Fong Wai Hong

Wai Hong Fong is Chieftain and Co-founder at StoreHub, an omnichannel operating system for over 15,000 retail and restaurant businesses across Southeast Asia. Raised in Malaysia, Fong spent four years in Singapore as an ASEAN Scholar and lived in Melbourne for a decade. Soon after completing his BA at the University of Melbourne, Fong co-founded OZHut – a multi-niche online retailer – and served as managing director for five years.

Fong was also named Australia’s Best Young Entrepreneur in 2011 by StartupSmart and amongst Melbourne’s top 100 most influential people by Australian daily The Age, that same year. Fong spent a year and a half studying Mandarin in Shanghai and eventually returned to Malaysia in 2013, and founded StoreHub.


Day 2
October 21, 2021
8:45 am

Concurrent Session C: “Reviving Retail: The Way Forward”

21 October
Time:  8:45 am - 9:45 am

The retail sector, including malls, is one of the worst-hit sectors during the pandemic. Due to lockdowns, the retail sector contracted 16% in 2020, its worst performance since the 1998 Asian financial crisis*, with double-digit contractions for apparel, footwear, and fashion accessories. Even hypermarkets, supermarkets, and convenience stores recorded a drop in total sales due to lower footfall. Online shopping, however, has seen a substantial increase in sales, with e-commerce revenues shooting up 30% in 1Q 2021 y-o-y, after registering steady growth in 2020**.

The statistics indicate the need to migrate to, or incorporate, e-commerce, even for traditional shopping malls that rely on footfall. What are the difficulties that lie ahead, and is there a sweet spot that combines the best of traditional retail and online shopping?

*Malaysia Retail Sales Report (March 2021)
**Department of Statistics Malaysia