Explore Issue 48 of APAC Outlook Magazine, the B2B magazine for the APAC region.

Latest 48 Corporate Stories

Blueleaf Energy

Harness the Sun, Transform the Future Sol Proops, CEO at Blueleaf Energy, discusses the potential for exponential growth in Asia’s renewable sector and discusses his organisation’s sustainable approach   Writer: Sean Galea-Pace  |  Project Manager: Nicholas Kernan  “Renewable energy is one of the global megatrends and Asia is a huge growth area for population, modernisation and electrification,” starts Sol Proops, CEO at Blueleaf Energy.Today, Asia is a region with opportunity. It’s a place which offers potential for establishing energy networks across Asia and actively avoiding the growth of new fossil fuel generation.Proops has witnessed first-hand the dramatic change in approach over the past few years. “We’re seeing that in developed countries the governments are turning towards making Net Zero targets law and this trend will further fuel the expansion of the sector,” he tells us. Blueleaf has a mission to develop, deliver and operate safe, high quality, ethical onshore renewable energy projects, delivering a greener energy mix and lower power bills. Blueleaf is a portfolio firm that is owned by Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG) and operates on a standalone basis. It specialises in the development, finance, construction, and operation of both commercial and industrial (C&I) and utility scale solar systems across the Asia Pacific region.    Recently, Blueleaf completed work on its first corporate PPA rooftop solar power plant in Penang, Malaysia, providing renewable energy to the automotive electronics plant for Bosch.  “This marks our first corporate power purchase agreement as we commence supply of power from a rooftop solar system,” says Proops.  “We are excited to contribute to Malaysia’s green energy transition

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UFS Dispensaries Ltd : Caring for Australia

A business that believes in giving back, UFS Dispensaries Ltd has been contributing to the Australian healthcare sector for 200 years.  

Phoebe Harper Callam Waller By Phoebe Harper Callam Waller

Bangkok Air Catering

Navigating DisruptionKhun Linus A.E. Knobel, Managing Director of Bangkok Air Catering, discusses the importance of an agile approach following COVID-19 travel disruptions Writer: Sean Galea-Pace  |  Project Manager: Donovan Smith  Regarded as one of the world’s most popular travel destinations, Thailand is renowned for its unique culture, offering exotic food, beautiful landscapes and rich culture to those that visit. Approximately 25 million people a year visit Thailand and it experiences one of the highest tourism rates from US citizens when visiting Asia.  Bangkok Air Catering (BAC) is considered one of the highest quality airline caterers in Thailand. Its guiding principle is to offer exclusive products and services through the values of reliability, dedication, compliance, never-ending care, and with pride. BAC is committed to sustaining its position as the leading food provider in Thailand.  Over the years, the organisation has successfully established Gourmet House Culinary Care, a provider of premium catering services for private hospitals, Gourmet Primo, a production plant of customised meal solutions that enjoys strong representation in the airport lounge, HORECA and event sectors, and Gourmet House Group of Restaurants, authentic cuisines with a modern flair.  And overseeing operations is Khun Linus A.E. Knobel, Managing Director at Bangkok Air Catering Group. Having been with the company since its inception in 2004, his passion for the food and beverage industry is evident. “I see it as much, much more than a profession or a trade,” he explains. “And it could never be a mere hobby for me. Whatever the occasion, it is nothing less than an art form. I have pursued

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TNI King Coffee

Building a Global Coffee EmpireThe story behind the rise of TNI King Coffee, a Vietnamese coffee brand and café franchise with ambitious plans at home and abroad     Writer: Sean Galea-Pace  |  Project Manager: Donovan Smith    Part 1 – A Personal Story “Coffee has always brought me endless joy, creativity and passion,” gleams Le Hoang Diep Thao, Vietnamese entrepreneur and Founder and CEO of Trung Nguyen, the company which owns her latest venture – TNI King Coffee. It took two decades of building up her first enterprise before the decision was made to launch a second startup, the lesson very much being the need to master the fundamentals of business, and coffee. “With Trung Nguyen, everything starts from the most basic things,” Mrs Thao says. “You learn about coffee beans, grasp seasonal prices, learn how to process and package finished products, self-manage with the first employees in the small coffee factory. Then, you gradually reach further, find ways to open stores and develop a distribution system according to international standards.  “As for King Coffee, since I have accumulated more than 20 years of experience, when starting a business, I chose to immediately set up a standards system from the beginning – a modern factory with international certifications, systematic distribution regularity, and diverse products to satisfy all the demands of enjoying coffee in modern society. However, you cannot forget to still pay attention to the smallest details towards perfection.” Mrs Thao’s journey to this point has not been without its challenges.  The entrepreneur admits that there have been ups and downs along the way,

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dpa lighting consultants

Light in DesignWe spoke to Richard Bolt, Partner at dpa lighting consultants, about the company at the centre of the lighting design industry  Writer: Marcus Kääpä  |  Project Manager: Ryan GrayIt is accurate to say that for many global industries the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a period of uncertainty, instability, and necessary adaptation.  The lighting industry, like several others, has experienced this past year as one of turbulence and challenges, and businesses within the sector have had to evolve and develop new methods of working to sustain their trading positions. But several companies are optimistic. “The industry is resilient and will continue to seek and explore new and exciting opportunities to maintain the progressive momentum that has built up over many years,” says Richard Bolt, Partner at dpa lighting consultants. “The medium of ‘light’ both natural and manufactured is so tangible and exciting to work, that it keeps us inspired and drives us forward.” Bolt has been with the company for over 24 years and joined after gaining an Urban Design Diploma from Oxford Brookes University in 1996. That year the firm had advertised for a Junior Lighting Designer with architectural experience, and Bolt, fresh out of higher education with a willingness to learn and excel, took the opportunity that presented itself.  “It sounded like an interesting position, so I researched the industry, not knowing anything about it, and found an instant attraction,” he tells us. “My architectural degree tutor had previously advised me to try and find a specialist design discipline within construction, and I quickly realised through the good fortune

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Stars Microelectronics

Innovation in ThailandMr. Prompong Chaikul, Chairman of the Executive Committee at Stars Microelectronics, talks tackling new technologies, streamlining supply chain management and making a mark on Thailand’s flourishing electronics manufacturing market  Writer: Phoebe Harper  |  Project Manager: Vivek Valmiki  The future looks bright in the Land of Smiles. Since the mid-1980s, electronic products have been at the forefront of Thailand’s manufacturing industries and are a key component in the country’s exports. Bolstered by private investments and the transfer of production from other Asian countries, it is unsurprising that Thailand has become one of Southeast Asia’s largest economies, second only to Indonesia. Using its own healthy economy as an anchor to its neighbouring developing countries, including Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia, Thailand enjoys a well-earned reputation as the hub of Southeast Asia when it comes to electronics manufacturing.  Thanks to the Thai government’s acknowledgement of the contribution made by electrics and electronics industries to Thailand’s economic development, investment incentives remain an attractive prospect to major global players. The country’s well-diversified manufacturing sector accounts for 33.4 percent of the GDP. It is calculated that various industries, primarily steel and electronics manufacturers, generated employment for 22.5 percent of Thailand’s active population in 2020 (World Bank).  At the centre of it all sits Stars Microelectronics, a well-established contract manufacturer of electronic goods based in Ayutthaya. Providing Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and Outsourced Assembly and Test (OSAT) customers, Stars also specialise in Microelectronics Module Assembly (MMA) and Integrated Circuit Packaging (IC). We spoke with Chairman of the Executive Committee, Mr. Prompong Chaikul, who is

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Digitising CambodiaIan Watson, CEO of Cellcard, discusses how his organisation is setting the standard for a digital revolution in Cambodia  Writer: Sean Galea-Pace | Project Manager: Donovan Smith   All eyes are on 5G. And with 5G there will come opportunities like never before for Cellcard and all of its customers across Cambodia. Cellcard’s CEO Ian Watson a self-described 5G evangelist and innovation leader sits at the forefront of this technological evolution. Having worked in the telecommunications industry for over 25 years, Watson has witnessed first-hand how the industry has transformed during the past few years as the Fourth Industrial Revolution takes hold.  But that doesn’t perturb Watson - far from it. It’s clear that Watson thrives in the face of pressure and he is tasked with driving Cambodia’s digital transformation journey and overseeing the launch of the country’s first 5G network. He’s aiming high.  “We’re excited about 5G. We’re not just here to digitise a company - we’re here to digitise a country,” he explains.   “That’s our mantra, and we believe that 5G is the way to really digitise this country and drive Industry 4.0 after COVID. We believe we will have one of the best 5G infrastructures across Southeast Asia.” Cellcard is fully-Cambodian-owned and is committed to connecting Cambodians wherever they may be. Watson is adamant that his organisation is at the forefront of the latest technological innovation and is well-placed to be a trailblazer within Cambodia.  “We’ve invested a substantial amount,” he informs us.   “All our 5G roll-out plans are ready, we’ve identified all the sites and place orders with

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Sri Lanka Association of Manufacturers and Exporters of Rubber Products (SLAMERP)

Sri Lanka’s Rubber Manufacturing and Export Industry Insight into Sri Lanka’s longstanding rubber industry and government-backed plans for expansionWriter: Phoebe Harper  |  Project Manager: Krisha Canlas  The Pearl of the Indian Ocean has long enjoyed the benefits of its strategic location as the centre for East West trade across foreign waters.  Ever since 1876, when 1,919 rubber seedlings were planted in the Henarathgoda Botanical Garden in Gampaha, prompting the birth of a lucrative supply chain that is yet to cease, Sri Lanka’s (then Ceylon’s) rubber industry has flourished.  70 percent of this natural rubber production is used by rubber manufacturing industries and their organizations, offering a wide portfolio of rubber-based products that are distributed globally. The most popular products include off-road and solid and pneumatic tyres and industrial/household rubber gloves.  This stable industry has become a mainstay of Sri Lanka’s economic growth as the third largest export sector, with the United States, Germany and Belgium amongst Sri Lanka’s top rubber export markets. The Sri Lankan Association of Manufacturers and Exporters of Rubber Products, or ‘SLAMERP’ was born out of a need to organize and protect those trading in the country’s rubber manufacturing industry.   For Chairman of the Association, Mr. Ravi Dadlani, Sri Lanka’s advancement within the global supply of rubber is a source of great pride.  “The country has not only gained recognition as a sourcing destination for quality rubber products, but it has also over the decades transformed into a niche rubber manufacturing destination that has won the confidence of global brands and investors from around the world.”Our Story With the explicit vision

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Singapore Manufacturing Federation

Manufacturing in SingaporeSingapore has one of the world’s most innovative and advanced manufacturing industries, moving full throttle towards Industry 4.0  Writer: Dani Redd  |  Project Manager: Matt Cole-Wilkin  Singapore has one of the world’s most stable economies.  According to Bloomberg’s 2020 Innovation Index, it is the third most innovative economy in the world too, scoring high on tertiary efficiency and higher education enrolment. The country’s largest industry is manufacturing, which contributes around 20 of GDP every year. Key industries within the sector include electronics, chemicals and biomedical engineering – it is also the fourth largest exporter of high tech products in the world.Rapid growth Singapore’s manufacturing industry is growing rapidly, and appears to be bouncing back after lockdown. In September 2020 it jumped 24.2 percent year on year, which was far above economists’ projections of a 2.5 percent rise. While precision engineering and general manufacturing subsectors shrank, there was a huge rise in biomedical manufacturing, specifically pharmaceuticals (113.6 percent). The electronics subsector also rose by 45.3 percent. These are strong figures, which are even more remarkable bearing in mind the global pandemic. So what explains the strength of the manufacturing sector in Singapore?One reason is the country’s commitment to innovation and technology. When Singapore became an independent republic in 1965 it had a small, low productivity manufacturing industry, and quickly began working towards industrialisation. It quickly moved towards high-skilled and technology-intensive economic activity, introducing high-paid positions and easing out labour-intensive, low-paid positions through automated production and industrial robots. By the 1980s computers and electronics soon began to constitute the largest

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Plus Solar Systems

Driving Sustainability in MalaysiaKo Chuan Zhen, co-founder and CEO of Plus Solar Systems, discusses his organisation’s journey and details how it became a major force in clean energy solutions   Writer: Sean Galea-Pace |  Project Manager: Nicholas Kernan  “In Malaysia, clean energy has increased in terms of adoption and awareness among the public, especially business owners.” Ko Chuan Zhen is a CEO and co-founder at Plus Solar Systems. Today, Plus Solar believes in the Energy Trilogy - Energy Generation, Energy Efficiency, and Energy Storage which showcases its passion towards providing clean energy solutions for a better future. Having initially been founded as Leaf Energy in 2011, the organisation became the first solar energy consulting firm in Malaysia. The three co-founders Ko Chuan Zhen, Poh Tyng Huei, and Ryan Oh Zhi Kang had a vision.  The trio wanted to drive the world towards a cleaner and more sustainable future. In 2012, Leaf Energy became Plus Solar and was created with the mission statement of reshaping the way energy is generated and consumed one community at a time through providing turnkey solutions.  However, Plus Solar’s journey hasn’t been straightforward.  “When we started, we installed solar on the roofs ourselves, under the rain and shine, whilst our friends were in corporate roles,” says Ko, co-founder and CEO.  “The working environment wasn’t very friendly, and I wondered if I should be sitting comfortably behind the desk as my friends in the corporate world were. I realised that some people enjoy being on-site and sitting at a desk, and at that point, that was who I was.” Indeed, like

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