Posts Tagged ‘chopchop’

Malaysians its time to support your local business

RechargeGabey Goh (editor at Digital News Asia) couldn’t have said it better in her column in The Star: A nation of beta-testers. It just got re-published on DNA.

I have consciously decided that when I’m in KL, I’ll only spend my money with businesses that support other local businesses. So with a place like Jaya One, its pretty easy for me to pick only a ChopChop merchant. Its also allowing me to find indie coffee merchants – so the app is aiding my discovery of other local businesses. Why this decision?

Malaysians: when was the last time you looked at something and said, I’m buying/doing/getting/trying this because its Made in Malaysia? We lack a sense of nationalism for many reasons, no thanks to our politicians. People prefer to buy Tupperware over Swordman. In Australia, buying Australian Made is highly encouraged. In the USA, people love it when production comes home. The Swiss are proud of their items. 

Now, Malaysian businesses/startups as a consequence suffer from this sort of mentality. By not trying Malaysian made software, it hurts Malaysian made software producers. I’m not saying you should aid (via crutches) these folk if they cannot compete with an international product. I’m all for trade over aid. Gabey agrees on this too.

But for me, I look at it this way. We all know & love Foursquare. You as a business can offer mayor bonuses or bonuses on every first checkin or every 5th checkin. Great. But as a business owner why not try loyalty products like ChopChop at the same time? Its proudly made in malaysia, and you’re helping a malaysian business succeed (just like they’re helping you, a fellow malaysian business succeed).

Gabey continues to state that if you try something and if it doesn’t work out, don’t hesitate to provide constructive criticism. I totally agree. I’m sure the local business will even give you a free service or something valuable in return.

To all the haters that claim that all malaysians do is copy stuff, I will humbly ask you this: you may copy and call it lazada/zalora, and every inch of the design might look alike. Can you copy their back-end logistics? Can you copy the requirements of going into the local market (ads, events, etc.)?

Let’s consciously support local businesses & efforts. Its hard enough for the entrepreneurs to deal with the myriad difficulties that come with having to conduct business in Malaysia. Let’s make it a little easier.

(I don’t get any gains from talking about ChopChop. I’m truly a fan of this product. I’m truly a fan of the team.)

The chop space (digital loyalty cards) in Malaysia

I love competition and free markets. I read about Pirq coming to Malaysia via the webcampkl group. An interesting thread is brewing.

In Malaysia, I see three players (not including Foursquare for merchants which some establishments use to give mayor discounts, every 5th check-in, etc.): 

  1. ChopChop is the pioneer in this space (bootstrapped around December 2011 by 3 passionate young entrepreneurs whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting more than once). 
  2. Shortly thereafter Voucheres came along and they picked up a nifty RM700,000 from MyEG & MDEC (newsclip, crunchbase). They’re a startup with 4 founders (January 2012), claiming 10 employees, and they seem to be relaunching 10 months into it. 
  3. And the latest to the block? ChopInk (July 2012). Four young founders who were AllStars graduates (RM18,000 + mentorship for some 6-7% equity), which I’m told reliably is a pivot from a different unworkable idea. ChopInk has goals of a 1,000 merchants by year end and is supported by Cradle and possibly had some investment from Telekom Malaysia.

And today, you’ve got the fourth player: Pirq. Pirq’s take is different: you receive an immediate discount of 20-50% instantly. You don’t collect chops for later redemption. Pirq is a US-based company flush with cash – currently USD$3.2 million has been raised (yes, thats USD not Ringgit). Their first expansion country: Malaysia, then Singapore. Pirq is like collecting chops meets Groupon (20-50% discounts on a bill last I checked at most restaurants is unsustainable). 

The grapevine tells me that Pirq has four sales people on-board. From an execution perspective, I love how they focus on areas. My biggest problem with these digital loyalty card applications is that I generally never visit any of their merchants! From a tech perspective, Pirq needs work.

I see Pirq as competition with group buying sites, which is definitely seeing fatigue (in Singapore they’re dwindling; in Malaysia?). The verdict is still out there how digital loyalty is going to be managed between ChopChop, ChopInk, Voucheres. Maybe well-funded Singaporean Perx might arrive eventually.

As a consumer, while I may not have to collect loyalty cards in my wallet any longer, I’m going to be collecting smartphone apps. Good thing you have folders on iOS :)

Who’s going to win? The people that make the better product & with better execution. Not just for the consumer (location based alerts, geo-fencing, etc) but for the merchants as well (smart ad posting, etc.). 

In another post, we’ll talk about money. Foreign money is rolling into companies coming into Malaysia (Rocket Internet, now Pirq), mainly because the USD or Euro goes further in Ringgit Malaysia land. Most of the discussion at webcampkl is focused on this.

Me? I’m naturally rooting for the bootstrapped entrepreneurs – that’s ChopChop.