Tyrepac Aiming for £1.2 million in 2010
It may be barely two years old (having been founded in April 2008), but Tyrepac is vying for position as Asia’s first tyre e-tail portal. Currently operating in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China and South Korea, the Singapore Hitwise report for the week ended March 6 ranked Tyrepac fifth on the Shopping and Classified listing, losing out only to the likes of eBay and Amazon. In terms of sales, the target for this year is 6 million Malaysian ringgits (£1.2 million, 1 million euros). This may sound small, but the company is already showing the rapid signs of growth seen in e-tailers from other continents. In its first year Tyrepac generated less than half of this, reporting a turnover of 2.5 million ringgits (£500,000; 400,000 euros).
Tyrepac’s managing director and co-founder Ler Hwee Tiong (39) told the New Straits Times how he came up with the idea of selling tyres online: “I have been in the tyre industry for close to 15 years…but after getting to know the European and American online tyre retailers, I realised how the Internet could be a tool for retailing. I was shocked how quickly these companies grew!” According to Ler, one of Europe’s biggest online tyre retailers, apparently referring to Delitcom, registers sales in the region of US$400 million (1.4 billion Malaysian ringgits) annually and the biggest American online retailer reports sales of US$800 million a year.
Referring to the importance of publicity, Ler told New Straits Times: “We are a tyre supermart, but it is of no use when consumers do not even know that Tyrepac exists. But the media has given us great exposure, and we are very active in marketing ourselves to the general public.” One example is the Formula Drift Asian series, organised by ESPN and held in Malaysia last December.
A quick look at the company’s Chinese website reveals that the company operates in around 10 major cities and provinces, with each in excess of 100 appointed fitting outlets. Singapore and Malaysia have a combined 100. A rough estimate shows that Tyrepac today has more than 1,000 fitting stations into. By the time China is ready, the company would have about 3,000 fitting locations in five countries.
Ler points to China as the most significant future market. At present China’s replacement sales are about 10 times as big as the Malaysian market’s 10 million units a year apparently worth some 3 billion ringgits (£600 million). Ler aims to capture one per cent market share.