Managing director and founder of Pearlie White, Andy Ong, said the process of achieving the relevant halal certifications was “the most difficult certification process” it had embarked on.
Speaking exclusively to CosmeticsDesign-Asia, Ong explained that the process was necessary for the company’s future growth.
“Most of the countries in Asia and the Middle East that we currently serve either value products with halal certification or in some countries, it’s becoming a regulatory requirement as well. Also, our core focus in the next coming years will be towards the Central Asian populations.”
Central Asia comprises countries including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The region is home to a significant Muslim population.
“Many of the new markets we're trying to get into have majority Muslim populations. It’s one of the key things for us to push into the Central Asian countries. Some of them are even familiar with Singapore-made brands and the quality we can bring to consumers there,” said Ong.
In addition to Central Asia, the company is also working to expand its presence in the Middle East. It has already successfully broken into markets like Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. Next, the company is aiming to crack Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
While Ong noted that strategies tend to vary from market to market, the brand’s biggest strength lies in the capability of its product and manufacturing prowess.
“As you know, we are made in Singapore and things made in Singapore cannot be cheap. We try and communicate with and find consumers that are willing to pay a bit more for better features and better quality,” he said.
“We always benchmark versus any existing product in the marketplace and try to do one better. We're always adding more features, more benefits consumers want, and that they are willing to pay a bit more for.”
Going with the population
Like fellow Asia country Japan, Singapore’s population is ageing at a rapid pace. According to national statistics, the proportion of citizens aged 65 and above increased to 18.4% in 2022.
By 2030, around one in four citizens, or 23.8 per cent, will be aged 65 and above. Ong told us that this development will strongly influence the firm’s product development moving forward.
“In the longer term, it is very clear where our product development is headed. All our product development is very much focused on catering to an ageing population. Seniors definitely have different health conditions and needs and it's quite a largely untapped market.”
There is no doubt in his mind that individual oral health is likely to worsen over the next few years, and research and development should be geared towards senior oral health.
“[Teeth and gum] sensitivity will be a lot worse because we’re eating a lot of acidic products like carbonated drinks. So the products that will be more suited for seniors are going to be very different from what’s catered to us right now.”