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PETALING JAYA: Two mechanical engineering graduates made a leap of faith to start a business in a whole different field – information and communications technology (ICT).
Back then, the Internet had only existed for seven years in Malaysia and few people had personal computers at home, but new graduates Ko Yun Hung and Kelvin Pah Wai Onn decided to found SNS Network, a sole proprietorship that provided ICT products and related services.
The decision has paid off handsomely for the duo who have turned their small business in Ipoh, Perak, into one of the largest reseller of ICT products in Malaysia by revenue with annual sales of more than RM1bil.
The ICT provider has rebranded to SNS Network Technology Bhd following its rapid growth with diverse clients ranging from individual consumers to government-linked agencies and corporations.
Ko and Pah, who are the managing director and the executive director respectively, recently launched the prospectus of the company seeking a listing on the ACE Market of Bursa Malaysia to raise fresh capital to fund its business expansion plans.
Ko and Pah believe the ICT industry has plenty of business opportunities to tap into.
“The ICT industry is always interesting. Before it was called the IT industry and was a new industry that was blooming at that time. I chose this industry because of the opportunities the industry offered.,
“My parents helped me to start the business with my business partner and classmate Pah, whose mother contributed to our business capital. As fresh graduates we did not have capital to start a business, but we had many wild ideas,” Ko told StarBiz.
He said it was not easy to succeed in this industry due to plenty of competition with newcomers and large size resellers.
“We chose SNS’s positioning carefully and the target markets we wanted to serve. We identified our niche and made sure we deliver and so we have grown in strength over the years.
“This industry still has a bright future because things are always changing. For instance, after the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of users surged in our company, which translates into many opportunities,” he said.
SNS Network’s growth over the years had faced its challenges, Ko said.
“The main challenge we are facing now is talent. Getting the right talent is very important. The ICT industry is not easy for people to adopt because there is always new knowledge and things are changing rapidly in the industry.
“The commitment is that we have to make sure our people are trained to keep themselves up to date with the latest skills and knowledge in the industry.
“Besides providing training, retaining people is the challenge. Our upcoming initial public offering (IPO) is an opportunity for our employees to participate in the company’s equity.