Week in Review: Not all problems that need to be solved have to be sexy

  • Hartabumi applies internet and social media to solve a uniquely Malaysian problem
  • Axiata Group stays the course in India, sees profits after 3 years with 3 players standing


LOOKING for a pain point to solve in a niche space in 2015 saw then 24-year old Radzi Tajuddin of Hartabumi Sdn Bhd start researching into how he could use the internet to help solve a uniquely Malaysian problem of unsold bumiputra properties.

Some background is needed here for our non-Malaysian readers.

As a form of affirmative action, since the 1970s, Malaysian property developers have been required to allocate a percentage of all property units to bumiputras as the majority racial group in multiracial Malaysia is categorised under. These bumiputra units, typically units of property or land, can only be purchased or owned by bumiputras with a 5% to 15% discount factored into the selling price as well.

While one would think such units would be hot sellers, developers have long been struggling to sell their full bumiputra allocations. But Radzi, now 29, thinks he can help. His value proposition to property developers is that the Hartabumi website and social media channels have a reach into the bumiputra segment, receiving between 100,000 to 300,000 page views a month with 40,000 Facebook followers.

“We want to angle ourselves such that developers can depend on Hartabumi to generate quality leads that eventually convert into sales,” says Radzi.

What I like is that this is not a sexy space to be in and yet Radzi has pursued this as he sees the need to solve these unsold properties. And he has also not rushed out seeking publicity. Infact, DNA was told about Hartabumi by someone who knows Radzi. He did not reach out to us as so many entrepreneurs do.

He is just focused on trying his best to solve the problem he sees in the market and building a big enough market presence that potential competitors will think twice about getting in. Good luck to him.

Meanwhile in the telco space, Malaysian based regional telco Axiata Group Bhd (Axiata) has made the decision to stay in the 1.2 billion strong Indian market via its investment in Idea Cellular Ltd (Idea), despite the brutal competition in that market that saw it swing to a red in its latest reporting quarter.

It may be all blood on the streets now but Axiata group chief executive officer and president Jamaludin Ibrahim says “we are very optimistic” when looking over a two to three year horizon by which time he expects there will be three major players left after the dusk from the ferocious competition recedes.

Those players will be Idea-Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio. If he’s right, and no one else makes a crazy play in the market, Axiata shareholders who stick with them now will be a happy lot once the profits start ringing in a few years from now. It has been a gutsy call by Axiata to stay in the game all these years in India. Let’s see if Jamaludin is proven right.

While I rarely promote articles that have yet to be published, for those of you who are keen followers of the startup space in Malaysia, you will want to read our article tomorrow, May 28, of what some ecosystem leaders think of the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC). The fate of the startup focused public agency had the ecosystem abuzz on Tues with a news report that mentioned in brief that its fate was to be decided by the new government in Malaysia.

Well, if the government wants to decide on the fate of MaGIC, DNA feels that it should know what some ecosystem leaders think of the impact, good or bad, that MaGIC has had since its launch in April 2014. So watch out for that article tomorrow!

Here’s hoping you had a restful weekend and wishing you a productive week ahead.


Editor’s Picks:

Demystifying the hype surrounding VR and AR in Malaysia

Axiata not pulling out of India yet

Bigo launches Cube TV, elevates gamers in e-sports arena

Hartabumi tackles issue of unsold bumiputra properties

Making smart homes more affordable

Uncertain what the future brings, Visa prepares to face all challenges

Review: Honor 10 mimics P20, but not in all aspects


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