We talk to CECport's CEO Samuel Liu about its expansion into South-East Asia
With more than 30 years’ experience in the electronics distribution field, CECport has grown to become China’s top distributor, seeing momentous growth since day one. Aiming to be a one-stop shop for all things electronics, it has fingers in many pies, such as the incubator business, financial services, warehousing and logistics, as well as the distribution network itself.
Having secured 1.2 billion RMB (approx. 185 million USD) in Series B funding to fuel further expansion, we sat down with its CEO, Samuel Liu, and chat about the company’s business model and its South-East Asian market expansion plans.
EET: CECport business is consist of three main units: CEACI, your distribution arm, Firefly Workshop, your design chain, as well as EAChain, your warehouse operations. How have these three units contributed to your success, and how does your “New Distribution Mindset” work?
Samuel Liu: CECport has been transforming itself into a next generation distribution business, aiming to provide ecological service in the components supplier chain. While we are continuing to enhance our authorized distribution business through our more than 120 line cards, and a one-stop shop solution and innovative applications. We have proven our capability to service all parts of the supply chain. EAChain, as a significant part of CECport, has been putting its focus on providing warehousing logistics, financial services, and information services. Through its 50,000m2 electronic product warehouse in Humen, Guangdong Province, we provide smart supply chain services to wafer factories, packaging factories, chip manufacturers, distribution agencies, and equipment manufacturers. Firefly Workshop is another important element of CECport, providing design chain services through its R&D center, as well as a solution center and an education center. Firefly workshop has built a partnership with many IDHs to provide ecological technology solutions.
CECport wants to be an innovation platform for the electronic components industry, where CEACI, our distribution arm, Firefly Workshop and EAChain remain the three critical elements of CECport. This is how we differentiate ourselves from the traditional distribution business, and none is expendable.
EET: With your upcoming expansion into South-East Asia, you’re targeting Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. You also expanded into Singapore recently and have 35 branches in total globally – what lessons from these markets have you learned, and how do they apply to the coming expansion in Asia? Will your Series B funding contribute to this expansion?
SL: We will continue to expand our service to outside of China and heavily invest our presence in Southeast Asia and India. We have selected Singapore as the base camp for a start. We are engaging with our existing suppliers on how we could add differentiated values to our customers in those new markets. The Series B funding we secured is used for our overall growth initiatives.
EET: Why the South-East Asian countries, specifically? How do you plan to crack these markets? Will you apply the three-division model you use in China in your expansion?
SL: Southeast Asia refers to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines. We are now in Singapore and Malaysia and will explore expansion into other countries next by either utilizing our resources or working with local partners, focusing on their key customers and supporting key projects. Firefly Workshop will offer solutions and design services to our customers in Southeast Asian markets. Meanwhile, EAChain will provide the smart supplier chain services to the customers in Southeast Asian markets. Besides, we’re also optimistic about India market.
EET: Currently, you have roughly 50% international product lines, with Chinese product lines making up the rest. Is either going to be given priority going forward in your expansion?
SL: CECport has positioned itself as an innovation platform for the electronic components industry. Over 120 line cards with the mix of international and domestic is enabling us to provide a one-stop shop service to our customers. There are a lot of synergies among these lines, and we can provide most competitive solution to our customers.
EET: What technical/FAE support will you offer local innovative projects in the aforementioned Southeast Asian markets?
SL: We will offer local FAE support as well as solutions and design services through Firefly Workshop to support our customers’ needs in Southeast Asia and India. We are still in the early engagement stage.
EET: Are you targeting any specific niches of the market in Asia, what’s hot right now?
SL: Southeast Asia and India are diversified markets. We are looking at consumer, IoT and industrial at this moment.
— Jonas Klar is an editor for EE Times Asia