Local e-commerce platform to help MSMEs

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (The Brunei Times/ANN) - Cube Junction (CJ), a local e-commerce platform, was officially launched yesterday, providing Bruneian micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with a new way to take their businesses both online and abroad.

The launch took place at the Design and Technology Building in Anggerek Desa, and was facilitated by the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Brunei Darussalam (NCCIBD).

The guest of honour was Nurul Qomar, the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Brunei Darussalam; with Dr Haji Kamaruddin bin Dato Seri Paduka Haji Talib, the Chairman of NCCIBD, also being present.

Mentored under the Cottage and Youth Initiative Programme at the iCentre, CJ is a Bruneian company with a hybrid online social network and marketplace.

CJ works very closely with locally registered regional freight forwarders, Concord Transworld Forwarding, for Brunei inland & hinterland distribution; and is teaming up with AFL Logistic Hong Kong, an international e-commerce and logistics company, to boost cross-border trade for Brunei Darussalam’s e-commerce industry, serving the Asean Economic Community, the Asean+3 market and beyond.

In addition, strategic alliance agreements with AFL Logistic, Hong Kong, for logistic services and Cargolink Indonesia, will allow CJ to establish its presence in other countries such as China, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Through the strategic alliance agreements, CJ will be expanding its international freight forwarder alliances beyond the Asean region and China.

CJ also works to promote nano and micro businesses and SMEs to the market, and help them sell their products online, both locally and for export.

Through CJ, buyers and sellers can interact with each other in real-time, and conduct their transactions on CJ’s online market place – all in one platform.

It also aims to be a premier e-commerce platform for the people in the regions of BIMP-EAGA, Asean and Asean+3.

Meanwhile, CJ is exploring opportunities for a platform to promote Halal products ranging from food to cosmetics to apparel and footwear.

A keynote address was delivered at yesterday’s launching ceremony by Captain (Rtd) Zailan bin Pehin Dato Mohd Don, the Advisor for NCCIBD and the Principal of the Cottage and Youth Initiative Programme.

"With Brunei going towards a sustainable economy in non-oil and gas sectors by 2035, addressing the current challenges or issues, NCCIBD’s primary plan will focus on promoting businesses through an online retail platform, Asean-style; dealing with premium products, Halal products, value-added products, small volume trading and providing services for nano and micro businesses and SMEs," he said.

"NCCIBD foresees that the CJ platform will solve some of the previous issues that arose such as high cost of startup and expenses for MSMEs, in terms of rental, production necessity (expensive packaging, machinery and equipment) and volume production capacity, manning, limited access to market, unemployment and job creation.

"This platform will create self-employment for the nano and micro businesses, and create business for SMEs to create jobs for employment.

"A startup online to offline (O2O) centre - the CJ Brunei O2O Centre - will be set up by the end of this month at the iCentre, to market our local SMEs products offline. This centre will also cater to SMEs in Asean+3 to showcase their products for the local market during transhipment period. To allow our local products to enter the international offline market, CJ’s expansion plan will be creating O2O centres in Asean+3 countries."

Captain (Rtd) Zailan also explained that a special feature of the Brunei O2O Centre will be a weekly focus group on product evaluation, in addition to packaging and labelling, conducted by the Cottage and Youth Initiative Programme at the iCentre.

"Basically, by utilising CJ, MSMEs and cottage businesses will only require minimum costs on operation and can operate their businesses from home," he said.

"CJ also provides a door-to-door delivery service system anywhere in the world, which directly solves the primary issue of transportation and logistics for small Bruneian businesses.

"With all the programmes and mechanisms in place, we will integrate the marketing of these products and Brunei premium local products through the CJ platform to promote our local brands to go global with the provision of the NCCIBD."

Presentations were delivered during the launching by representatives of CJ, AFL Logistic and Cargolink Indonesia.

The CEO of CJ, Ramlee bin Zainuddin, in his presentation explained that the platform’s objectives include to diversify the local economy to non-oil and gas; promote local SMEs to expand locally and internationally through digital marketing at their O2O outlet; promoting local SMEs through a fulfilment centre; promoting local self-employment and employment; and setting up Brunei Darussalam to be a dominant Halal hub in the international market.

Quoting Bill Gates, he said, "If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business."

The CEO went on to share CJ’s expansion plans: For 2017, it plans to establish O2O centres in Brunei Darussalam in quarter 1, Indonesia in quarter 2, Malaysia in quarter 3 and China in quarter 4. CJ also plans to open the CJ-AFL FTZ Fulfilment Centre in and the CJ-AFL Halal Hub in Brunei Darussalam in quarter 2 and quarter 3 of 2017, respectively. For 2018, it plans to set up O2O centres in Thailand in quarter 1, Philippines in quarter 2, Japan in quarter 3 and South Korea in quarter 4.

More information on the e-commerce platform can be found at www.cubejunction.com.