• Growing my Business
    • Expanding Abroad

The Rise of QL Resources from Malaysian Shores to Asia’s Leading Agro-based Business

  • Article

From a humble beginning in a small fishing community in Selangor where it sold seashell powder to feed millers, QL Resources Berhad has grown into Asia’s leading agro-based enterprise which exports to more than 12 countries.

“Guided by the ‘value for all’ philosophy, which is synonymous to our company name in Chinese— Quan Li (QL), we have ventured into various businesses and today we are one of the prominent integrated agro-based business enterprise with a market capitalization of RM14 billion (US$ 2.93 billion) on Bursa Malaysia,” shares Group Chief Executive Officer Chia Song Kooi, who joined his brother Dr Chia Song Kun and other family members in setting up the business that dates back to the 1970s.

The company has expanded via organic growth and strategic acquisition through the years, with core businesses now spanning marine product manufacturing, integrated livestock farming, and environmental technology, to the master franchisee of FamilyMart convenience store chain in Malaysia.

QL Resources is one of the biggest egg producers in Southeast Asia with a daily output of 7.5 million eggs. It is also a key player in Surimi-based product manufacturing, with production output of about 70,000 metric tons a year.

Integrated business model that flows through the value chain

What sets QL Resources apart from the competition lies in the corporate ethos that the family and management team hold tightly to: aiming for win-win outcomes in which everyone benefits. Partnerships are crucial for growth in the spirit of Quan Li, especially when that growth is international expansion.

Over the years, QL has worked on integrating the business from the upstream activities of fishing and farming to the downstream food manufacturing and retail operations. While its roots traced to marine products manufacturing, the group’s business has grown to flow through the entire value chain, starting with deep sea fishing and aquaculture farming to the processing of primary material into surimi, food, snacks, and fishmeal.

The addition of the consumer-facing business of FamilyMart convenience stores in 2016 completed the group’s vision for a farm-to-fork value chain.

Now QL wants to replicate that business model in neighbouring Indonesia and Vietnam, where it has established a presence.

“When we go overseas, we are always looking for financial institutions to back us in terms of new investments, or M&As,” Chia says. “We believe HSBC is the right partner, with a strong global network and presence across ASEAN.”

Chia recalls that when QL first embarked on a business expansion to Vietnam, HSBC supported the company with competitive trade line terms that are particularly helpful with cross-border purchases, contributing to better working capital management.

Through the Evolve platform, HSBC also provides the tool to execute the FX booking more effectively for the Malaysian company’s overseas transactions, covering SPOTS and Forwards, which helps mitigating the risk of currency fluctuation and providing the stability needed.

24 years of partnership for global expansion

“As a growing business with global ambitions, investing in our future leadership capabilities is essential for the next phase of growth,” Chia shares. “With the next generation of leadership and succession planning in place, we are confident that QL is positioned to reach greater heights without forgoing the mission to bring affordable nutritious food to every corner of the world.”

Over 70% Malaysian businesses are planning to increase their investments within ASEAN, according to a HSBC survey of financial decision-makers in the region’s six biggest economies.1

Still, local technological capabilities and macroeconomic uncertainty also rank as the top barriers for Malaysian companies looking to expand into new ASEAN markets, the study shows, underlining the importance of advice and support from an experienced banking partner.1

“Throughout the 24 years of partnership, HSBC has been our trusted international banking partner every step of the way,” Chia says. “We have come far with HSBC as our partner and we cherish the fact that we share the same values.”

Contact us now to see how we can support your ambitions in ASEAN and beyond.