Taiwan products popular during CNY season

Manager of Warisan Utama Jaya Emporium and Supermarket Mak Soon Seng showing a product from Taiwan specially brought in for Chinese New Year. The product, honey, is popular with the Chinese who see honey as a compulsory item to have in the name of tradition.

THE upcoming Chinese New Year has provided a local supermarket with the opportunity to cater to a niche market by bringing in food products from Taiwan specially for the festive season.

Manager of Warisan Utama Jaya Emporium and Supermarket Mak Soon Seng told The Brunei Times that bringing in Taiwanese products has served the supermarket well in offering consumers an additional choice.

As a management student in Taiwan, Mak was exposed to various Taiwanese products which he found could be marketed in the Sultanate.

"I used a lot of time to deal with the suppliers, often starting from zero. In my 20 years of experience in business, I realised that a business may not be successful the first time, but that does not mean it will be unsuccessful all the time," said Mak, who added that trust and sincerity are essential elements in doing business.

Loyal customers of Mak's First Emporium have already placed advanced bookings for Taiwanese products in preparation for the Chinese New Year celebration this year.

"More Bruneians are going to Taiwan and reading Taiwan news now. When they travel to Taiwan, they bring back products and ask me to bring it in," said Mak. With his customers' advice and support, the businessman said he feels more motivated to continue ordering products from Taiwan.

He also mentioned a customer from Miri in neighbouring Sarawak, who buys Taiwanese products from his supermarket after reading a report in a newspaper sold there.

Mak said his customers buy Taiwanese products as personal or corporate gifts during Chinese New Year as they find the packaging innovative and creative.

He also cited the healthier options offered by Taiwanese products such as vegetarian and no-sugar added snacks as sought after items by customers.

To prevent overstock, Mak emphasises customer service and focusing on a specific target market as important strategies to obtain a competitive edge over rivals.

"I stand by my principle. It's that to do business, you need to have your own business attitude," Mak said, adding that the company focuses only on one segment - the Chinese market.

The public can expect more Taiwanese products to be brought in as the manager revealed plans to cater for a round-the-year demand.

As the bulk of Taiwanese products brought in at the moment for the festive period are only seasonal goods, Mak said that frozen products and a variety of vegetables and fruits from Taiwan can be expected by the end of the year to offer customers a wider choice.

In the spirit of the festive tradition, customers will find available in the supermarket a variety of products popular during Chinese New Year such as noodles, egg rolls, biscuits, sweet snacks, mandarin oranges and honey.