By listening to what small and medium-sized enterprises need, the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute engages with local businesses and helps to build brands
The Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) is actively engaging small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), helping them improve the operation of their businesses and to explore business opportunities. Aside from arranging for SMEs to participate in business and trade-related events, and to take part in business delegations at home and abroad, IPIM also provides a “door-to-door service”. The hallmark of the service is actively learning more about the business operations of SMEs in order to provide better support.
Kids Kingdom Photo Co. Ltd. saw an opportunity to expand its business after realising that parents were willing to spend money to record their children’s growth. The company has expanded through franchise opportunities.
The SME opened its first shop in Zhuhai a decade ago and since then Kids Kingdom has gradually expanded with chain stores in Macao and outside the city. The company now controls an estimated 60-percent share of the market for children’s photography services in Macao. Since 2011, Kids Kingdom has integrated techniques and resources from Mainland China and Taiwan. The young and creative team behind the company hopes to create an exclusive world of photography for children.
Kids Kingdom Executive Director Xueqi Wu says it was necessary to learn from the process and consider the company’s positioning during its business development. IPIM invites SMEs to participate in training, in addition to business- and trade-orientated events. Ms Wu says the Macao Franchise Expo (MFE) is one event they attend almost every year.
IPIM staff usually visit Kids Kingdom to learn more about the company’s operation and the challenges it faces, in order to improve the support it can provide. IPIM staff provide information about policies and services that may be helpful, as well as other useful information, such as the procedures required to open a company on Hengqin Island, says Ms Wu. She adds that Hengqin Island offers many more preferential policies compared to other places in the Mainland. For businesspeople eager to establish a company on Hengqin, the “One-Stop Service” can be used to complete all procedures. On the strength of IPIM’s advice, Kids Kingdom is planning to establish their headquarters on Hengqin.
During a recent visit, IPIM staff learnt that Kids Kingdom was discussing the possibility of entering a franchise agreement with a company in Guangzhou. Ms Wu says that through the IPIM’s “door-to-door service” the company learnt the dos and don’ts of establishing a company in the Mainland, especially the issues around trademark registration of which there are several laws and regulations regarding franchising. If businesspeople need additional information, IPIM provides services that are very helpful in order to run a business in the Mainland, says Ms Wu.
She also notes that IPIM has organised many training courses and invited trainers to demonstrate how to establish a business management system, which is the knowledge needed to franchise a business, helping them understand what is needed for the long-term development of a company. In addition, IPIM arranges for local enterprises to join delegations heading outside. It enables local enterprises to exchange experiences with enterprises from elsewhere and seek opportunities for co-operation. Kids Kingdom has taken part in IPIM- organised visits to Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, among others, communicating directly with local enterprises and learning about their management skills.
Better brand management
Traditional local company Tong Iec Pak Fa Fui Cheong Un Co. Ltd. has brands that have a history of more than 100 years in manufacturing preserved fruit and soy sauce. It used IPIM’s “door-to-door service” to help apply for Certified Shop status, with a view to enhancing consumer awareness and confidence.
Tong Iec Pak Fa Fui Administration Manager Lui Nga Chan says IPIM staff and the city’s Consumer Council worked together to help the company with the enrolment procedure to become a Certified Shop. The certification has helped further enhance local consumers and tourists confidence in the company’ products even though this century-old enterprise is well known in Macao.
Ms Lui adds that after years of effort, Tong Iec Pak Fa Fui has now an extensive sales network in Macao, including gift shops and supermarkets. The participation in events organised by IPIM, such as the Guangdong Macao Branded Products Fair, has helped the company promote its brand and further expand the marketing channels for its products.
Long Prosperity Co. Ltd. is another organisation to benefit from IPIM’s “door-to-door service”. They gained a lot of useful information from IPIM when launching new food brands.
Long Prosperity is working to develop the Gathering beverage brand, a shop for freshly made drinks, by increasing awareness among customers. Long Prosperity General Manager Si Fei Fan says the company needed to arrange financial support to launch a new brand. With the help of IPIM staff, the company learnt about the support schemes designed for SMEs and promoted by the Macao Economic Services, which proved very helpful for the firm’s development.
Before establishing the Gathering brand, Long Prosperity operated the Taiwanese drink brand Come Buy. The company accumulated a wealth of experience in the beverage segment before expanding its franchise business in Macao. Later, in order to spread business risk, the company established the food brand Fei Fan Snacks along with its beverage segment; followed by its own dine-in business with the brand “Gathering”.
Mr Si says that due to the business development, Long Prosperity joined the Industrial Association of Macau as it substantially increased its demand for products, such as frozen meat.
In co-ordination with IPIM, the company joined a business delegation visiting Brazil in 2015. Later they also joined delegations organised by IPIM to participate in the Food Expo in Taiwan and Thailand, in a bid to find new suppliers and factories. Representatives also travelled to Singapore to learn more about brand management in another activity organised by IPIM. Events such as these have been useful to hunt new business opportunities and expand the horizons for enterprises, benefiting their development and growth, says Mr Si.