SINGAPORE, Dec. 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Enterprise Asia is pleased to present an impressive list of sixty-one outstanding award recipients at the Asia Pacific Enterprise Awards (APEA) 2020 Regional Edition. These leading figures have set and proven themselves consistent and exceptional entrepreneurial spirit in going above and beyond expectations during this unprecedented year.
Established in 2007, APEA recogniseses outstanding entrepreneurs and organisation representing the best the industry has to offer. An initiative by Enterprise Asia, the region’s leading NGO, APEA is the largest regional recognition program, with over 3,000 nominations received each year, and less than one-tenth of that receiving the awards in all 14 markets.
This year, Enterprise Asia has rebranded its flagship program – APEA, from Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards to Asia Pacific Enterprise Awards with two additional enterprise awarding categories – Inspirational Brand Award and Fast Enterprise Award in bid to further recognise championing enterprises in strong reputation and thriving growth. This brings APEA to a total of four awarding categories – Master Entrepreneur, Corporate Excellence, Inspirational Brand, and Fast Enterprise.
Due to the impact of the pandemic, APEA 2020 Regional Edition was commenced virtually on 20 November 2020 with the theme of ‘Accelerating Growth Beyond Borders’. The theme objective is to unlock boundaries and shifting businesses to move beyond adaption and lead with impact. The APEA has gathered distinguished business leaders and organisations across 14 countries and markets into one unparalleled platform in fostering the continuity of sustainable entrepreneur growth in Asia.
ILLEGEAR is Malaysia’s first custom laptop brand established in 2011. The brand was conceived when founder Chin Jiun How was searching for a laptop himself. He realized mainstream laptops available at the time could not provide the processing power needed for extreme use such as gaming or content editing. Unable to find the laptop he wanted, Chin wondered, "What if I build it myself?", and ILLEGEAR was born.
The ILLEGEAR brand is pillared by the belief that there is only one way to meet a discerning user’s every expectation perfectly – through customization. ILLEGEAR’s vision is to redefine the role computer systems play in human life while their mission is to continuously and consistently offer unbeatable performance and quality, exceptional service and expertly thought-out customization options to customers.
ILLEGEAR’s core values revolve around 3 ‘P’s – Passion, Performance and Perfection. The ILLEGEAR team exudes passion in what they do because the company was founded by a computer enthusiast and continues to recruit only like-minded computer geeks and hardware junkies. Their products are always built to perform at the highest level and as perfectionists in their field, ILLEGEAR is known for its continuous improvement both in terms of product quality and service.
ILLEGEAR’s Elements and Culture
ILLEGEAR is positioned as a premium custom computer brand catered towards extreme users such as gamers, professionals and creative content creators. As the company grew, this positioning expanded to include a wider market and more product categories. However, the fundamentals of catering towards premium extreme users remain. The brand communicates with its audiences primarily through two mediums – ILLEGEAR’s physical Concept Showrooms and a variety of digital platforms such as social media and website
ILLEGEAR’s Concept Showrooms are the main touchpoint where customers can physically interact with the brand. It is where customers can view, touch, feel and test ILLEGEAR’s products and acquire important information to inform their purchase decisions. It is also at the Concept Showrooms where customers can communicate with ILLEGEAR’s staff members who are trained to provide professional service and orientate customers about the brand and its products.
ILLEGEAR started at a fast pace and has since continued to build on that momentum, going even faster, in more directions, scaling and introducing new innovative approaches in the process. One such instance is an operational approach known as One-streaming devised by founder Chin. Through One-streaming, both upstream and downstream business activities are innovatively unified into one single stream. To accomplish this, the ILLEGEAR team works closely with suppliers and partners to ensure top-down processes flow smoothly and efficiently, and they engage only like-minded expert engineers and passionate computer geeks to ensure down-and-outgoing processes which will finally reach the customers are executed to perfection.
ILLEGEAR’s timeline spans only 9 years. The milestones that they have accomplished, however, may make it appear like it has been much more than 9 years. Since its founding until Q2 of 2020, the Company unlocks an average of 2.2 new major milestones every year, mostly in the form of winning prestigious accolades and awards.
Keeping a close eye on changing market trends and listening to customer feedbacks form an essential part of ILLEGEAR’s growth strategy. ILLEGEAR is often noted as among the fastest to introduce the latest components, specs and features. ILLEGEAR rolls out a new laptop, desktop or gear on a monthly basis, sometimes quicker, to better meet customer preferences.
One of the biggest challenges faced by ILLEGEAR was redefining the masses’ perception about customizing a system. In 2011 in Malaysia, when most systems available were ready-made and mass-produced, few saw the need or value in customizing. The team had to create awareness, educate and guide every prospect before they could even make the first sale. Despite running on limited resources, ILLEGEAR successfully carved out this new niche by consistently providing insightful product information, attentive service and outstanding quality at every customer touchpoint.
ILLEGEAR is recognized as Malaysia’s No. 1 custom laptop brand with over 95% positive customer reviews. The brand is also the undisputed winner of Lowyat.NET Community Choice Awards, bagging the prize for three consecutive years from 2015 – 2017.
The growth of the ILLEGEAR brand aligns well with the Company’s financial performance, with ILLEGEAR set for a record-breaking year as 2020 draws to a close. This has also allowed the Company to rapidly expand its workforce, going from a staff headcount of 18 individuals in the beginning of 2020 to 37 individuals as of September 2020.
The rapid growth is also reflected in ILLEGEAR’s balance sheets, with the Company’s annual turnover increasing from RM10 million in 2018 to RM19 million in 2019. In spite of the global uncertainty in 2020, ILLEGEAR continued its blistering pace, with its 2Q results already surpassed the previous year’s, and its 3Q turnover projected to break past the RM30 million mark.
The Company’s strategy for sustainable growth – is more growth. To be precise, scaled, well-managed and brand-aligned growth. The key to accomplishing this is a hands-on approach by the founder Chin himself when it comes to strategic planning and employee recruitment. This ensures every major move forward ILLEGEAR makes as an organisation is aligned with the Company’s long-term vision.
ILLEGEAR has set its sights on expanding its presence both locally and beyond Malaysia, with more branches established in other states as well as in neighbouring countries. Although the future direction of the brand is global, ILLEGEAR is determined to remain connected to its Malaysian roots. One of the founder’s vision for ILLEGEAR is for the brand to one day become a "Proudly Malaysian" brand that is loved locally, respected internationally.