SINGAPORE: Just six months after launching in Singapore in 2014, shopping and rewards platform ShopBack has begun to spread its wings to neighboring Malaysia and the Philippines.
Its head of global expansion, Ms. Josephine Chow, said the company wanted to quickly exploit growth opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region because its business model was designed “to operate at such scale”.
Similarly, gaming chair company Secretlab was also expanding into neighboring markets. But much like how avid gamers explore the virtual world without having to leave the comfort of their armchairs, Secretlab has managed to break into new markets while maintaining operations in Singapore.
The company started exporting its chairs to Malaysia in December 2015, about a year after its establishment. Six months later, Secretlab had already started selling its products in Australia.
Since then, both companies have rapidly expanded their footprint to more overseas markets. ShopBack said it now has a presence in 10 markets, serving 34 million users, while Secretlab said it has sold more than two million chairs in more than 50 countries to date.
Both companies are part of a new breed of Singaporean companies – like Grab, Sea Limited and Razer – which in recent years have grown rapidly to establish themselves as recognized brands on the global stage.
Mr. Jeffrey Siow, Managing Director and COO of Enterprise Singapore (ESG), said: “Indeed, while we have had global champions in the past like Creative Technologies in the 1990s, we have a lot more globally recognized companies like Ninja Van, Secretlab and NanoFilm in recent years.”
Last year alone, there were 11 newly minted unicorns, Mr Siow added, referring to start-ups valued at over $1 billion (S$1.36 billion). The ESG is the government agency responsible for supporting the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and helping local businesses to internationalize.
With Singapore’s small size resulting in a limited domestic market, it’s no surprise that many local businesses have ventured overseas. But not all have succeeded – let alone achieve international recognition and become global champions for Singaporean businesses.
As the need for businesses to internationalize takes on new importance in a pandemic-ridden world, six local businesses that have gone global or regional, along with business experts, provided insight into the complexities and challenges involved. to sustaining an international business, and what it takes to become a world-renowned brand – in the mold of global giants like Amazon, Apple and Microsoft.