Excerpts from a recent interview with The Herald & Chief Sales Officer of Apxara Travel & Events, Malaysia.
Hello Mr. Yuen. I can’t help but to ask, how do people usually address you? I mean, what is your preference, do you prefer to be called KL or Yuen?
(Laugh slightly) Thank you for the question. I have people calling me both KL and Yuen, but I think most people would address me by my surname “Yuen”. As a matter of fact, I don’t mind either as they are both my actual name as appear in my National Identity card. Interesting how you start the interview by asking my name (laughs slightly again) and oh….. just call me “Yuen” and you can drop the word “Mr.” (laughs slightly again)
That’s great Yuen. My next question is about names of your companies. I hear you sometimes referring your company as Aavii yet sometimes Apxara. So which is which and why 2 names?
Great question. So, I am a shareholder & part owner of the Group, Aavii Worldwide Sdn. Bhd., and Aavii owns 2 subsidiary companies namely Apxara Travel & Events Sdn. Bhd. a fully licensed travel agent (KPL4706) and event management company and Accucap Sdn. Bhd., an events technology & content development company. Many multinational in the healthcare industry in Malaysia would have heard of the name Apxara, and I must say Apxara is a very reputable name for the last 18 years amongst Pharma, Nutrition & to a certain extend Medical equipment companies. Apxara seats in a lot of these Healthcare and also other Corporate companies’ preferred vendors’ list and Apxara is the official name for all business transactions with our corporate clients. Aavii on the other hand, is the holding company, and we use Aavii for branding purposes to represent our group: Apxara & Accucap.
Accucap is the subsidiary that we own and Accucap’s main line of businesses are Audio Visual (AV) Equipment rental and content development. Unlike other AV equipment rental companies, Accucap’s customer experience is very different as we do not just provide the rental of the equipment, we work with our customers to trouble shoot technical challenges and give events tech solutions to elevate delegate experience. Not forgetting the amount of great content, video productions, projection mapping content and a host of other unique events which we Accucap has done in the last 19 years of existence.
Wow, that seems quite a mouthful (laugh). I like to be a little blunt now - I realized both Apxara & Accucap have been around for almost 2 decades, but how come the general public has hardly heard of those 2 names?
(Laughed out really loud) Yes you’re dead right and nothing blunt at all. I’d rather you ask it directly. Apxara has spent the last 18 years working primarily with the healthcare industry and only in the last 2 years + the pandemic year of 2020 that Apxara has reached out to other industries such as Beauty, Banks, Telcos and Insurance companies. Apxara was making great progress with our new found industry until the pandemic hits. Business was so good that 2018 and 2019 was Apxara & Accucap’s record breaking years both in revenue and profit. Besides, both Apxara and Accucap’s names were never meant to be your household names like Air Asia, Nestle or Daikin as our business model has always been B2B (Corporate companies) instead of B2C (End Consumers).
I like to jump straight into your new product which is the very reason for this round up (meeting). AVA, Aavii Virtual Artistry – what is it, who is it for and why another virtual platform now when there are many already out there?
AVA is a virtual platform for Meetings, Conferences, & Exhibitions launched in the mid of December 2020. We launched it to elevate conference & events delegates experience after a year dotted with unimaginable amount of Zoom meetings and webinars in 2020. Many of our clients especially in the healthcare sectors are experiencing Zoom fatigue by now. Just Apxara alone, we have managed 153 webinars & live streaming events on multiple video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Webex, GoToWebinar & Microsoft Teams since March 18th (Malaysia’s first full lockdown) and many are looking for affordable alternatives instead of existing platforms that are out there which many are based outside of Malaysia and can be as far as the US, Spain or Australia. We feel that our customers want something closer to home and know that their comment and calls are going to be answered locally instead of worry about time difference when dealing with platforms that are located outside of Malaysia.
AVA is created with our healthcare customers in mind eg. One of AVA’s registration sign-up question is delegate’s CPD (Continuous Professional Development) number and that is a standard requirement. Apart from that AVA is very affordable.
Oh, how I love the word “affordable” especially in such times. So how much is affordable?
Our entry level option is AVA Gold. AVA Gold is a tailormade product based on our customers’ demand and at this point, I strongly believe we don’t have a competitor in this space. Ops, perhaps I shouldn’t be so sure about this (laughed) as Covid19 has accelerated many things in our lives. Well, lets just say that I like to keep our pricing “competitive” and affordable is definitely another word for it. If you really want to know, make an appointment with our DreamCrafter at firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll guide you through the process and price list.
So, moving forward, how do you see the conference and events market, and how is Aavii going to be different from your competitors?
Apxara Travel & Events is a fully licensed travel agent and event management company based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In such daunting times of Covid19, the company is still running with 30 full time employees working from home every Tuesday to Friday (Mondays all employees are required to report to their headquarter in VSQ Petaling Jaya). You can be assured that my partners and I are extremely bullish with our industry moving forward, with or without covid19. On one hand, our clients are telling us that they can’t wait for face-to-face interaction and on the other hand, there are still more than a thousand Covid19 cases in Malaysia every day. Until we have between 60% – 70% Malaysian population vaccinated, the full scale of our industry won’t be back. So, the way forward between now and perhaps 1st quarter of 2022, we are certain that conference & events will either be:
1) Hybrid events – part live & part live-stream or
2) Virtual Event Platform such as AVA (Aavii Virtual Artistry) with local support crew and affordable prices.
Though the above 2 options are rather ubiquitous by now, but having the right team who understands clients’ needs in that specific industry will set our group apart from the noise. To further illustrate our confidence, including virtual AGMs which our subsidiary Accucap has done in 2020, our group has done a total of 183 events during the height of the pandemic year of 2020. I strongly believe that my partners and the superb team behind the name Aavii plus our past 18 years of insights into our core clients’ industries are our greatest assets and strengths today.
And oh…. I forgotten to update that effective 15th Nov 2020, Apxara Travel & Events is BCD Meetings & Events (BCDME) global partner in Malaysia. It’s our greatest honour to be part of a global agency and that means we will have global insights and best practices from around the region to catapult our growth even further. With BCDME’s strength in SMM (Strategic Meeting Management) & it’s core reporting systems and processes backed by Aavii’s existing local knowledge in our key competencies areas of Pharmaceutical & Financial institution, I must say that the future for our group is extremely promising. That’s also the very reason why our group is constantly in a look-out for talents who are passionate about conference, incentive travel & events industry. Just in case if you have ex colleagues, friends etc. who are interested in our industry, do drop your full CV to email@example.com.
Oh, what are some of the positions that you are always in the look-out for?
Hmmmm….. Internship will be great for a start if you have no whatsoever knowledge in the MICE industry (Meetings, Incentive, Conference & Events) and oh… I need to specifically clarify that the last ‘E’ in MICE is deliberately changed from Exhibition to Events as we don’t manage exhibition. We are almost always hiring experienced Event Project Lead with minimum 5-years experience and other positions such as Marketing Communication Executive or even a whole team of experienced graphic, motion graphic and 3D designers. I believe our subsidiary Accucap headed by Mr. Jim Tan – The Maverick & Chief Sales Officer is also in the look out for Audio Visual positions and one Admin Support position.
Wow, it sounds like Aavii is on an expansion mode (smile). Well, I know our time is up and I know you have a next meeting to get to, so thank you so much for your time Yuen and for the insights into Aavii. I wish for a smooth recovery in the MICE industry and all the best.
Thank you & you are most welcomed.