MEDICAL ASSISTANCE

Malaysia 2017 | HEALTH | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Lim Kon Lian, Managing Director of LKL International Berhad, on its international target markets, R&D services for clients, and the government's support for the medical equipment sector.

Lim Kon Lian
BIOGRAPHY
Lim Kon Lian is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of LKL International Berhad. He was appointed to the board in 2015 and is responsible for overseeing the strategic business planning, development, and operations of the group. He has vast expertise in the manufacturing of healthcare furniture and equipment, and deep knowledge and understanding of the medical and healthcare industry. In 1993, he co-founded LKL Advance Metaltech.

How has your business advanced in recent years, especially in light of the recent listing?

We started operations in 1996 as a manufacturer and trader of medical/healthcare beds, peripherals, and accessories, and our business operations and customer portfolio has seen a significant expansion over time. Between 2002 and 2008 we were exporting to 10 countries and today we deliver our products to numerous public and private hospitals and medical centers as well as other healthcare-related facilities in Malaysia and more than 30 countries across six continents. We have four objectives for our listing: to increase our local and global presence, recruit skilled employees, invest in new machinery to increase our production efficiency, and repay one of our bank loans.

What international markets do you target?

Africa is one of the markets that we target as we already have some presence there and also the ASEAN region. We currently sell to over 30 countries, or roughly 16% of all countries. There are still many markets for us to tap into and good opportunities for our product line that can serve any healthcare sector in the world. Through the listing process, we can brand our company internationally and tap into new markets.

How would you break down your current revenue and key markets?

The key market is still Malaysia, accounting for approximately 80% of our total revenue. Our market share in Malaysia is 40.5% in 2014 and we are one of the major local player. As of 3Q2016, our export markets comprise Asia (excluding Malaysia) with 14.68%, the Middle East with 2.13%, Africa at 3.79%, Central America at 0.17%, and Europe with 0.01%. In most markets, we have distributors and agents that help us with servicing and promotion.

Can you tell us a bit more about your products?

Our core business is the manufacturing of medical/hospital beds, including manual, hydraulic, and electric beds. We also produce medical peripherals and accessories such as medical carts, instrument trolleys, and patient transport trolleys. Our production facilities are all in Kuala Lumpur, and we intend to continue there. If we find a place where we can set up a second supply chain to expand our operations in another country, we might do so. We currently have our manufacturing, fabrication, and warehousing on the same premises; this saves us a great deal on logistics. We even source most of our raw materials locally, except for electrical components and hydraulic systems, which are from overseas.

What are some of the services provided by your in-house R&D center?

We have close relations with our clients and listen to their feedback on our products and how we can improve them. Our R&D is based on market trend and demand as well as customer feedback. Other input comes from exhibitions or interesting designs by other players in the market. We do not copy designs and instead take inspiration to improve our own production line. Another service that our R&D team offers is customizing products according to the needs of our clients. Our industry is increasingly becoming demanding, and we are always on the lookout to improve the safety and comfort of patients.

Have you seen an increased effort to push the medical equipment industry forward?

The government supports us by inviting us on overseas trade missions where we promote our products. We have often done this by ourselves, and that works well, but the government's presence helps us open doors that would have remained closed otherwise. Under the Eleventh Malaysia Plan, the government announced it wants to increase access to public medical healthcare. We see our growth merely in those terms: the need to expand public hospitals, thus requiring more medical furniture and equipment. We are one of the nation's largest manufacturers of medical/healthcare beds, peripherals, and accessories in terms of revenue, and I see our domestic market share expanding to meet the growing needs of these new public hospitals and medical centers.