Dato’ Lion Peh is CEO of Techninier Sdn Bhd, a company at the forefront of technology and content for Internet and mobile platforms in Malaysia. Since its inception in 2009, Techninier has gone on to qualify for a number of national and global honours, and Lion himself was awarded the Sarawak State Entrepreneurship of the Year Award in 2015. Lion is also on the Board of Directors of the telecommunications infrastructure company Bullish Aim Technologies. In our tenth Spotlight feature, he shares with us the drive, spirit and wisdom that goes into developing a business.
Personal reasons saw Lion move in and out of Malaysia in the later half of his high school years as well as during university. While he only spent a year in Lodge in Form 4, he found the smaller class setting more conducive for studying due to a better teacher-to-student ratio, and he was able to form closer and more meaningful ties with his schoolmates. The school motto to “Learn, Persevere, Succeed” also spoke to his entrepreneurial spirit: “the importance of learning from the quality of education I experienced was clear to me, after which perseverance is absolutely required for success and applies not only to your career but to life in general. It is a concise but meaningful motto.”
Business has always been in Lion’s blood. Dinners in his family more often than not saw his father imparting his knowledge of the inner workings of the business world to Lion, just as Lion’s grandfather had done before him. These “extra-curricular lessons” would prove a vital foundation upon which Lion would build his own business. At the same time, he was also inspired by the entrepreneurship and success of giant technology companies like Apple and Google: “As Steve Jobs once said, ‘I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.’”
After obtaining his Bachelor of Commerce with majors in Economics and Finance from Murdoch University in Western Australia, Lion moved to Kuala Lumpur, where he has been based for thirteen years now. It was a transition driven by hope and excitement: “I thought of [Kuala Lumpur] as the final frontier in Malaysia to succeed in doing business.”
Lion is currently involved in a number of businesses including property development, property management, project management and contracting, information and communication technologies, as well as telecommunications infrastructure development and management, in addition to some other noteworthy ventures:
I believe a diverse portfolio of old and new industries supplement one another to enhance value and provide different perspectives on each type of business. Traditional brick-and-mortar businesses such as property have been deeply ingrained in me by my family, but I am drawn to the technology business as well.
Lion shares that communication and interpretation skills are, without a doubt, the most important elements for success in business. Not communicating and interpreting effectively is a drain on the most valuable resource of all — time. Success, Lion says, is largely dependent on time and timing.
Some might think that being a businessman and entrepreneur is just a matter of ordering people around to do the work. However, it is much harder to think and make decisions in running a business when you know the risks and rewards it can carry, and in considering how it will affect a company and in turn the livelihoods of its employees. Unfortunately, many people see only the upside of being in business without realising the risks involved.
Lion’s own endeavours have certainly paid off. His company Techninier in particular was nominated for several accolades: in 2011, it was a finalist in the prestigious Meffy Awards for ‘Best Social Service’ and a finalist in the World Communication Awards for ‘Best Content Service’. In 2012, it won the GoMobile Innovation Award in Malaysia.
Despite this global recognition in competitions where Techninier was up against giants like Apple, Lion says that his most gratifying achievement was winning the Sarawak State Entrepreneurship of the Year Award in 2015 — largely because this is the accomplishment which his parents are the most proud of! This might have been because the award encompassed their roots as Sarawakians. Certainly, Lion has always cherished his Sarawakian identity, and firmly believes in giving back to the community:
Creating a successful business and making the world a better place is not mutually exclusive. Being a Sarawakian, if what I have given has made some Sarawakians’ lives better, that gives a profound sense of purpose to it all and inspires others to do the same. Idealistic and cliché as it may sound, together we can build a better Sarawak.
Written by Jane Leong