Saturday, June 19

‘A slice of the infrastructure pie’


Cynthia Teo

Casey Lim

Fitri Johari

Singaporean exhibitors see Asia Infrastructure 2011 as a viable platform for market expansion, product recognition

KUCHING: If the setup of a special Singapore Pavillion at the inaugural Asia Infrastructure 2011 at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here is anything to go by, it seems that companies from the island republic are highly keen on being a part of the state’s progressive infrastructure story.

The three-day event – known officially as Asia’s International Infrastructure Development Exhibition and Conference 2011 – enters its last day today.

“Singapore feels that there are opportunities here, as most companies from the island republic are interested in furthering and developing their businesses here in East Malaysia,” said Cynthia Teo, the senior sales and marketing manager PolyPortables Singapore Pte Ltd when met by The Borneo Post here yesterday.

“I believe that is the very reason why this expo has set up a specific Singapore Pavillion.”

PolyPortables was one of many Sinagpore-based companies participating as exhibitors for Asia Infrastructure 2011. The company was engaged in rentals as well as sales of portable toilets – branded under PolyPortables USA – throughout the Asian region, as well as hand-wash stations. Presently, its biggest market are Malaysia and Indonesia.

“We actually want to reach out to the public on our products, especially here in Sarawak. Based on input from visitors coming to our booths, I understand that although the use of portable toilets is not uncommon here, it has not reached its most optimal utilisation,” Teo pointed out.

She added that apart from usage for open-space events such as concerts, PolyPortables’s range of portable toilets were very much viable to be used for on-site locations such as constructions and plantations.

“It can improve the image of a company that uses these toilets either for guests or their workers, as it also endorses the concept of hygiene. Moreover, PolyPortables toilets are actually self-contained where the waste is held in a holding tank.

“Alternatively, clients can modify these processes into a manhole unit using piping facility,” said Teo. Currently, PolyPortables Singapore has an operating office in Kuala Lumpur that offers rentals of portable toilets to companies mainly engaged in construction and event management.

Another Singaporean company, JPN Industrial Trading Pte Ltd (JPN) was looking at raising awareness on its products and branding here.

“This is our first time participating in such an exhibition like this in Sarawak, eventhough we have been dealing in direct trade with East Malaysian clients for more than 20 years,” stated the company’s business development manager Cindy Casey Lim.

“As such, we do take advantage of this expo as a platform to showcase our new product. Furthermore, we are very well supported by the Singaporean government under the International Enterprise Singapore scheme, by which we are given atrractive funding to participate in this exhibition.”

Nevertheless, Lim was hoping that there would be more events such as Asia Infrastructure 2011 to be held not only in Kuching, but preferably throughout Sarawak and reaching into Sabah as well.

“There’s a huge market in East Malaysia, but still too much focus is given to West Malaysia. We know that East Malaysia is very rich in resources, strengthened further by a large number of projects. I know that not only businesses from Singapore are interested in East Malaysia, but many other international companies would love to explore such opportunity as well.

Specialising in sales, rental and services of new and used construction machinery, Lim outlined that the company had a very comprehensive range of products under an array of brands, covering “everything from generators, air compressors, cranes, bulldozers, loaders, excavators and others,” she said.

“We’re quite international where about 80 per cent of our businesses are slated for exports. Our biggest export market is Indonesia.” Currently, JPN has an office each in Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Dungun, Terengganu.

“We are yet to have an office in East Malaysia, but we are exploring the possibilities,” Lim enthused.

Meanwhile, the East Malaysian infrastructure market could very well benefit from the specified testing expertise that Singapore-based Fugro Loadtest Asia Pte Ltd (Fugro Loadtest) had to offer.

“We have done a lot of work in Asia, even as far as India and Bangladesh; but we haven’t really explored the East Malaysian market as yet,” related its business development manager for Asia Pacific, Fitri Johari. He further said Asia Infrastructure 2011 could become a platform of opportunity to meet some people comprising both prospective industrial clients and government officials.

“Our products are reasonably well known in Asia, but I believe there still pockets of opportunities to serving the local market. We know there are works here that suitable for our capability. We want these people to get to know us.

“To this end, we need to reinforce our marketing efforts to keep people aware that we are here, even if we don’t have an office here.”

“From the response we got throughout the exhibition, perhaps it is a suitable time for us to set up a branch in East Malaysia,” he hinted.

Presently, Fugro Loadtest is known as testing company providing, amongst others, bi-directional deep foundation load testing using Osterberg cell (O-cell) invention developed by Dr Jorj O Osterberg, professor emeritus of civil engineering at Northwestern University.

“For the local market, we are looking at marketing the O-cell test here as the first main testing service on offer,” added Fitri further.

Apart from looking at new opportunities, concrete-manufacturing machinary company IPS-EuroTec Asia Pacific Pte Ltd (IPS-Euro) was looking at regaining ‘old clients’.

“In the past, we have engaged with a few clients from East Malaysia. I hope that through this expo, it will aid us in regaining that market,” said Chua Chin Hwa, the company’s sales engineer.