RedOne: Making a mark in business and sports in Malaysia

Anas Ahmad
30 Apr 2023 10:26am

Earlier last week, we braved our way through the crazy traffic to Puchong for an opportunity to meet with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of redONE Mobile Farid Yunus where we talked about business and his keen interest in our local sports.

After being in the market since 2012, RedOne is synonymous with a budget and reliable telco option, which has enabled the company to grow to 1.2 million subscribers.

On his second term with the company, Farid has learned a lot and seen how the industry has changed over the years.

"At the beginning, we were quite innovative by being the cheapest postpaid at RM8 per month and the first to introduce paperless registration," says Farid.

"Even though we are still the cheapest postpaid out there, now other telcos have started to offer more competitive prices and plans," he said.

So the challenge moving forward is how to make offers stand out among others, he said, adding that this is why they were looking for non-telco services to be sold together with the plans and add value to customers.

These non-telco services include insurance and takaful, credit card applications, and microfinancing.

RedOne also ventured into sports sponsorships in an effort to provide extensive offers to its customers.

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It has sponsored football teams, individual players, and a wide range of sporting events, including badminton, squash, rugby, and more.

"This had all started many years ago when we sponsored Kelantan F.C. and we saw our sales in Kelantan grow 80 per cent each year during our three years of sponsorship.

"Now if you go to Kota Bharu until today, left-right you will see RedOne shop," he said.

Farid also said that with football team sponsorship, there is always a commercial angle to it and there is a fixed return on investment that the company looks for.

With one of its latest sponsorships, the Malaysia Super League team PDRM FC, RedOne would be tapping into more than 130,000 potential customers from the police force and their family members.

However, not all of its sponsorships are driven by commercial gains.

RedOne has sponsored individual athletes like our national squash player Sivasangari Subramaniam and former national badminton player Soniia Cheah on their journey to the Olympic Games and BWF World Championship 2022.

It has also sponsored a variety of sporting events, from the grassroots level all the way to top-flight national events such as the Malaysian Purple League.

"People asked me why you spend money like this—because someone has to."

"The government keeps cutting out the funding for sports, and then we expect our athletes to go and get gold medals; it is not going to happen because it takes money."

"Those who are not covered by BAM get dropped, and then how can you find the funding needed to go to international events?

"So they come to us, and we feel obliged to help. Because if we don’t, no one else will," he explained.

Cooperate leaders like Farid have voiced this issue with Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh in hopes there will be more incentives given to companies that do sport sponsorship.

"If the government won’t pay for it, let the cooperatives pay for it, but give us some incentives to do so," Faris said.

In agreement with this, Hannah said the ministry has continued its efforts to request tax incentives from the Finance Ministry for private entities that sponsor sporting events, although it has been unsuccessful each year.

"The sports industry will "die" if we don’t do something critical," said Hannah after a sports industry town hall session in January this year.

"Whether it will come to fruition remains to be seen," she added.

For the full interview with RedOne CEO Farid Yunus, watch our latest Bang For Your Buck video here.