While most of us remember the textbooks and assessment books used during our school days, some may not know who the publisher is. But turn to the back of the book, and you will notice the familiar logo of publisher Shing Lee.
The homegrown company, a household name in Singapore’s education industry since the 1970s, has published an array of education books. Today, Shing Lee has ventured beyond print textbooks to online interactive learning platforms.
While it is developed by a third-party IT vendor, the content and the step-by-step marking engine are owned by Shing Lee.
It has also extended its reach overseas, with a presence in more than 40 countries worldwide.
In recent years, it has gone digital and is taking active steps to grow the business that began in 1935 as a small bookstore in Chin Swee Road selling Chinese comics and stationery.
This digital and global shift was spurred by its participation in various overseas trade shows to gain more contacts with potential partners.
“Our efforts in this have certainly paid off,” said Shing Lee's CEO Peh Shing Woei, whose grandfather started the 83-year-old company.
Breaking new ground
In 2015, the company participated in its first education technology show – Bett Show in London (the biggest education technology show in the world) – with funding support from International Enterprise Singapore (now Enterprise Singapore).
“We became more aware of existing products in the market and gradually developed strategies for extending our business into the digital arena, which includes the e-learning platform,” shared Shing Woei.
The company developed a student-centered online platform for Mathematics, which includes a Learning Management System with a step-by-step solution-marking engine.
“The product serves to revolutionise learning and teaching in Singapore and beyond. We want to increase our worldwide presence and competitiveness in the education industry,” he noted.
Shing Lee is now a regular participant at trade shows, which has helped it open doors to more business opportunities and collaborations.
It has been to the Bett Show from 2015 to 2018, including business matching meetings and education technology forums arranged by Enterprise Singapore.
“We managed to get plenty of good business leads and learn about many innovative educational technology products in the market,” he said.
“These have helped us fine-tune our digitalisation roadmap to maintain our competitive edge.”
Through the International Marketing Activities Programme, which assists local companies to participate in trade missions and overseas exhibitions, Shing Lee found it easier to manage its operational costs for attending such events.
“The support from Enterprise Singapore has helped us link up with potential partners and clients around the world through our presence in various trade fairs like the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Annual National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Meeting and Exposition,” said Shing Woei.
Leverage support to transform and go global
Over the years, Shing Lee has developed new capabilities, accessed market opportunities and grown its brand globally.
Asked for his advice to companies in an old trade, Shing Woei said: “Visit the relevant industry trade shows locally and overseas with your key management team.
“Find out how the industry has evolved. This will help the company formulate strategies for transformation to stay relevant and to prevent technology from disrupting your business.”
Hear from Shing Lee Publisher’s CEO, Mr Peh Shing Woei on how they managed to transform the brand using digital technology, click here.