Name of Recipient:
Mr. Chan Kean Huat
Incorporated in Singapore during 1989, Satoyu Trading Pte Ltd specialises in the wholesale global trading of exotic fruits such as peaches, strawberries and blueberries. They are also the sole distributor of Dole Tropical Fresh Produce, a popular brand from the Philippines with well-known products such as Dole bananas, “Tropical Gold” pineapples and “Hawaiian Solo” papayas.Unlike many other competitors who merely sell fruits,
Unlike many other competitors who merely sell fruits, Satoyu handles the entire process of the fresh produce trading industry from wholesaling to distribution and retailing. The company buys produce and distributes them to all major supermarkets and their seven retail outlets known as SunMoon.
Company director Mr Chan Kean Huat came into the business with previous experience running an agriculture company in Malaysia. He explains that the name Satoyu was created by using the short forms of the names of the three founding partners, with Mr Chan contributing his English name, “Tony” into the mix.
For Mr. Chan, a typical day at work is rather straightforward where he heads to the office at eight in the morning and leaves at seven in the evening. In between office duties, he goes around visiting the company’s retail outlets during the day to assess them first hand and note areas which can be improved.
Looking back at the company’s past challenges, Mr Chan states that it had initially been difficult to sell to a wholesaler after moving his business from Malaysia to Singapore. Although the company was already well-established in Malaysia, Singapore was still unfamiliar with Mr Chan’s business. However, he made friends with fellow wholesalers over the years and grew from their support. By gathering more suppliers, his list of contacts and connections increased. He also overcame his problems by bringing in more exotic fruits when he opened his first retail shop, like the Dole banana.
Despite his starting the business with almost no knowledge of fruits, Mr Chan’s efforts have paid off. Satoyu Pte Ltd is now among the top ten importers in the country. Mr Chan believes that hard work and listening keenly to customers’ needs are the reasons for his success in the industry. He emphasizes that the fruits sold must match consumers’ tastes, and not the company’s.
Mr Chan envisions that in five years, the seven retail outlets will grow to become 10. There are plans to launch an online division in two months’ time, where consumers can then order fruits directly online, making shopping more convenient for consumers. In the meantime, Satoyu’s retail shops are already very well-known, with some of them located in the CBD area. Mr Chan explained the clientele in the CBD area are more financially well-off and hence have more spending power, which strengthens Satoyu’s business.
Mr Chan has stated that while there have not been any recent events that impacted his business, it is important to maintain the company’s momentum. As the economy slows down, it is hard work to continue thriving in the industry. However, Mr Chan calls himself a fighter. To motivate himself at work, he has practised rugby in the past and is quite good at sports. He explains that sports build character and a competitive spirit, even if it is not directly related to work.
Mr Chan’s perseverance despite his past obstacles is commendable. Under his guide, the company has grown from four employees including himself to ninety-five of them. His steely resolve will allow the company to flourish further even if more challenges come their way in the future. With a director as tenacious and purposeful as Mr Chan, Satoyu Pte Ltd will continue to overcome hardships and exceed expectations.
Blk 24 Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre