ST Singaporean of the Year 2020: Entrepreneur twins build up custom PC firm Aftershock

Brothers Marcus and Joe Wee started Aftershock PC in a small Serangoon Road shophouse back in 2012. Today, Aftershock is Singapore’s biggest boutique PC builder and has almost 150 staff on its payroll.

SINGAPORE - Back in 2012, two men started a company in a small shophouse in Serangoon Road.

Today, Aftershock is Singapore's biggest boutique PC builder and the firm occupies nine units in a light industrial building in Bendemeer.

It employs about 150 staff.

The company has expanded its operations to Malaysia and Australia. It has its own showroom and production lines in both countries.

Fraternal twins Marcus and Joe Wee, 36, run the business. Marcus is the managing director while Joe is creative director.

Marcus started the company with a business partner who exited after a year, while Joe came onboard in 2013.

The company has grown since its beginnings, when it found a niche in the market by offering customisable laptops and PCs.

But as it expands overseas, Singapore will not be its biggest market for long, said Marcus.

Aftershock is looking to expand to two more countries in the next year.

It has not always been smooth sailing.

"Once the company started employing 60 to 70 staff, managing people was a whole new ballgame," said Marcus.

"I tried to take on a lot of the responsibility myself earlier on, thinking it was better if I did it myself in a certain way.

"But now I feel that I could have invested in people earlier. Often people can surprise you, they might do things in a way that is better than what you would have done, or in an unexpected way," he added.

For their entrepreneurship and putting Singapore on the map, the Wee siblings are nominees for this year's The Straits Times' Singaporean of the Year award.

Aftershock's products have won dozens of awards, such as Best Gaming Notebook and Best Compact PC from leading media such as Hardware Zone, The Straits Times and Geek Culture.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, sales have gone up by 30 per cent as more people work from home and pick up gaming.

The company prides itself on its after sales service, said Marcus.

"That has been our biggest selling point since the beginning. Our vision is that if anyone buys our products and needs help, they will get help," he added.

This vision also shows in their hiring - 50 per cent of the company's headcount is involved in after sales.

Despite success, the company is not resting on its laurels.

"One of the real trials for a PC company is to keep going after it reaches a certain scale. As we expand, we have to maintain stability," said Marcus.

His advice to other aspiring Singaporean business owners is to not be afraid to fail.

"When you make mistakes and screw up, that's how you sort of figure out where the boundaries are," said Marcus.

He added: "It's very important to look at the market and look for openings where there is room to disrupt. It's very common in entrepreneurship for people to want to do a very generic kind of businesses, but you need to look for businesses where you can have a niche advantage."