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Third generation food distributor expands to help Malaysians cope with rising grocery cost

Lee’s Fandbee rebrands as Fandbee, investing RM100 mil to expand across southeast Asia including Malaysia

Fanbee Managing Director Gareth Tan
Third-generation food distributor Fandbee today announced its aggressive expansion plans to help Malaysians businesses and customers cope with the escalating food costs.

The brand, previously known as Lee’s Fandbee, will be investing RM100 million to expand across Malaysia and southeast Asia by the end of 2022. Locally, the locations include Bukit Mertajam, Alor Setar, and Kuala Terengganu among others.

According to Fandbee’s managing director Gareth Tan, the brand, previously synonymous with supplying affordably priced chef-quality ingredients to food operators now has a new mission – to strive toward food equality by offering high-quality products at the most affordable prices.

“We are currently among the fastest growing and most innovative distributors in South East Asia with our operations centers in Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam. We are also looking to expand to two other countries very soon.

“In order to bring about food equality – offering high-quality products at the most affordable prices – as a business organisation, we must first have a better cost advantage. This means that our order quantity will have to be massive enough to be able to negotiate for the most competitive cost price with exporters globally,” Gareth said.

According to Gareth, Fandbee would be able to achieve this by rapidly expanding its operations within Malaysia and across southeast Asia and incorporating advanced technology to grow omnichannel – business-to-consumers, business-to-business, online and offline-to-online.

“With the escalating cost of groceries due to ongoing supply shortage from extreme weather, export controls and war, what better way to begin our mission if not from home?” he said.

According to Gareth, the business has grown by leaps and bounds since its humble establishment as Lee’s Frozen in Kampung Attap by his maternal grandmother Mrs. Lee Wing Kang in 1962. Since the commissioning of its growth plan in 2002, the business has now achieved a 5,000 percent growth in terms of sales.

“The loyal support of Malaysians has put us in business for three generations. As such, we will always be putting the interest of Malaysians first when it comes to expanding our operations,” he said.

Gareth added that while Malaysians were experiencing lockdown back in 2020 and were confined to a 10km radius of travel, Fandbee expanded its operations to 14 additional neighbourhoods across Klang Valley in order to be close to its customers and provide job opportunities for 300 people.

When the lockdowns were extended, the business went online with the promise to deliver groceries right to its customers’ doorsteps within 24 hours.

To date, Fandbee is present in 17 neighbourhoods across Klang Valley, one neighbourhood in Bukit Mertajam Penang and two others in Terengganu and Kedah.

“Not only do we offer competitive prices for frozen meat and seafood such as beef, chicken and fish, but we have now also expanded our range to cover fast-moving grocery items such as cooking oils, eggs, seasonings and baking ingredients among others,” he said adding that with the expansion, Malaysians have the option to not only shop online but also buy online and collect the items in-store or shop offline by visiting any of its store where it's most convenient.

On Fandbee’s business model, Gareth said that the business-to-business model is still a huge part of its operations. However, he sees at least double-digit in growth in the business-to-customer segment by 2025 with its aggressive store and online expansion plans.

He added that Fanbee intends to set up a national distribution centre in order to establish outlets in every state in Malaysia. Similar business model is also adopted for its overseas operations, making Fandbee the only Malaysian-owned grocery chain brand outside Malaysia.
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