Operations Manager, Sam Shiew Pei (centre, R) cutting the ribbon as General Manager, Victor Lie (centre, L) looks on during the SF Express branch ribbon cutting ceremony in Madang Complex on 22/03/19. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

China’s second largest courier firm SF Express (SF) wants to establish a stronger presence in Brunei’s e-commerce sector, which still lacked proper delivery services and connections.
The company aimed to do so by offering its established logistics and services that may also enable businesses to easily penetrate foreign markets.
SF which was established in China in 1993 currently has presence in close to 30 countries including Singapore, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand.
It is currently looking to expand its coverage into the Southeast Asian region.  Brunei is currently its most strategic target due to the intensity of its economic diversification efforts – it has been about three years since it first established a branch in the sultanate.
SF’s Managing Director for Brunei Victor Lie said moving into the e-commerce market is timely, since Brunei continued to see online businesses sprouting since years ago.
Since most of them are startups that made use of social media spaces, Lie said they might have limited resources to deliver goods to their customers.
They may have to set meeting points, or they may have to send goods to large number of clients on their own – but it will definitely be much easier if they can have a fast, dedicated and credible courier to help them deliver their goods every time there are purchases, he said.
“So that is where we come in,” Lie said.
A customer picking up a package at the SF Express branch in Madang Complex on 22/03/19. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman
“In terms of making an impact in the industry, it is definitely still very early to say; but we did offer a difference in the delivery service where Bruneians can now purchase goods online and get it delivered to their doorsteps within two to three days,” he added.
Lie said that before SF came, delivery of goods would take more than a week.
“So, I believe this is a very big achievement for us – but we definitely will work better to give Bruneians a more speedy and convenient delivery service as we grow,” Lie said.
Lie is also delighted with the prospective business opportunities brought by the completion of the Temburong bridge, which also complements the ongoing Pan-Borneo Highway project that connects Sarawak directly to Sabah.
“Not only it will allow us more opportunities to expand to Temburong, it will also increase our connectivity with the whole of Borneo,” Lie said.
Borneo has been in Lie’s mind for quite some time.
SF Express staff loading packages into one of their vehicles at the SF Express Branch in Madang Complex on 22/03/19. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman
“When it comes to business, people also think of countries like Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore.  Borneo seemed to be always neglected despite hosting a population of more than 20 million people altogether,” he said.
“That is definitely very big – and with upon competition, the Pan-Borneo highway will definitely bring us good business,” he added.
At the same time, Lie also highlighted that Brunei’s national flight carrier Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) is also increasing its destinations, which may also open more routes for SF to utilise and profit on.
“So, I think it’s a ripe time for us to be in the logistics business.  With all things in place, given time, Brunei is definitely poised to be a very good hub for deliveries,” Lie said.
The Bruneian
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