Danny Ng’s e-commerce platform, homedeal.my, focuses exclusively on Malaysian-made products. On his aspirations for it, he says: First Malaysia, then China, writes LIM WING HOOI.

MADE in Malaysia — that’s what e-commerce platform, homedeal.my, is about. That’s right, the website sells only Malaysian-made products.

And if the man behind it, Danny Ng Theng Wei, has his way, the portal — which currently caters mainly to Malaysians — is going to be his stepping stone to bigger success in China.

Why the focus on Malaysian products?

“One of the panelists was talking about how he became successful by marketing Thai food products in China via e-commerce. He then asked me, knowing I was Malaysian, what Malaysian products he could bring in to sell in China,” elaborates the 44-year-old.

According to Ng, the first thing that came to mind was electronic products, such as those he was already selling. But then it occurred to him that most of these were, in fact, made in China.

So what Malaysian products could you push? White coffee? Durian? Bird’s nest?

Long story short: the question nagged at him for quite a bit. Eventually, it inspired him to start homedeal.my in April this year.

Being level-headed, Ng is targeting primarily local users first.

Leveraging on their existing warehouse in Sunway Damansara, Petaling Jaya and Penang, he says their modus operandi is to get goods from local manufacturers, and take it from there. The portal handles all other aspects of the business, from marketing to taking orders, to delivery.

“All we ask is that they give us their dealer price, and we will sell according to the recommended retail price. The advantage to our retail customers is not so much the price point, but rather the convenience. We provide delivery and offer freebies,” says Ng.

With homedeal.my as a retail platform, manufacturers and brand owners have a new avenue to sell their products, apart from the usual brick-and-mortar shops and hypermarkets.

But there is resistance among some manufacturers.

“Some think having a website is the same as having an e-commerce platform. Some think they don’t need e-commerce,” Ng states.

But there is growing awareness now, and to-date, he has enlisted five local manufacturers who offer over 130 products ranging from food to personal care items.

Ng says he believes in working with other e-commerce players in the market by listing his products on their sites. So far, he is in collaboration with about 22 other e-commerce platforms.

“We negotiate the margins that they could make by selling our local products on their platform. We also show them the research we do on our local products, which are competitively priced but of comparable quality with foreign brands,” he says.

But some of these platforms have up to six million products, and just listing on the platforms does not translate to sales.

“We have to do online campaigns to promote our items. One of the more popular ways is to purchase banner advertisements on these e-commerce platforms,” Ng says.

Although the number of customers is not sizeable at the moment, Ng notes that there are investors who see the growth potential of his business model and is looking to invest. But first things first, and Ng’s priority right now is to grow the company.

“We are using funds from our other business segments to grow the e-commerce business. We will only seek funding when we are clearer about how the platform can be improved further,” he explains.

Ng says he wants to enrol more manufacturers and to list over 300 locally-made products.

“We are also in talks with various state governments to promote local specialty products that could be sold via e-commerce, including handicrafts,” he concludes.

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