Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Brunei may start producing Mochi, an increasingly popular Japanese snack to be exported overseas next year.

Singaporean investment firm Angus International Holdings Limited has recently acquired a site at the Bio-Innovation Corridor in Kg Tungku to build its first Mochi factory in Brunei.

The company, backed by Japanese investments, gained the site with the help of Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) and other stakeholders from the Ministry of Energy, Manpower and Industry (MEMI).

The firm’s director and Chairperson Louis Ang said he was not able to provide the cost to be incurred and the timeframe to complete the factory, as he had just acquired the site after a series of discussion with the local authorities.

“I find that the site was huge, but we will only be taking a small portion of it to build our factory,” he said.

“So right now, we will need to prepare plans, which include setting the right budget and feasible timeframe as we will be building our factory from ground zero,” he added.

Ang also said that his firm may need to get more help from the local authorities to understand the legal proceedings in the country, as it was the first time for Angus International to branch out to Brunei.

His concerns include understanding the standards set by the government on building a factory, which he need to adhere to, and to proceed with labour and operational matters.

“Normally, a company will have to appoint architects who are well-versed in local policies and are able to estimate the cost and timeframe for us,” he said.

“But as of now, I could only estimate that our factory might take about six to nine months to complete, once construction starts sometime next year,”.

“At the same time, we also need to consider other factors like equipments and machineries, as well as resources to operate it,” he added.

At the interim, the company is targeting to build a factory that could produce 20 to 25 40-foot-containers of Mochis per month.

“Our business will focus more on exporting these Mochis overseas, but we will also distribute them locally to show to the people that we are here in Brunei,” he said.

“At the same time, we also want to explore possible collaborations with local businesses, and see how we can go about from there, he said.

The first year after being operational might not be a smooth ride, which is normal for companies who had just started out its venture overseas.

“But we will definitely try to polish our operations efficiently as we progress,” he said.

“It is normal for companies to want to be profitable and sustainable, but for now we will just be focusing on setting up the factory and ensure that it runs well,”.

“After all, one of the main roles that we agreed to assume is to help promote Brunei to the international export market – which we are confident to do so given the country’s perfect score for business security and lifestyle,” he added.

This article was first published on December 8, 2018 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 14.

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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