History Of This Malaysian Convenience Store & Its Founder
MyNEWS recently made headlines for its plans to bring a popular South Korean convenience store known as CU to Malaysia.
The launch is slated for early 2021, with around 30 to 50 stores to open in the first year and 500 within 5 years.
However, even before this recent news, it’s hard to deny that MyNEWS is not already a prolific brand in Malaysia.
To her credit, she operates more than 530 stores to date.
MyNEWS ‘growth and expansion may not have been as explosive as that of its competitors 7-Eleven and FamilyMart, but we would say it has the most interesting and humble beginnings.
Just as humble as MyNEWS ‘beginnings are the debut of its founder Dang Tai Luk, who was named Ey 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year in Malaysia.
Despite having a bachelor’s and master’s degree in computer science from the University of Manitoba, Canada, Dang did not hold a privileged position.
In an interview with The Edge, Dang shared that he grew up watching his father support nine children through rubber patting and ultimately his metalwork business.
Growing up watching his father’s start-up had always inspired Dang to pursue his own business.
Before MyNEWS, Dang experienced two failures in distribution and manufacturing.
He failed the first time in part because of his partner’s inexperience.
The second time was due to “personal greed and mismanagement,” he shared with The Edge.
Finally, Dang and his wife, Ling Chao, opened the first flagship store in December 1996.
Their first store was actually called MagBit, combining the words “magazine” and “titbits”, which they sold in their store.
“It was a very small, traditional newsstand that my family and I founded,” Dang said.
The store was just a single 200 square foot newsstand in the 1Utama Mall.
It wasn’t until they launched their third store at MidValley Megamall in 1997 that they then changed the brand from MagBit to the MyNEWS we know now.
It was then that they formed Bison Stores was formed to operate and manage MyNEWS.
Bison was actually Dang’s alma mater college mascot, hence the company’s name.
Born ready in the middle of the competition
Although this is a small local store, taking on the big convenience stores like 7-Eleven didn’t scare Dang too much.
He shared his experience in an interview with Astro Awani in 2017.
“We come from a poor background with little capital. What we have is energy and talent, so we have to embrace them and grow.
“There are international brands and local brands, but local brands can also become big and strong,” Dang said.
In 2007, MyNEWS had already reached its 100th point of sale.
By the time they hit their 150th point of sale in 2012, Dang signed a 50-50 joint venture with WHSmith Travel, a UK retailer similar to MyNEWS, which operates at airports.
Their 200th and 300th points of sale followed in 2014 and 2016 respectively.
In the same year their 300th outlet was launched, they also authorized 2 MyNEWS stores at Yangon International Airport in Myanmar, their first stepping stone in the international market.
While treats have always been a staple in MyNEWS, that hasn’t stopped Dang from continually adapting to convenience store trends for ready-to-eat foods.
They partnered with Gourmet Kineya Co. Ltd. and Ryoyu Baking Co. Ltd. in 2017 to produce ready-to-eat meals and baked goods for its stores, marking a major upgrade in titbits and snacks.
The ready-to-eat meals and baked goods factories are located in a food processing center in Kota Damansara, where they moved their headquarters to the following year.
The current food processing centers that supply MyNEWS will also supply CU.
Convenience is underserved in Malaysia
From Dang’s backstory, it looks like he’s a veteran when it comes to adapting to modern convenience store trends.
It’s less surprising now that he’s decided to embark on another international franchise that will compete not only with his own, but with other establishments that were here before MyNEWS.
With the growing popularity of Korean food, music and culture among Malaysians, it is understandable why Dang is seizing this opportunity.
While many of us may see a market saturated with convenience stores in Malaysia, Dang is no different.
“This is how Malaysian consumers see it. But from the point of view of an industry player like me, it’s far from saturated. I call it underserved and underdeveloped.
“Our commodity industry lags behind other countries. When you are late and underdeveloped, it means there is a lot to do and we can do a lot more, ”said Dang.
In 2019, MyNEWS recorded revenue of RM 517.79 million, an increase of RM 132.14 million or 34.3% from RM 385.65 million compared to 2018.
Although their earnings this year have so far dropped to RM374.16 million, they are still keen to continue this sub-franchise for good reason.
According to The Edge, Dang noted that their group would see higher revenue because of the new stores expected to achieve better gross margins compared to MyNEWS stores, which tend to be 30% to 40% currently.
While their own outlets will continue to be the main contributors to the group’s revenue, Dang expects UC to contribute more in the future, once they break even in 2-3 years. .
- You can read more about MyNEWS here.
Featured Image Credit: Dang Tai Luk, Founder of MyNEWS (EY / MyNEWS)
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