Revealing the hidden gems of Malaysian e-commerce
By Chong Jinn Xiung November 30, 2016
- Self-published book hopes to highlight e-commerce players who have struggled to success
- Includes information on entrepreneurs from a wide variety of industries
UNBOXING videos is a popular way in the age of YouTube to quickly present the best there is about a product to an audience. There is the excitement, thrill and joy of learning about something that was, until that point, unknown and marvelling at its features.
In a similar fashion, Malaysian e-Commerce website eCommerceMilo’s co-founder CK Wong wanted his brand new book, Unboxing eCommerce Entrepreneurs (Unboxing) to be an eye-opening experience into the world of the Malaysian e-commerce industry by highlighting some the country’s very best.
It was a long hard journey for Wong and five other members of his team as they spent six months tracking down, compiling and producing the book; but it has been a rewarding endeavour.
Wong’s passion for writing started in 2008 when he wrote a blog on e-commerce. He then founded eCommerceMilo in 2013 with co-founder and business partner Adrian Oh, who runs webShaper, an online shopping cart platform,
Unboxing isn’t Wong’s first foray into publishing. In 2014, Wong authored a book highlighting 10 Malaysian e-commerce success stories via bookstore and publisher, MPH.
However, Wong said he was unsatisfied with the output of the book as he felt it was too generalised and a lot of content was left on the cutting room floor.
“One of my primary reasons for coming up with Unboxing was to publish an e-commerce book that presents my own point of view and was more appealing in a creative context,” he said.
Unboxing is a collection of stories from notable e-commerce players who have made it big in their own way. Wong and his team travelled as far as Johor Bahru to collect the stories, with the goal of sharing the journeys of amazing e-commerce entrepreneurs who would otherwise not be known.
Among the notable e-commerce businesses highlighted in the book are Little Whiz, Bookcafe, Twenty3 and Photobook.
Being in the e-commerce industry and covering many different stories, Wong said the team wanted to select a wide range of businesses from different categories ranging from fashion, collectible toys, books and beauty to name a few.
“One of the selection criteria was that these e-commerce businesses needed to have generated at least RM1 million in online sales. Apart from that we also looked at just how much effort these individuals had put into their businesses,” added Wong.
It was challenging at times to convince these e-commerce entrepreneurs to come out of the shadows and step into the limelight.
“The trouble is that many of these hardworking individuals are content to work behind the scenes and keep a low profile. It is not their style to grab attention because they are literally busy focusing on their business throughout the day,” said Wong.
Having listened to their stories, Wong said he has greater respect for these e-commerce business owners as most of them actually want to contribute back to the e-commerce ecosystem.
Following the mantra of “the more you share, the more you gain” these entrepreneurs want to share their story to inspire and give hope to those who are starting out.
“E-commerce is a global trend right now, everyone is talking about it. Likewise, Malaysia is also part of that trend,” he said.
Wong said that the government also realises the importance of e-commerce and its contributions to the national gross domestic product (GDP) as they have launched initiatives like the national e-commerce roadmap.
“Actually it is quite good to be here in Malaysia right now if you are an e-commerce business. There are so many programmes that you can take advantage of when you are starting out,” he added.
E-commerce in Malaysia has a long way to go as its penetration is only 1% to 2% as compared to 7% to 8% in advanced countries. “The hope is that we at eCommerceMilo will be able to do our part in this vertical niche media to share insights and our thoughts about the ecosystem.”
As for the future, Wong is thinking of working on special projects such as books and other publications on e-commerce topics and even organising events in the near future.
Unboxing eCommerce Entrepreneurs is available as an online ebook and also as a physical book sold at RM21.90 on online book store, Bookcafe.