It isn’t easy growing a company in the electronics industry – where cycles are short and changes are rapid. Yet Excelpoint has grown from a one-man company that started in 1987 to a leading regional electronics provider with over 650 employees in 10 countries.
To differentiate itself, Excelpoint focuses on research and providing value-added engineering design services to its customers. It was one of the first companies in Singapore to research the application of Bluetooth technology in consumer electronics. Now, through its research lab PlanetSpark Innovation Centre, it is incorporating newer technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet-of-Things (IoT) into solutions that range from thermal sensors to facial recognition systems.
However, R&D requires application and implementation at scale, in order to effectively monetise the initial investment. With Singapore’s relatively small market size, Excelpoint needed to expand its reach to take advantage of value chain opportunities in larger markets across the region to put its technology and products in the hands of more end-users.
In this episode of Building Asia with UOB, find out how UOB’s extensive network in ASEAN and Greater China helped Excelpoint expand its business overseas and connect to more value chain opportunities in Asia.
Albert Phuay (Chairman and Group CEO, Excelpoint):
I started Excelpoint in 1987 as a one-man company in Singapore. Today, it is worth over a billion dollars with offices in 50 cities across 10 countries.
We started out as an electronics distribution company. Today we are known as a leading regional total solutions provider to the semiconductor industry by focusing on R&D to provide value-added engineering design services to our customers. For example, Bluetooth related technologies.
We were one of the earliest to research this technology, in fact many household devices contain tech or parts made by Excelpoint.
Eric Tham (Head, Group Commercial Banking, UOB):
Excelpoint have embarked on R&D product development, working with suppliers and customers to provide value in terms of the usage of their chips and the products. In the process, they create demand and that differentiates them from the competitors.
Phuay Liying (Managing Director, PlanetSpark):
We recently launched the PlanetSpark Innovation Centre. The solutions coming out of the centre are powered by AI and IoT technologies. For example, thermal sensors which can be used for health monitoring, as well as facial recognition systems that can be used in retail analytics and smart home applications.
In Singapore, we mainly focus on engineering design, but you need the manufacturing power of countries like China and Vietnam if you want to bring those designs to market.
UOB helped us to expand into the region as they are very focused and has strong networks in Asia Pacific, especially helping Singapore companies to regionalise.
When a company expands its operations overseas, it’s not as simple as just renting an office and setting up and hiring people. You have to bring your funds into the respective countries.
Moving funds is not that simple, but it’s easier because UOB has got the network.
We have the network in the region and that’s where Excelpoint has the ambition to expand into this region… we work together.
There is a Chinese saying, 百年老店 (an everlasting shop). It’s not easy to build a company, and even harder to keep it growing. This is why continued R&D is so important to us.
My dream is for Excelpoint to be a ‘100-year company’, with the right business plan, the right team, and the right financial partner.