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Bee Cheng Hiang

From mobile cart to multi-million dollar enterprise

Who would have thought that the brainchild of an enterprising Singaporean in 1933 would lead to the beginning of a flourishing barbecued meat business today?

What started out as a mobile cart peddling homemade barbecued meat, or more commonly known as bakkwa, in Chinatown by its founder Mr Teo Swee Ee budded into a multi-million dollar enterprise with ventures beyond the shores of Singapore.

 
BCH has expanded its product offerings to include prawn rolls, seaweed rolls and cuttlefish.
 

Daniel Wong, Group General Manager of Bee Cheng Hiang Hup Chong Foodstuff Pte Ltd.

Speaking to Daniel Wong, the Group General Manager of Bee Cheng Hiang Hup Chong Foodstuff Pte Ltd, we find out more about the family's barbecued meat business.

The company and its core product has since evolved with the times and expanded its offerings to include prawn rolls, crispy pork floss, cuttlefish, seaweed rolls, to name a few.

With a company philosophy that believes in constant improvement and quality, Bee Cheng Hiang (BCH) has also innovated new products such as the latest EZ Cheese, Gourmet and Chiziban.

"Bee Cheng Hiang is a company that is very forward looking. We desire to do something different to be at the forefront of the industry," said Mr Wong, who then goes on to describe how these products were conceptualised.

The customer profile of Bee Cheng Hiang (BCH) 10 years ago was that of the older generation. With the changing of times, this pool of customers also aged, which is the challenge BCH had to face - How to attract a new pool of customers who are younger?

   

 
From the traditional pork floss evolved the mini floss roll (left) and the crispy pork floss (centre).


The barbecued pork now comes packed in a premium box which can be given as gifts.

From market research and surveys which BCH conducted, it found out that the product was associated with the older generation and youngsters of today are not too keen to get their hands dirty eating big slices of bakkwa.

Thus the company embarked on a journey to change their retail image, packaging and came up with new products to attract the younger crowd. This proved to be a successful strategy as sales figures continued to climb with the advent of the mini easy pack and the EZ Cheese, which was introduced in mid 2006.

 


The EZ Cheese was introduced to capture the younger market.

The Gourmet bakkwa, which is made from the best part of the pig, stemmed from the desire to satisfy customers with a connoisseur taste bud. These are people who want nothing but the best. As Mr Wong so aptly puts it, "it's about indulgence."

Chiziban, on the other hand, is a crispy version of bakkwa. This product was conceptualised when BCH was trying to venture into the snacks market. From their research, they found out that consumers are looking for snacks that are crispy, convenient to eat and easily accessible.

The Chiziban was developed by an ingenious modification of the traditional bakkwa manufacturing process and set the precedent in this industry by introducing the healthy bakkwa. It is made from pork loin, contains nutritional properties, and contains less calories and fat than chicken breast.
 

The Gourmet bakkwa is made from the best part of the pig.  
 

The EZ pack barbecued pork can have a shelf life of up to six months.

BCH's products have become the industry standards and with its wide distribution network, have become available in many parts of the world. Its pre-packed products can have a shelf life of up to six months.

Today, the company boasts of 30 outlets in Singapore, 50 outlets in overseas markets including Malaysia, Indonesia and China, as well as 35 franchise outlets in Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines. It is hoping to expand by 30 to 40 outlets both locally and overseas this year.

   

Chiziban is the healthy version of the tradition bakkwa.

Bee Cheng Hiang's flagship store along
New Bridge Road.

In venturing overseas, BCH quickly learned the business culture of the countries and adopted the same product offerings in these new markets, and has since proved to be extremely successful.

As a member of the BuySingaporeTM portal, BCH hopes to use the portal as a channel to expose the brand name to the rest of the world.

"We want to showcase the right category of products to different parts of the world and help overseas customers source for our pre-packed products," said Mr Wong.

BuySingaporeTM is a joint initiative between International Enterprise Singapore and Abecha Pte Ltd to provide business matching services between Singapore-based companies and the global business market.

This initiative aims to showcase Singapore companies, especially small and medium companies, to international markets through one national e-channel that leverages on the strong attributes of the "Singapore" brand known for its quality and efficiency.

 

The e-platform allows overseas companies to search and locate Singapore companies, industries, products and services. Conversely, overseas companies are also able to post business opportunities on the Buy Singapore portal to create win-win global business partnerships.

To read more about the benefits of joining BuySingapore as a Corporate member, please click here.


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