FALLEN and bruised (financially), the word “failure” has never existed in the dictionary of Datuk (Dr) Vinod Sekhar who controls global innovation-based conglomerate the PETRA Group.
Another envious quality that he fiercely possesses is “sky-high ambition” where he dares to journey into less travelled roads – this could be something he inherited from his late father B.C. Sekhar a.k.a. Mr Natural Rubber – even if he has to put big fortune on the table as stake.
Not even a life threatening stroke – which was followed by a mild cardiac infarction – in January this year can pose a speed bump to him.
Having rolled out news portal The Vibes in conjunction with Malaysia Day 2020 which aspires to uncover the latest news in Malaysia vis-à-vis promoting quality and independent journalism in Malaysia, the PETRA Group chairman and chief executive has most recently invested RM45 mil into the furniture business through the setting up of PETRA Mobilia which is expected to become the standard bearer for Malaysia’s furniture manufacturing sector.
PETRA Mobilia holds the license to manufacture and supply furniture – such as recliners, home theatre seating, sofa beds and modular sofa systems – under the Tempur brand.
Tempur is positioned as an iconic global brand that is available all over the world, a rank that can be attributed to its patented and highly sought-after memory foam technology.
PETRA Mobilia also owns the Rize brand (medical furniture products such as lift chairs) that specialises in medically designed therapeutic lift chairs that place equal emphasis on style and comfort, intended to improve the quality of life of those with mobility issues.
As such, this is big news for the Malaysian furniture industry which consists mainly of original equipment manufacturers (OEM) who compete on the lowest cost basis, increasingly losing out to other cost competitors such as those in Vietnam, Cambodia and Bangladesh.
Ranked amongst the top 10 largest exporters of furniture in the world, Malaysia exports around 80% of its production. However, the value of furniture export from Malaysia has been declining significantly due to a lack of technological innovation.
“What distinguishes us from other local furniture manufacturers are our intellectual patents (IPs) and international brands,” justified PETRA Mobilia chief executive Abbi Kanthasamy on the PETRA Group’s latest venture.
“By using innovation and design, we have been able to increase our margins and also create high value jobs for the local workforce. Hopefully, this will set a trend for other local manufacturers to innovate and capture a larger share of the global furniture business.”
PETRA Mobilia has already begun production on Tempur products for the export market and is already receiving orders for the Rize brand which will commence production very soon.
Its annual turnover is projected to be US$1 bil within the next three years. – May 10, 2021
Photo credit: The Vibes