Mr Richard Ling, 63, the founder of Linaco Group, is one of the major players in coconut products in Asia and globally.
Establishing the Linaco Group in 1992 with his siblings, he began manufacturing high-quality coconut cream powder at a factory in Batu Pahat, Johor.
He subsequently launched the iconic Rasaku brand of coconut cream powder with then International Trade and Industry Minister Rafidah Aziz.
The company, now run by his sons, group managing director Jimmy Ling, 38, and executive director Joe Ling, 36, sources its coconuts from Indonesia.
In addition to being a supplier of coconut-related products, the company also expanded to acquire the Claypot brand of package herbal soup, and pre-mixed spices. It also created ready-to-drink Cowa coconut water. Linaco became the first company, not just in Malaysia but in South-east Asia as well, to offer locally packed natural coconut water in TetraPak Prisma Aseptic packaging.
For the company to further expand within Asean, Mr Joe Ling said the rationalisation of Asean government policies and duties and inter-Asean trade policies must be revolutionised so that it becomes easier for companies to do business in the region.
The company currently exports to more than 40 places, including Europe, the Middle East, Hong Kong, China and Australia.
Mr Ling said that as the company continues to expand, he hopes that Asean in the next five years would see better domestic growth through innovation of production and the localisation of production facilities to cater to the emerging markets.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
• This is a special series of articles by The Straits Times and its media partner Asia News Network to mark Asean's golden jubilee. Read about businesses from Thailand and Vietnam tomorrow in this space.