For small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and micro-enterprises, having products of good quality is not enough; they need a solid platform as a stepping stone to grow and expand their business. Sands China, one of the leading integrated resort operators and a large-scale international corporation in Macao, has been playing an active role in providing such a platform for local SMEs.
Seng Kuong Ltd., a long-established trading company in Macao, has been dedicated to importing products from Portuguese-speaking countries for many years. Seng Kuong’s deputy sales manager, Mike Feng, said that the company has been working with Sands China for more than 10 years, from whom they have learned many effective management methods.
Established in Macao more than 50 years ago, Seng Kuong is committed to offering premium Portuguese products. To date, the company has successfully introduced dozens of brands of food and beverages to Macao. Seng Kuong is the city’s sole agent for Super Bock beer, Compal juice, wine from Quinta da Bacalhoa, Mimosa milk, and other products. Meanwhile, the company is also introducing to Macao the finest brands from Southeast Asia, mainland China and Hong Kong.
A reliable partner
Since the opening of Sands Macao in 2004, Seng Kuong has been its supplier. Sands Macao was looking for products with “Portuguese elements” and Seng Kuong has been a veteran agent. The company provides Portuguese beverages to hotel rooms and ingredients to kitchens.
The cooperation was logical, according to Sands China’s procurement and supply chain senior manager Rachel Zheng and assistant manager Bella Pun. Seng Kuong knows how to make full use of its advantages. Mr Feng points out that Portugal has had a strong influence on Macao’s culture and dining habits, meaning that Portuguese products are well received by locals and the Macanese. The company has also recruited a younger team. With clearer job allocation, it has also enhanced efficient logistics and raised work efficiency, making the SME stand out among its competitors.
As explained by Feng, the clearest advantage of working with Sands China is sales improvement. As one of the leading enterprises in Macao, Sands China has a large number of employees and visitors; therefore, order volume is relatively significant. In addition, SMEs can learn systematic and modern management methods and tools via cooperation, which enables SMEs to grow rapidly.
Sands China agrees that Seng Kuong is a reliable partner. According to Ms Zheng and Ms Pun, “Every year, Seng Kuong will introduce new products for us. After [a] bidding and sampling process, we update our product catalog accordingly. Sands China and Seng Kuong are in a working relationship based on mutual trust over the years.”
Resilient through the gloom of Covid-19
During its partnership with Sands China, Seng Kuong has taken proactive measures in order to maintain a stable supply. “We used to arrange clients’ products to arrive in Macao a few months before the actual required delivery time to ensure the delivery will be on time and the supply will be sufficient.” The measure is also appreciated by Sands China: “It’s rare and valuable for SMEs to prepare stock for customers in advance.”
However, the outbreak of the coronavirus interrupted the supply and demand balance of the market. As a lot of the products they supply are for local hotels, Macao’s sharp decrease in hotel guests led to a great reduction in purchase orders. Now that the epidemic in Macao is under control, the number of visitors is bouncing back, which brings hope to local SMEs, including Seng Kuong.
Growing from a traditional SME to a veteran company, Seng Kuong has set up different sales branches for different customers, and even dedicates a sales team especially to integrated resort operators. The business future for Seng Kuong is clear. Mr Feng said the company will try its best to provide more premium Portuguese products to Macao, building a bigger team and expanding its business. At the same time, he expressed the hope that the official Commercial and Trade Co-operation Service Platform between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries would be used as another means of increasing sales channels and exploring more opportunities in mainland cities, allowing more people to become acquainted with premium brands from Portugal.
Sands China recognizes that allocating dedicated teams to dedicated clients can result in attentive service. The integrated resort operator also suggests that proactive communication and premium products and services can help suppliers build trust and long-term partnerships with their clients.
Sands China’s long-standing effort to support local suppliers is in line with the Macao government’s initiative to “buy local.” The company’s partnership with local SMEs creates a mutually supportive environment in which SMEs gain business and experience while allowing Sands China to benefit from having local expertise, customer service and delivery.