I dare say it was with slightly little bit of destiny and loads of religion that I ended up doing enterprise in Thailand.
Quickly after graduating from the Nationwide College of Singapore (NUS) in 2019, I took up a job in e-commerce and was posted to Bangkok.
Being new to the place, I spent most of my free time exploring the town and discovering good meals.
There, I used to be launched to Ben Tun via a pal and investor. Ben finally turned a detailed pal and co-founder of our electrical bike firm — Glossy EV — which operates in Thailand.
Ben and I hit it off after we first met. I attempted talking in my damaged Thai, however he replied in Singlish as an alternative!
That was once I came upon Ben, who’s Thai, had studied on the Singapore Worldwide Faculty of Bangkok, which defined his information of our tradition.
We shared comparable entrepreneurial aspirations which led us to enterprise into the electrical car (EV) house in 2019, earlier than launching our model final yr.
It has been an thrilling journey doing enterprise out of the country.
Thailand is a promising marketplace for electrical bikes resulting from its excessive demand for EVs, supportive authorities insurance policies corresponding to subsidies, and well-developed manufacturing base.
The retail value of electrical bikes ranges from round US$1,000 (S$1,330) to greater than US$5,000.
These components, together with the low value of possession, make Thailand a sexy marketplace for electrical bike producers like Glossy.
I attribute my consolation in working in a international surroundings to a time once I spent a yr in New York Metropolis, working with early Spotify staff members to construct a start-up in 2017 underneath the NUS Abroad Schools programme.
It was via that programme that I used to be uncovered to the real-life challenges of constructing a enterprise.
I not solely realized find out how to construct a start-up from scratch, but additionally find out how to work with individuals from various backgrounds, and purchased information in departments corresponding to human assets and fundraising, that are very relevant to what I’m doing now.
I now journey continuously between Thailand and Singapore, spending two weeks in Thailand, then working in Singapore for per week, and again once more.
It may be troublesome being away from my spouse and new child daughter in Singapore, however the good factor is that Bangkok is only a two-hour flight away.
Enterprise was not at all times clean crusing, significantly in an unfamiliar territory the place there are variations in language, tradition, and methods of conducting enterprise.
There have been instances when my staff members couldn’t perceive what I used to be making an attempt to say, resulting from language nuances, and we ended up standing in entrance of one another trying to speak utilizing a translation app on our telephones.
Glossy has come a great distance and with our launch final September, we’re specializing in increasing our presence in Thailand.
I imagine 2023 shall be an thrilling interval for us as we launch our community of battery swapping stations in Bangkok, with the goal of eliminating vary nervousness.
I imagine Singaporeans are a savvy bunch, who’ve the adaptability to reside overseas and immerse themselves in different cultures.
Our authorities has additionally been very supportive of homegrown entrepreneurs doing enterprise in Southeast Asia, with many grants corresponding to Enterprise Singapore’s (ESG) Market Readiness Help Grant that helps native enterprises establishing abroad.
In our case, ESG has helped open doorways for us, via their networking classes with related firms and establishments in Thailand, which led to enterprise alternatives. I might encourage different entrepreneurs to leverage what our assist system can present.
Additionally, there are a lot of issues that Singaporeans can provide to companies abroad due to our publicity to world MNCs (multinational companies) which have introduced their experience and finest practices to share with us.
Moreover, I’ve noticed that there’s a deep mutual respect between Thais and Singaporeans, which fosters belief and open communication.
I hope extra Singaporeans will discover alternatives within the Land of Smiles, change information, and pursue their entrepreneurial journey.
ABOUT THE WRITER:
Mr Ong Zhang Quan, 29, is the co-founder of electrical bike agency Glossy EV. He’s an NUS Enterprise Faculty alumnus and travels to and from Thailand recurrently for work.
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