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Building the brand

Charles Chin and his team are intent on building the brands they represent, bringing better value to customers

'I think our business model is quite unique. We do things differently, from how we run our operations to how we do our out-of-the-box sales and marketing.' - Charles Chin, MD of Indiba Asia

MOST bosses say that they wear multiple hats in their organisation. For most small- and medium-sized enterprises, this is their whole business model - employees need to be versatile enough to take up different positions in their organisations as the need arises - but this is more often than not borne out of necessity than design. For Charles Chin however, this business model is one he has purposefully built into his organisation.

Indeed, he (and his team) wear more than just multiple hats; they have numerous personas, each dependent on which business entity you are talking about at the moment. His main businesses are within the distribution realm, but he is more than just your average distributor. Indeed, Mr Chin is the group managing director of six different organisations in Singapore, two of which are Indiba and AiMediq. Yet for these two brands, he has named his organisations Indiba Asia and AiMediq Asia respectively.

The story, he tells us, starts with Indiba. When Mr Chin was introduced to Indiba's range of devices in 2009, he was suitably impressed. Its devices, which employ unique patented technology that can be used in the medical care, sport medicine, physiotherapy, and aesthetics fields, were highly regarded in Europe, Japan and Korea but the other Asia-Pacific (APAC) countries were largely unaware of it.

Spotting an opportunity, Mr Chin and his partners started Indiba Asia in 2009 and structured it as Indiba's APAC office. "While I take care of the profits and losses for Indiba Asia, with blessing from Indiba S.A., the parent company, this collaborative approach of engaging Indiba Asia as Indiba's office and direct presence in Asia, sends a very important and strong message to the local users that we are here to develop a long-term business relationship and here to serve you better," says Mr Chin.

"In our industry, customers always prefer and find ways to work directly with manufacturers to bypass the local distributors. There is a constant drive to eliminate middlemen to achieve better pricing, more focused attention and other perks by working directly with the manufacturers," says Mr Chin.

"Many players in our industry set up their company and run them as conventional distributors, hence the support from principal may not be as committed or satisfactory given its traditional Principal-Agent business model.

"So, Indiba Asia as the direct presence of Indiba in APAC, gives us exceptional competitive advantage. The customer can enjoy better pricing, more aggressive and flexible purchase options, branding and marketing support and uninterrupted after-sales services.

"And most importantly, as long as you own an Indiba machine, the users are able to enjoy HQ's continuous update of latest treatment techniques through continuous education and training, regardless when the purchase was made. And, the education is free of charge," he quips.

From the early days of educating customers on what the machines are capable of and who they are, Indiba Asia has since successfully established and strengthened its presence in this region. It today has its overseas offices set up in China, Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia and continue to expand their regional presence in newly identified countries.

"For Indiba, our vision is to have every single customer to own an Indiba machine. We believe this fantastic machine should be the must-have and essential tool each customer should have in their establishment."

The other businesses established by Mr Chin at almost the same time as Indiba are MEI Technology, which provides collaborative electronics manufacturing services; IONiaga, a B2C e-commerce business; and IOMedic, which is a medical equipment distribution company.

Mr Chin in fact collaborates and works directly with his partners and plays an active role in crafting and formulating the key objectives and strategies to grow in the Asia market. "I think our business model is quite unique. We do things differently, from how we run our operations to how we do our out-of-the-box sales and marketing," says the 49-year-old.

After extensive research, Mr Chin embarked on another professional medical devices business, and started AiMediq Asia. "With Indiba, we have a good track record so that helps. With AiMediq we will replicate the same business model and structure. AiMediq Asia will be AiMediq direct presence in APAC market."

With the intention of leveraging the regional networks he has established to introduce AiMediq, and specifically the ReOxy, a new breathing therapy medical device that treats a patient with individually dosed levels of reduced-oxygen (hypoxic) gas mixtures throughout the procedure.

"What makes ReOxy so unique is this is the first and only treatment (IHHT) machine in the world that has obtained CE Medical certification. It can be used in three distinct fields - treatment: to treat cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, obesity; prevention: anti-ageing, anti-stress, and can be used as proactive prevention treatment of cardiovascular diseases, as part of the wellness & health programme; enhancement: athletes' performance can be trained and improved by the machine which simulates altitude training," says Mr Chin.

"This technology is not new, it's been around for 50 years. Just that there's no other machine available in the market that can meet the stringent safety requirements required," he says. "We believe ReOxy will bring better quality of life to many individuals who are suffering from serious cardiovascular diseases, weak body and poor stamina, looking for an anti-ageing formula, or a remedy for stress. This includes myself," he says with a laugh.

The group has enjoyed rapid growth over the span of the last six years. "About 90 per cent of our revenue are contributed or transacted overseas. We will continue to invest to strengthen current overseas footage, to expand into emerging countries such as India, Myanmar and Cambodia. We have to go beyond Singapore," says Mr Chin.

To support the rapid growth in the region, the company has been building the team extensively in this region. "As small enterprises are more volatile to external challenges, we must always remind ourselves that we need to be lean, resilient and resourceful, hence, we need a team that can multi-task, is creative, self-motivated, endowed with good local knowledge and most importantly, possess a strong customer focus," he says.

"We wish to provide simply better value to the customers and stakeholders in various businesses we are in. This is the reason why we exist and to stay relevant. By working closely together and directly with our customers, we can jointly deliver best experience and value to their end customers."