Kinofy launches e-platform to help firms enter China

At the launch of Kinofy's e-commerce platform yesterday were (from left) Kinofy co-founders Ting Yen Hock and Paul Chong, Enterprise Singapore assistant chief executive Yew Sung Pei, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran, Kinofy co-fo
At the launch of Kinofy's e-commerce platform yesterday were (from left) Kinofy co-founders Ting Yen Hock and Paul Chong, Enterprise Singapore assistant chief executive Yew Sung Pei, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran, Kinofy co-founder Kawee Chong, Three Rifles Group chairman Chong Chong Choong, and Winnow Investments managing director Tay Beng Chuan. The platform facilitates the ease of entry for foreign brands into China's consumer market of more than one billion shoppers.PHOTO: KINOFY

Users can set up shop on WeChat app; time to start business cut from 1-2 years to 21/2 months

Singapore company Kinofy Group has rolled out an e-commerce platform that is touted to be a shortcut for businesses hoping to enter the China market.

The Kinofy platform allows business owners to set up shop on China's popular social media app WeChat, facilitating the ease of entry for foreign brands into the country's consumer market of more than one billion shoppers.

This shortens the time needed for foreign brands to start doing business in China, from the usual one to two years to 21/2 months, said Kinofy Group, a spin-off of health and beauty company Kino Biotech Group.

The platform was launched yesterday by Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran, who said: "Kinofy's end-to-end solution means businesses will be able to scale up quickly, test market viability and build brand awareness in a cost-effective way."

At the launch at Sheraton Tower, Kinofy Group co-founder Kawee Chong said it usually costs foreign brands more than $300,000 to set up business in China, including the cost of warehousing, for instance.

But business owners need to pay just a yearly subscription fee of $36,000 to start offering their goods and services in China if they use the Kinofy platform, he added.

"Singapore companies will enjoy a 70 per cent subsidy for their first-year subscription to Kinofy through the SkillsFuture Singapore grant," said Mr Chong.

Nearly 50 brands are already on the Kinofy platform, including Kinohimitsu, Esthemedica and Naturext, said Kinofy Group. It said it also provides warehousing and logistics solutions at the Ningbo Free Trade Zone, allowing businesses to reach China's 613 cities.

A three-day training course will be provided for subscribers to get familiarised with China's economic landscape and WeChat ecosystem, he added.

Nearly 50 brands are already on the Kinofy platform, including Kinohimitsu, Esthemedica and Naturext, said Kinofy Group. It said it also provides warehousing and logistics solutions at the Ningbo Free Trade Zone, allowing businesses to reach China's 613 cities.

Although the company is now focusing on bringing international brands to China, Mr Chong said there are also plans to expand the platform to bring Chinese brands into Singapore and other markets, particularly in South-east Asia.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2018, with the headline 'Kinofy launches e-platform to help firms enter China'. Print Edition | Subscribe