Local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are urged to get onboard China’s biggest e-commerce platform, Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd, and take advantage of the newly launched Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) to expand their business horizon abroad.
Minister of Transport Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said via Alibaba, local SMEs could also be part of the Singles’ Day sale and promotion that is held every Nov 11.
For example, the China-based company recorded US$25 billion (RM102.88 billion) in sales during the last Singles’ Day sale, joined by as many as 60,000 international brands and merchants.
“As such, our SMEs must quickly get onboard the Alibaba platform so that we also can participate in the Singles’ Day sale next year. I am confident that it will be another sales record,” he said after launching the Ninth Pikom Leadership Summit in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
He said that Malaysia’s e-commerce operator, Lazada, also experienced explosive growth in Malaysia and across the region, racking up RM96 million in sales via 6.5 million items ordered during the one day sales event.
On the Singles’ Day sale, Shopee has generated an increase in search interest by 71.4%, following by 11street (66.7%), Hermo (50%) and Zalora (25%).
“Based on the search interest on Nov 11, the five most popular e-commerce (platforms) in Malaysia are Lazada, Shopee, 11street, Zalora and Hermo,” Liow said.
The DFTZ that was launched early this month by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak together with Alibaba founder Jack Ma, is expected to provide 1,972 Malaysian SMEs the opportunity to sell their products online.
Liow added that the DFTZ will position Malaysia as the regional e-fulfilment hub for Asean consumers.
He said the existence of phase 1 of the DFTZ facility should be fully capitalised by local players to deliver their products to the Chinese market.
“Cainiao Network (Technology Co Ltd) and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd will set up a 24ha e-fulfilment hub in phase 2 of DTFZ, slated to be operational by 2020,” he said.
The ministry has also targeted to increase air cargo volume in Kuala Lumpur International Airport up to three million tonnes by 2050, compared to the current 726,000 tonnes.
Meanwhile, at the launch, Liow also witnessed a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Pikom (National ICT Association of Malaysia), CyberSecurity Malaysia and fusionex founder Corp Sdn Bhd to enhance information and communications technology and data security.
Fusionex MD Datuk Seri Ivan Teh said the MoU would pave the way to accelerate the rate of big data analytics in Malaysia.
He said the MoU will see both parties working together to provide training in the area and encouraging the building of data skillsets within the workforce.
“It will be the push needed to create, educate and inspire a new generation of data professionals in line with the MDEC’s (Malaysia Digital Economy Corp) aim to have 20,000 data professionals by 2020,” he said.
Dato’ Seri Ivan Teh stands on one of the three floors that Fusionex’s 60,000 sq ft R&D facility occupies at Plaza 33 in Petaling Jaya, putting on a demonstration of his company’s voice recognition software: “And… lights!” He snaps his fingers, and the elongated ceiling lights dim. One more snap, and the lights beam at full brightness upon his command. Another click of his fingers closer to a room featuring a life-size R2-D2 model (which lets out the occasional excited bleep), and a glass window – previously opaque – turns transparent.
It makes for an impressive, entertaining display of the sort of technological wizardry that Fusionex is capable of achieving but, really, it’s just the tip of a very substantial iceberg. From the time it was founded in 2005, Fusionex has made a name for itself in the global technology industry by specialising in analytics, big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence and, perhaps most importantly, its ability to make sense of vast amounts of structured and unstructured data for its clients. With an official net worth that currently stands at MYR1.2 billion, this is a company that – as Dato’ Teh explains – began with a badminton game and a dream of becoming a superhero.
Born and bred in Petaling Jaya, Dato’ Teh grew up as an academic all-rounder (it helped that his mother was a teacher) with an aptitude for mathematics, science and technology, as well as a love for art and drawing. “At a young age, what I really liked was innovation,” he recalls. “I began looking up to superheroes like Iron Man, Superman, and Batman when I was about eight or nine, so I’d draw them and imagine being a superhero too. It wasn’t their superpowers that I wished for, but I really wanted to solve problems and fight villains.
“As I got older, I understood that I couldn’t become a superhero in real life, but I still admired Iron Man for his innovation and creativity, where he could bring things like art and science together, the way I wanted to. That’s science technology.” This inevitably drew him towards a degree in computer science, which in itself became a springboard from which to enter the IT industry, propelling him towards managerial positions in multinational companies including Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Accenture.
“When I started working in these organisations, we’d be flooded with a tsunami of data and the problems that stemmed from it, like hospitals and medical centres, where I’d observe long queues and inefficiencies. I thought to myself, ‘What can I use or do using technology and a combination of skillsets to make life better, faster and more efficient? What can I do to change the world?’ These were eureka moments for me and, obviously, it’s important to have a vision – but how do you execute it?” It was only during a badminton game with some of his friends, who were in similar industries, that things began to get moving.
“At one of the sessions, we recognised there were a lot of problems across industries, where people were spending lots of money and yet waiting times at retail outlets, banks, telcos and airlines were bad. A few of us said: ‘There must be a better way of doing this – it can’t be all that bad. We have to be able to challenge the status quo and find a better way forward.’ We wanted to start things together, but many of my friends back then had their own careers and livelihoods to look after, and some of them were about to get married.
“I said: ‘It could be a big risk for you. Would it be something you want to do? Why don’t you let me try it for a couple of months and validate the idea that the demand is actually there? Once we’ve proven that there’s a market for what we’re offering and the business model really works, I’ll invite you to come on board.’ And that’s what I did.” It was – for a time – very much a one-man show, where Dato’ Teh had to do everything from coding software to searching for clients. No stranger to hard work (as a 10-year-old, at his father’s insistence, his school holidays were spent selling bedsheets at textile stores and pasar malams), he persevered.
“For a couple of months, I navigated the waters, finding ways to ensure our skills and ideas would be accepted in the market – which they weren’t, by the way. That was painful. People wanted a track record. But slowly, we started to gain traction and got our first few breakthroughs after six to nine months, thereby validating our model. Once we were more stable and had our first customers, I wanted Fusionex to grow and accelerate, and I couldn’t do that alone. That’s why most of the pioneering team – there were about five of us who started this – are still with us today as we continue to invite more people into the Fusionex family.”
WE COULD BE HEROES
The company’s seemingly light-hearted nickname for its workspace, the ‘Office of Superheroes’, appears to be half a vision of the future and half a teenage boy’s fantasy bedroom when you wander through it, for all the Marvel and DC Comics memorabilia in plain sight. There’s even a sizeable karaoke room with a professional sound system, in which Dato’ Teh shows that he’s not microphone-shy, either. (For the record, he does an excellent rendition of You Raise Me Up, and could give Ed Sheeran a run for his money, too.) But for all the office’s creature comforts, Fusionex’s team – which now consists of over 550 staff – works as hard as it plays.
“It’s an amalgamation of different types of ideas and technology, where villains are no longer beasts or monsters – they’re problems,” he says. “My parents taught me to understand how to bring things together and comprehend the real-world problems that people face. So, where you see poverty, difficulties in various situations, disasters or explosions, how do you use technology and innovation to overcome all of these problems? How do you manifest the qualities of a superhero in real life? That’s what we’re all about.” To illustrate the nature of Fusionex’s operations, he posits the company not just as a source of invention, but a sorter of information – an intelligent base that cuts through all things complex and incomprehensible.
“In any organisation, there are so many problems to pinpoint. In a manufacturing business, you want to ensure you minimise defects and downtime – some of these can have huge financial implications when there are quality issues or a whole batch of goods need to be returned. More severely, if you’re in a chemical plant and have a problem – say, you don’t detect a drastic increase in temperature – it can result in a hazardous explosion that could cause fatalities. What we do for our clients is identify their problems together with them, because we don’t know everything, so we have to operate in a consultative way.
“But we work with them in a diligent and very focused manner. Fusionex combines its technology with the expertise of our team to solve a client’s problems using data technology. We believe data is the new crude oil. It’s something that is extremely important, but will remain raw data unless we collect, store, process and analyse that data so that it becomes meaningful and insightful to our customers. It gives them foresight as to what they should do, based on what happened in the past, so they can plan better for the future. That’s what we do for our clients, all of whom come in different shapes and sizes, big and small.”
Gone are the days when Fusionex Founder Dato’ Teh would have to persuade potential clients to give Fusionex even a passing glance – although that may, in part, be due to a heavyweight replica of Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir, which resides in his office (“I don’t have to say much when I’ve got it in my hand,” he smiles). The company’s client roster now includes significant local and international clients such as Starwood, Ritz Carlton, Marriot, CIMB Group, American Airlines, Dell, Intel, Fedex, AEON and Malaysia Airlines, spanning a diverse variety of industries – all of them looking to Fusionex to give them the cutting-edge insights they need.
“Different industries will be different, but the crux of it is that data still resides across all industries, and when we take a look at it – as we draw parallels and compare one industry to another – while they’re adjacent, there are similarities as well,” he expounds. “From day one, our mantra was to solve problems. It wasn’t to go out there and sell a box or sell hardware – that doesn’t motivate me. We wouldn’t have been able to create new jobs or more ideation, which is what lies in Fusionex’s DNA – that fusion between business, technology and the excellence of the experience.”
KUALA LUMPUR: Data technology provider Fusionex International is targeting over 10,000 local small medium enterprises (SMEs) to adopt on its e-store platform, Fusionex’s FOR YOU, in the first 12-month of its introduction.
Fusionex Founder and group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Ivan Teh said the consolidated marketplace and online platform allows seamless connectivity between merchants and customers.
Depending on the required features and size of business, customers can opt for monthly fee packages starting from as low as RM50.
“The Fusionex FOR YOU platform features online and e-commerce capability to monitor business transactions and market their products backed by our vast accessible audiences across all sectors such as financial services, trade, manufacturing and retail globally,” he told NST Business in an interview recently.
Teh said SMEs can also take advantage on the company’s digital marketing platform that comes with the ‘FOR YOU’ package.
“This online and mobile commerce solution makes it simple for merchants to kick start selling their products and services within 24 hours of registering with FOR YOU.
“This technology infrastructure enables SMEs to deliver superior online shopping experience to their customers as it is equipped with a user-friendly interface to suit the needs of all merchants and customers,” he added.
Fusionex specialises in analytics, big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), facilitating companies with technology-driven as well as data-driven platforms and information.
Teh said ‘FOR YOU’ has an entry-level option for SMEs to embrace technology-driven business operations, which not only help them scale up their domestic operations but also to widen up geographical and demographical business opportunities.
“We offer affordable rate and a free-trial period for selected services and businesses. We want to energise SME businesses’ ecosystem and ensure growth in their sales momentum,” he said.
Teh pointed out the technology is capable of helping businesses’ evaluate its weaknesses and strengthen it in a targeted market, which could boost up its business operation.
“We will help SMEs to embrace this digital transformational journey, optimising their brand presence via social media and through digital marketing channel as well as other e-commerce platform,” he said.
He said Fusionex is focused on business innovation leveraging on its vast big data analytics, artificial intelligence and blockchain capabilities that can help SMEs revolutionise business operations by making it more efficient and cost-effective.
“Our system through a long-term operation provides SME businesses runway to increase their revenue. SMEs generally want digital transformation to stay abreast, and this is one way that we can help to accelerate their businesses growth.
“Their feedback has been extremely positive, but some need more justification in terms of return on investment and skill-sets that are required for them to learn about this new technology,” he said.
Teh said the company expects younger participation, including startup companies, as it would be easier for this age group to adopt and adjust themselves in digital transformation.
“About 85 per cent of the country’s population aged below 60, while the remaining 15 per cent falls under the experienced group. This is a good transitional phase for the country’s business ecosystem based on the mixed population groups,” he said.
Teh said SMEs need to learn new technology and upgrade them with the right competitiveness as well as digitise its operations to maximise its productivity and sustainable business continuity.
Previously listed on London Stock Exchange, Teh said Fusionex may explore the possibility of listing the company back again.
However, he said it was still premature for the company announce its listing bourse destination.
The analytics solution, known as Fusionex GIANT, allows companies to have a holistic view of its business operations, understand trends, buyers behavior, and even predict outcomes.
April 10, 2018 —
FUSIONEX International Plc, a big data analytics solutions provider, believes that its new big data analytics solution can help the company to win more clients and gain market share.
The analytics solution, known as Fusionex GIANT, allows companies to have a holistic view of its business operations, understand trends, buyers behavior, and even predict outcomes. Unlike larger big data companies from the US or Europe, the company’s big data solutions are more user-friendly and easier to deploy.
“Our solutions may not be as powerful as some of our rivals’, but it has the features and characteristics that meets the needs of the chief executive officer, the chief information officer, and chief financial officer,” Fusionex founder Ivan Teh told Digital News Asia recently.
“Today, CEOs want a fast-to-deploy big data solutions, they can’t wait 18 months or more for the implementation. CIOs and CFOs want a solutions that are easy to manage, easy to use, and does not cost a lot to maintain.”
According to Teh, the new GIANT, dubbed the Fusionex GIANT 2017, is far more superior than the predecessor. He said that it is now able to make sense of trillions of data sets — making it a suitable tool for banks, stockbroking firms, hotel chains, manufacturers and others.
Like the previous version, the GIANT allows users to get key insights by just ‘drag-and-drop’. For example, dragging the company’s sales data and customers data could allow the company to find out which particular products are more popular among the young working adults.
“More importantly, the new GIANT allows user to get insights in the easiest way possible — by talking to it. The new GIANT comes with a natural language processing (NLP) capability that will perform various tasks. For example, you simply only need to tell it to show you sales number, or sales number based on region, and those data will be produced immediately,” said Teh.
“Gone are the days when you need days or weeks to generate a report.”
Penetrating the SMEs
The company also introduced its first big data analytics solutions catered to the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The product, dubbed ANT, is the “mini-version” of the GIANT. It has most of the features SMEs need when comes to making sense of their data.
“For a long time, the SME market has been underserved. It also has most of the features that SMEs are looking for.
Expecting strong response
In late 2016, Fusionex invited 10 companies to take part in the pilot run of the Fusionex GIANT 2017. From the 10 companies, 8 of them have already signed up for the solution.
“Our vision has always been to create innovative technology that meets the business needs of today’s market. Innovation drives growth and we strongly believe Fusionex GIANT 2017 is the answer to an IoT driven world that is in constant need of better, faster, cost optimised and commercially-feasible technology,” said Teh.
“Analytics can help bridge the gap between business and consumer needs and we are ready to assist our customers to stand above their competition.”
Name: Visithra Manikam
Organization: Pi PR Consultancy