last year, overseas shipments were delayed. As our water purifiers and air purifiers are made in Korea, we had to resolve many issues, we faced many customers’ complaints, which in turn led to a tremendous drop in sales,” he explained.
To cope with these obstacles, the team rallied together and gave their best in these less-than-ideal circumstances.
“We believe in teamwork, adaptability, and doing our best to make a positive impact regardless of the situation. That’s our ‘Cowayian’ spirit,” said Choi, who added that the company implemented many initiatives to support their employees’ emotional and physical needs.
These included delivering essential daily items including food to sales and service personnel whose work has been interrupted by the pandemic, holding online classes such as yoga, handicraft and cooking sessions, as well as encouraging everyone to stay motivated and on top of their fitness with a weight loss challenge.
“Standing side by side with our team, maintaining frequent communication with over 22,000 Cowayians across the country is important especially during this tough time,” expressed Choi.
“We upped our game in digital communication channels to reach out to existing and potential customers, and our Cowayians. For example, we pivoted our Coway Run to becoming a fully virtual event, to sustain our customer engagement while being mindful of safety considerations.”
Customer relations remain at the top of the list of priorities – the lines of communication are always open, and the company is constantly looking for ways to help customers reduce their burdens such as offering them special arrangements to meet their monthly rental subscription fee.
“For a brand that has been in the Malaysian market for 15 years, we are very fortunate that Coway has become the go-to brand for health solution among many health-conscious people. We uphold our customers’ trust, to provide solutions beyond products.
“I am confident that with this continued support of both Coway customers and ‘Cowayians’, we can stay true to our promise of building a stronger and healthier nation together,” said Choi.
An important component to Coway’s operations is helping communities in need, through various CSR initiatives.
Projects include the long term Happy Water Project, which helped more than 700 Orang Asli families gain access to clean and safe water. Last year also included donations of 100,000 face masks to the Royal Malaysia Police force (PDRM), 300 units of air purifiers to public hospitals treating Covid-19 patients across Malaysia, a cash donation of RM300,000 to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) Covid-19 Fund, as well as a contribution of 10,000 #StaySafe kits consisting of hand sanitisers and face masks to GrabFood riders and customers.
The company also sponsored 101 units of air purifiers to four mega vaccination centres in the Klang Valley, and provided water and air purifiers to the Covid-19 Assessment Centre (CAC) in Cheras.
Knowing that one of the key ways to help the Malaysian economy recover and for livelihoods to improve is by achieving herd immunity, Coway implemented the Public-Private Partnership Covid-19 Industry Immunisation Programme (Pikas) and vaccinated over 10,000 staff.
The list goes on, including a RM400,000 donation to the Mercy Malaysia Food Aid Programme.
“This programme is still on-going as we speak and by the end of Sept 2021, we will be able to help 3,600 families in urban and rural areas; including those in the B40 group, frontliners’ families, OKUs, refugees and shelter homes,” explains Choi.
“As a company built on the principle of creating a better world, we are determined to change the lives of not only our customers and staff, but also the communities,” explains Choi. “Aside from incorporating our values of healthy living and sustainability in Coway’s products and services, we believe in taking action to enact positive change in the community.”
“Coway’s various CSR efforts in Malaysia are based on the goal of changing lives through action and collaboration. To this end, we work with trusted local organisations who are actively helping communities, and seek to attract other stakeholders to join us in the healthy living revolution,” he adds.
An event for all
This year’s edition of the Coway Run is another way the company is giving back to society, committing to contribute to three different causes.
The Coway Run 2021 event will benefit the Happy Water Project – as with previous years, for every ticket sold, Coway will contribute RM10 to this project.
Participants are encouraged to meet the “RM for KM” goal, which is for runners to collectively achieve a distance of 200,000km.
Once participants hit this milestone, Coway will donate a total of RM200,000 to three NGOs – EcoKnights, Mercy Malaysia and Reef Check Malaysia.
In a bid to encourage environmental awareness among participants and to spark an eco-friendly movement, most items from the Coway Run 2021 merchandise (including medals) will be either recyclable or made from recycled materials.
This year’s edition will take place virtually, and will run for a month, from Sept 23 to Oct 23.
“Our Coway Run this year is Coway’s first inter-regional virtual run where participants can run for their hometown or region,” explained Choi. “As we all stay at home, Coway wants to emphasise the community spirit and give Malaysians a platform to safely reconnect with each other while promoting a healthy lifestyle.”
Participants can team up by region (Northern, Central, Southern, East Coast and East Malaysia) to make this a friendly nationwide competition. For more information about the run, kindly visit www.cowayrun.com.my.
Finding the perfect fit for a global brand ambassador was a careful selection process for Coway.
Engaging Korean pop stars BTS was a collaboration that made perfect sense, and the brand hopes the group will help elevate Coway’s brand awareness in Malaysia and beyond.
“By collaborating with BTS, Coway aims to get the world on board with our goal of healthy living — and music offers a universal language to promote this message across diverse cultures,” explained Choi, adding, “As Coway is a youthful and vibrant brand, we see BTS and their music as a natural fit for us.”
He hopes that the collaboration will help promote the idea of leading healthier lives among the younger generation, as BTS are positive role models in this regard.
“Given that BTS, and K-pop in general, have a huge following in Malaysia, this is a fantastic way for us to connect with our Malaysian customers,” said Choi.
“This collaboration is also a part of our online strategy, and it’s just one of the many ways we are working to enhance and broaden our communication channels to the younger generation. BTS has been able to create a strong connection with fans and build up its influence via digital platforms, and this also aligns with Coway’s plans to boost its digital efforts.
Hope for the nation
As Malaysia Day approaches, Choi wishes all Malaysians Selamat Hari Malaysia and thanks Cowayians as well as the public for their unwavering support.
“In the spirit of togetherness, Coway stands together with fellow Malaysians to fight this pandemic, building a stronger and healthier nation for a better tomorrow,” he said. “Remember that you are not alone in this battle, you have somebody to count on, somebody to support and care for you.”
For more information on Coway's CSR initiatives, kindly visit here