If you’ve ever eaten those tiny packets of green pea snacks or maybe those cuttlefish puffs, then you’ve probably seen the Miaow Miaow label emblazoned on the packets.
This Batu Pahat-based company churns out some of the snacks that we’ve been munching on since childhood.
As it turns out, it’s not just us Malaysians who’ve been chewing away at these crispy crunchies.
This homegrown brand will soon be flying over to America and Europe, after seeing purrmising growth in other markets such as the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa. In fact, Miaow Miaow Group attributes these exports to 60% of the revenue they make.
Miaow Miaow has been around in Malaysia since 1975—run since its inception until today by Chink Poh Cheng. Together with his brother, Chuang Poh Lim, the pair clawed their way up from a humble, family business into the internationally-recognised conglomerate that it is today.
In fact, Poh Cheng was named one of the Most Influential Brand Leaders in 2016, placing him as a contemporary to faces from Telekom, CIMB and Unilever, among others.
This is definitely a far meow from how they began.
“When I first started I didn’t have any experience in managing a company,” revealed Poh Cheng. “I learned from my older brother, Mr. Chuang Poh Lim, then factory manager of Lee Rubber.”
In fact, Poh Cheng’s brother is now the Group Chairman of the Miaow Miaow Group of Companies, and is very much a mainstay in Miaow Miaow events.
Calling the business a family brand at heart, Poh Cheng said, “Miaow Miaow started as a family business. In fact, most of our family members are still involved in different aspects of the business.”
When the family agreed to pivot the business into a snack-based focus in 1989, they wanted to come up with a name that was easy for Malaysians to pronounce and remember, even children.
“Coincidentally, a pet cat crossed in front of us while meowing. In that moment, we all agreed to use the word miaow as the name of a snack brand,” he revealed.
Of course, the story—or tail if you will—didn’t end there. The pair of founders managed to grow the business into what it is today through what Poh Cheng characterised as perseverance and determination.
“Every stone along the way paves the way for Miaow Miaow’s growth. It was not without hardship, but with the support of our family that we persevered through.”
Even though they lacked experience, Poh Ching said that his older brother imparted valuable management philosophies from his early days working in Lee Rubber.
And it was his lessons in prudent financial management that helped the company establish a foundation of stable growth that carries over four decades later.
Today, Miaow Miaow is aiming for for RM100 million sales by 2022—not a small figure.
And as part of those goals, Miaow Miaow now eyes the American and UK markets to spread the word of puffed snacks.
“We have two factory plants with a third one in the planning stage to focus on the manufacturing of pellets, which is key in making puffed snacks. And because we maintain quality control of our pellet manufacturing, we are able to differentiate ourselves from other similar puffed snacks manufacturers in terms of crispiness and texture of our snacks,” said Poh Cheng.
Inspirational, for a brand that is wholly manufactured in their Batu Pahat factories.
According to Poh Cheng, this is because, “The ‘Made in Malaysia” is a strong selling point to the China market and beyond.”
Definitely not the same attitude that most Malaysians hold for our own brands but this helped the brand build a strong foothold (or pawhold) in the China market.
With a goal in expanding into the Western markets, as well as MATRADE’S assurance that branding plays an important role in making or breaking our ventures overseas, Miaow Miaow has gone ahead and overhauled the packaging’s whole look, as a way to modernise the branding and appeal to a wider audience.
“You can never be fully prepared to make your move overseas. But I believe, as we have been exporting for over 20 years, we are ready to make our next move. Even country like China with its stringent requirement on food safety, we managed to maintain stable export growth over the years,” said Poh Cheng.
Miaow Miaow will also be intensifying their partnerships with overseas clients to further grow the name of Miaow Miaow.
“We would like to be the Malaysian Brand snack food manufacturer that all Malaysians are proud of.”
Feature Image Credit: Miaow Miaow