Malaysia’s Mynews convenience store opens home-meal replacement production center with Japanese partners
KUALA LUMPUR, NNA - Mynews Holdings Bhd., which operates a home-grown convenience store chain in Malaysia, has opened a ready-to-eat (RTE) food production center with two Japanese firms, aiming to draw on their expertise to expand its business.
The food production center was launched in a ceremony on Wednesday in Petaling Jaya in the state of Selangor to be operated by joint ventures that Mynews has established, each with a Japanese firm -- restaurant chain operator Gourmet Kineya Co. and bakery product supplier Ryoyu Co. Mynews also announced it has started RTE food home delivery services.
Mynews is currently operating about 500 myNEWS.com convenience stores across Malaysia, of which some 300 are selling RTE foods, including sandwiches, onigiri rice balls and bento box lunches. They also have sections where “Maru Bakes”-brand bread is sold. The chain’s sales in the year to October 2018 rose 20.1 percent year on year to 393.4 million ringgit ($93.9 million), soaring 2.2 times in the last five years.
At the food production center, Mynews Kineya Sdn. Bhd., a joint venture between Mynews and Kineya, prepares sandwiches, onigiri and bento, while Mynews Ryoyupan Sdn. Bdh., a joint venture between Mynews and Ryoyu, produces bread. The center, built at a total cost of 100 million ringgit with a combined floor space of 12,077 square meters, started production in June this year.
Mynews CEO Dang Tai Luk told the ceremony that the center is being operated with Japanese equipment and production management and that it would be a great plus for his company in the fast-growing, fast-changing retail market. He told NNA that Mynews has established 85 stores so far this year and will open “more than 100 stores” next year.
Set to accumulate know-how vis-à-vis the Muslim market
Both Kineya and Ryoyu have a track record in overseas business. Kineya operates restaurants in Hong Kong, Indonesia and the United States, while Ryoyu directly runs “One Million Bakery” stores at home and abroad including five in Hong Kong and one in Vietnam.
Kineya also provides in-flight catering services at Kansai International Airport in Osaka, serving more than 40 airline companies including Malaysian Airlines. Kineya President Atushi Mukumoto told NNA, “Malaysia is the first country for us to provide ready-to-eat services abroad. But we have had the necessary knowledge as we own a plant that is certified to prepare halal meals mainly for in-flight catering in Japan.”
Inspire Corp., a Tokyo-based investment fund firm, invests in Mynews Ryoyupan and its president, Ryosuke Takatsuki, said: “Southeast Asia is a market with more than 600 million people in total. Of them, 50 percent are Muslim.”
“Experience in the Malaysian market will help us gain know-how vis-à-vis the global Muslim market, not just in Southeast Asia,” he said.
Ahead of the ceremony, Mynews has launched an online RTE food delivery service, myNEWS DASH, which will initially serve the Taman Tun Dr Ismail district on the border between Kuala Lumpur and the state of Selangor, and gradually expand its delivery service area.
Planning to sell 150 kinds of bread every year
Mynews is focused on bread product development. Yuicihro Kataoka, the in-store merchandize manager of Mynews Retail Sdn. Bhd, a Mynews retailing affiliate, told NNA: “We plan to develop three new products every week and sell 100 to 150 kinds of bread every year.” He added Mynews is considering raising the unit price of bread per customer to 3.5 ringgit from the present 3 ringgit by the end of October next year while enhancing the quality of bread.
About customers’ reaction to “Maru Bakes” bread, Kataoka said it has been accepted as a new genre: “bread from Japanese convenience stores.” “As for bread combined with corn and mayonnaise, Japanese-style mayonnaise has been appreciated better than local stuff during the trial stage,” he said. He added that sales of onigiri and bento have remained popular as items sold aboard traditional local “food trucks” while convenience store foods are considered rather overvalued. But Kataoka said Mynews aims to attract more customers by emphasizing the clean image and strict hygiene controls of convenience stores amid a steady rise in personal income in Malaysia.