“Innovation is not limited to products. You may have a commoditized product, but you can have innovation in terms of marketing, packaging and customer experience.” Chan Kee Siak, CEO of Exabytes was quoted as saying when he was interviewed by TheEdge, one of the most notable business magazines in Malaysia a couple of months ago.
Started as a part-time reseller named hostkaki.com, the then 19-year-old Chan was a student of Business Information Systems at the Penang branch of Tunku Abdul Rahman College. Juggling a part-time business with studies was tough, especially the time when the business of hostkaki.com began to take off. “At first I skipped lectures and later on, I skipped tutorials. In the end, I even had to skip exams due to the overwhelming response from my clients.”
The decision he had to make was clear: either quit the business or quit his studies. He decided to quit his studies after one year. “I decided to give myself one year to fully concentrate on the business. I managed to convince my parents that if the business failed, I would go back to college.”
Ever since Exabytes became a web-hosting provider from a hosting reseller, the company has been self-funded from its operations. “We managed to break even in the first year of business,” said Chan, attributing his success to plenty of hard work and perseverance.
According to him, there is nothing special about web-hosting and there are many web-hosting providers locally and around the world. “What’s different is marketing and packaging of the product, as well as the way clients are treated. We don’t have salespeople who do door-to-door sales; we don’t meet our customers at their office. All sales are done over the Internet. And this has helped us reduce cost and enable us to pass the saving back to our customers.”
Indeed, Exabytes prides itself on its customer service and support. While most web-hosting providers have more salespeople than support personnel, 3 out of 5 Exabytes employees are in customer service and support team, which provides round-the-clock technical assistance through Helpdesk.
Talking about the quality of the product, Chan stressed that the reliability of Exabytes’ servers is something that cannot be compromised. While the industry’s server average uptime is 99.5%, average uptime for websites hosted by Exabytes is 99.9%. “We are very careful in selecting our suppliers, such as server hardware suppliers and Internet bandwidth suppliers. We also have a team of dedicated server engineers who understand servers and customers’ needs,” says Chan.
Exabytes, which obtained MSC status in 2005, also runs regular preventive maintenance and maintain backups to ensure a high level of server availability. Almost half its hard drive storage capacity is used for the backups.
In 2009, Exabytes was ranked No 370 in the Deloitte Technology Fast500 Asia Pacific Ranking. “Our growth is due to our strong customer base of 32,000, many of whom are SMEs. Our clients in Malaysia include Bonia, Carlsberg, Celebrity Fitness and Lim Kok Wing University. Read more.
Currently having 9000 international clients, Exabytes plans to acquire more overseas clients this year, while increasing its market share in Malaysia. “Our goal is that every business in Malaysia should own a website,” said the visionary CEO/founder of Exabytes.