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COVID-19 Accelerates the Development of Technologies for Services to Go Online

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Kah Yee EG of Key ASIC tells us about investing in developing forefront technologies.

First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?

Kah Yee EG: Great. Thank you for asking.

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Key ASIC.

Kah Yee EG: I started my career in Silicon Valley and then moved out to develop and manage the business in the Asia Pacific region for some years and founded my first company in 1996. I am a serial entrepreneur, and today, I am the Founder and Chairman of 2 public listed companies – Key ASIC and UCrest. I have also been managing investment funds and have also been investing in companies at various stages. Currently, our investment focus is on traditional companies that can be transformed to the next level of growth through digitalization.

How does Key ASIC innovate? 

Kah Yee EG: We continuously invest in developing forefront technologies such as IOT, AI, Blockchain, etc., ahead of competitions and working closely with partners to deliver tangible values to the customers.

How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?

Kah Yee EG: Positively and negatively.

Positively: the chip demand overall soared. Wide acceptance of telemedicine now by doctors and hospitals. Authorities are beginning to provide incentives to encourage patients to go online for healthcare services.

Negatively: factories are not able to produce as required due to lock-down. Travel restrictions limit the growth of new business and global trades.

Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?

Kah Yee EG: WFH imposed by authorities resulted in a significant productivity drop. The lesson learned is that WFH is not workable in general, and it is only workable occasionally for certain people who are responsibility-driven.

Technologies to support WFH are far from adequate. Employees do not have the office environment to encourage brainstorming, chalk discussion on a whiteboard, and a quick discussion to move forward when someone is stuck with work.

The unintended consequence of WFH is that many of the employees are not productive, and as such, companies generally are seeing negative or little growth except those that can benefit from the pandemic. Many employees are being laid off since the pandemic started, and unemployment is on the rise. To rebound the economy, new measures have to be installed to allow businesses to open fully, normally, and safely.

How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?

Kah Yee EG: We develop CRM tools specific to our company to manage our customer relationship. Our tools are very efficient and have demonstrated an increase in recurring business.

Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?

Kah Yee EG: No

Your final thoughts?

Kah Yee EG: The pandemic has triggered the acceleration of adoption of “works” or “services” online. In the past 15 years, e-commerce of goods has been pervasive, and as such, there is a huge growth when the movement of the population is restricted. However, the service industry, such as healthcare, exhibition/trade shows, education, manufacturing, restaurants, etc., took a big hit because these services are not available online. The pandemic will accelerate the development of online technology for the service industries.

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