The history of the Internet is relatively brief, but is just as explosive. Since its evolution over the last few decades, there have been a number of developments in its application. And as it gave way to the boom of an internet era, many organizations have used its potential to grow exponentially.
Connecting enterprises to the benefits of the internet is Pacific Internet, Asia’s first ever iconic ICT brand.
Featuring in The Enterprise World’s this issue as a Top 5 Asia’s Leading Internet Service Provider To Watch in 2022 is the story of this remarkable brand.
Pacific Internet is one of Asia’s iconic ICT brands founded in 1991. As the first ISP (Internet Service Provider) in Singapore and the first Singaporean company to list on NASDAQ, Pacific Internet is now part of the Acclivis Group and a member of CITIC Telecom International Holdings (“CITIC Telecom”).
Working in tandem with the Acclivis team allows Pacific Internet to offer a one-stop regional ICT service to its enterprise customers and provide more choices in deploying the best latency and network through the enhanced internet connectivity services in the region.
Today, the company’s suite of solutions has expanded to include internet services, integrated network, carrier agnostic solutions and other complementary services.
“By further drawing on our history, track record and our parent company Acclivis’strengths in Cloud, Managed Services and the future of Workplace solutions, we have the ability to power Asia’s digital economy s and transform the ICT landscape.”
Overcoming the Challenges-
Pacific Internet has changed hands several times and each time, it has assumed a different business profile. There were initial challenges convincing existing and new enterprise customers that its brand was still relevant to market needs and its vision as the preferred connectivity provider in the Southeast Asia region holds true. But many customers have seen the company grow in almost every aspect of its business (e.g. expanded team, business coverage). Indeed, the company’s ability to execute has built up trust and credibility over the years.
But there comes a point in every company’s journey where they shift gears and go to greater heights. For Pacific Internet, that point was when they were acquired by CITIC Telecom, a major telco company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in late 2016. From then on, the company received immense support from its parent company and that has accelerated its expansion in the region.
In the past two years amid the COVID pandemic, Pacific Internet has expanded swiftly in Malaysia and the Philippines to add to their existing operations in Singapore and Thailand. This stands as a strong testament to their strong ambition to be a trusted digital transformation partner to companies in Southeast Asia.
“We will continue to build our setup by strengthening existing operations and exploring new market entry in the region where possible.”
The Growth Quotient-
“Our revenue has grown very rapidly since 2017 and contribution came strongly both from new markets and expanded services that we now provide.”
Southeast Asia is a diversified melting pot of cultures and one that is not necessarily the easiest to navigate due to the geopolitical, legal, economic and infrastructure landscape, and the speed and sophistication of technology adoption across the markets.
The ability to understand customer needs, place them as the focal point of the company’s service and uphold high standards of customer service is what differentiates Pacific Internet from other connectivity players. Pacific Internet’s continual pursuit of innovation for the benefit of its customers and partners are also key contributors to the brand and business longevity.
Lastly, the team remains true to its purpose to be the best digital transformation partner to global and regional enterprises operating in the region. That purpose cascades to all stakeholders including their people who are their strongest asset.
Pacific Internet’s Arsenal of Products and Services
Pacific Internet’s suite of solutions includes internet services, integrated networks, carrier agnostic solutions, and other complementary services such as mobility offerings. While enterprise connectivity is our core product, we work with other teams within the CITIC Group to offer a complete one-stop regional ICT service.
With a direct presence in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, Pacific Internet owns the mesh network across these markets and connects enterprise cloud workloads into a single virtual entity across Asia. In addition, their local teams on the ground ensure dedicated service and tailored solutions that meet local enterprises’ needs. Having this local team supporting the customers is key to ensuring that the customers are satisfied with Pacific’s personalized service.
The Road Ahead-
“A key input to where we go comes from customer feedback and input.”
The most important part of moving forward is listening to the customers’ problems and needs as they present new insights to the trends and challenges developing in each market. With these inputs, the company can then look for patterns – ie, if 2 or 3 customers start asking the same thing from them, it’s a sign that the market demand is there. This is where they tap into the first hand, first mover advantage and come up with new, sustainable products and services to address the market gap.
In May 2022, Pacific Internet secured an ISP license to operate in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest and fastest growing ICT market. There is now stronger brand visibility in Indonesia where the internet service the company provided is branded as “Pacific Internet”. This ISP licence adds strong competitive advantage to the company and enables them to offer the full suite of ICT services to the customers in a more cost-effective manner.
Richard Loo- Leading the Way-
Being a leader is all about providing a clear purpose and vision, working relentlessly to provide a product or service that the market needs while also building the right team to work together to achieve the company’s purpose and vision.
“It’s a tough act and only the most resilient succeed.”
Mr. Richard has spent over 20 years in the telecommunications sector. Being in the hot seat guiding the company through different stages of ownership and transformation (both industry and internal) has probably defined his career to a large extent. What he enjoys most is putting together a great team with the right mindset and skills to achieve sustainable growth.
Telling about his journey of Pacific Internet, he recalls a client experience that made it all worth.
There were a few that comes to mind, but there was one that stuck out. It was back in 2017 when the head of IT for Asia Pacific of a global commercial real estate service company was referred to the company by a colleague from Hong Kong on seeking help to support their call centre, which was based in a Southeast Asia city.
One of their key vendors in USA has just stopped services and most of their customer calls, which originated from numerous countries in Asia Pacific to their call centre were not working. Richard gathered the team, held a few quick discussions with the prospect, and decided to do the best to help them. In what would have taken weeks or months to do under normal circumstances, teams from Singapore, Hong Kong and USA worked together with the customer and partners in various countries to restore services within days.
To drive the project along, Richard had to get up at 12 midnight, to put it together with various parties. After the calls, the team here will get a short nap before continuing with the activities in the current time zone. At the end of the day, the client and his team were appreciative of their efforts. They have since expanded using more services in more countries with Pacific Internet and became one of their top few customers since then.
The Team that Makes it All Work-
In addition, the company provides the work life balance very much needed for its employees especially working mothers.
The entire team is unique in that they hire individuals from both ICT and non-ICT backgrounds, giving a well-rounded blend of talent diversity. Due to the diversity of backgrounds, each individual brings unique talent, knowledge and skillsets and are able to challenge the status quo.
“We encourage our team to challenge and stretch one another in thinking, processes, systems and setup so that we can grow and the whole is more than the sum of its parts.”
Mr. Richard’s Unique Motivational Quote to the Budding Entrepreneurs-
“I wouldn’t say it’s a quote, but more a philosophy behind it. It was in 1997 where I took over a department manager role in one of the local mobile operators. My new boss headed up the technical functions of the company. He was a retiree who was asked to head over to Singapore to help build the team. I shared with my new boss the challenges and in a grandfatherly-like tune, he said: “Richard, how do you eat an elephant?”
I was stunned for a while on how to comprehend the question and how best to reply. Of course my boss helped with the answer and said “I chew one at a time”. This quote best sums up my management principle and style. We are constantly faced with numerous challenges and they all require attention, but to break down the challenges and resolve them in bite-size is how I get things done no matter how big the challenges are in life.”