“My buddy showed me the Forbes magazine on the opportunities during the dot-com boom. I jumped in without hesitation though I had no clue what it was”, said Tan Tuan Khai or TK as he is fondly known. Together with a few friends, he founded and started Qinetics Solutions Sdn Bhd in year 2000. Little did he know that the venture would last over 16 years and still growing.
Shortly after the company was founded, the world experienced one of the biggest economy crashes which saw the internet “dot-com” bubble burst and caused a global economic downturn. After that, most of the people shied away when they heard the word ‘dot-com’ or ‘internet.’ Many of his peers in the industry had either given up or quit the industry for good. TK however, persevered and steered the company out from the down turn.
Back in those days, TK remembered vividly how he carried his laptop bag, whizzing through the crowded streets of Hong Kong and Taiwan and knocking on the doors of prospective customers. Many rejected the idea of a Malaysian technology company going abroad to solicit for business. Nonetheless, some of them decided to give him a try after many rounds of persuasion. Many of them have since become his loyal business partners and close allies. The rest, he said, is history.
Today, Qinetics consists of a group of companies that focuses in providing Internet software and services to small medium enterprises through reseller channels and IT infrastructure and services for enterprise customers. From just three founding members, the company has grown to a 100 people organization today. Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Qinetics business spans across 50 countries, with a strong focus in South East Asia and the Greater China region. Qinetics has been consistently profitable since the turnaround plan spearheaded by TK in year 2002. It recently crossed an important milestone of surpassing RM50 million revenue in financial year 2016.
TK’s management style, as described by his team, is an empowering one. He is passionate in building people and bringing out the best in them. He sets the overall direction in a consultative way and empowers his team to make the right and relevant decisions in achieving those objectives. “We have our business plan discussion among key contributors in the business units. Everyone is encouraged to speak up. The business plan will be further translated into key initiatives and key performance index for the team and the individual. At such, everyone in Qinetics has a clear line of sight of what needs to be achieved and they are responsible to work towards it as a team,” said TK. “Seize the day – that’s how the team works. Qineticians work hard, have fun and make history!”
Lean and mean, that’s how it is being practiced within Qinetics. TK practices an open door policy and is willing to listen and help out any team member who approaches him. The team looks up to him as a good role model with disciplined and admirable work ethics. Nevertheless, he is still very much a young-at-heart person whereby he enjoys daily interactions with the company’s young workforce who constantly surprises him with their creativity and YOLO (you only live once) philosophy that inspires him to be curious and challenge the status quo to scale greater heights. “TK is a positive thinker and always hungry for new opportunities. He is patient and very analytical and able to find solutions under stressful situations. He is professional and always strive for perfection,” said a close colleague.
On a personal front, TK hails from Melaka where he did his formative years of schooling. Hugely talented in art and design, he originally studied Architecture as a scholar of the Public Service Commission (JPA) in University College London before switching to a degree in Electrical & Electronics Engineering. The switch in course costs him the scholarship in the subsequent years where he had to work and study at the same time. It was during those challenging times that he learned to break away from the comfort of status quo and persevere for success. In the end, he achieved a First Class Honors and even had a publication in IEEE journal in Genetic Algorithm.
A keen sportsman and avid marathon runner, TK regularly participates in runs and other sports with his colleagues and promote a balanced and healthy lifestyle. He is looking into competing in the international marathon circuits one day. Leading by example, he is always encouraging the younger ones to participate in the company’s sports and social activities to strengthen bonding.
TK believes in long term vision in business. That explains why 60 percent of the company’s revenue was derived from long term recurring businesses which provide a solid platform for future expansion.
Over the past decade, TK has shown an aptitude for adapting to new environments and changing times. He has no hesitation to remodel his business to meet the competition and regularly changes the business approach to meet market demand. He believes that to stay competitive in business, one needs to be agile and always willing to take on new challenges. As he aptly puts it, “always improving, always keep learning” – a saying that Qineticians will hold true for many decades to come.
“Our future challenges are to engage with the new generation of talents and build on a new company culture to foster idea creation. Qinetics will need to adopt practices that could inspire our people to strive for greater results and stay ahead of the competition,” TK answered when asked about future challenges.
The heart and soul of Qinetics is creativity and innovation – their belief in making things happen.