The Company was formed in 2014 based on an idea envisaged by Aesos Lai who was in the T-Shirt design business. The idea of a “Durian Kafe” (a durian down-stream retail outlet), was mooted from a concept derived from one of his T-shirt designs which was popular as a souvenir amongst tourists. Aesos was encouraged by a close friend who told him that the “Durian Kafe” concept will appeal to people who like something unique, durian-related food items, and another friend told him that the next “BIG” thing is Durian which is getting popular amongst Chinese tourists from mainland China.
With this conviction, Aesos (who is strong in Branding and Marketing) invited Eddie Wong (who is a specialist in Retail and Operations and has more than ten years experience in managing retail outlets) to set-up Durian Kafe along with two other friends (Sashtri the designer, and Kaycee the Sales and PR person). In March 2014, Durian Kafe was set up in Central Market with products sourced from suppliers.
Subsequently in May 2014 Aesos suggested to Eddie that instead of buying from suppliers, they should create their own product brand to be sold in Durian Kafe – and this led to the set up of a new company called “Sunshine Kingdom” (Eddie coined the name as he sees Durian as the “upcoming” Sunshine Business, and a Kingdom can be built based on selling Durian Products). A year down the road, they realised that Chinese Tourists (who were their main buyers) could not read nor remember the “Sunshine Kingdom” brand name in English. In order to build a lasting impression on Chinese tourists, a catchy product brand name is necessary – and the “Xiao Yang” brand was created (which means ‘tourist delicacies business will bring great fortune everyday’) – the name was created by Eddie on his holiday trip to Taiwan.
The “Xiao Yang” brand started with Wafers, Cookies and Candy as there were not many competitors in this category, and the main sales areas were at the Airports, particularly KLIA and KLIA2.
As a start-up with limited funds, in the first two years’ of operations, Sunshine Kingdom experienced moderate growth in terms of sales and product range. Subsequently, with strong commitment to expand product range, business began to increase tremendously in 2017-2018, with sales growth of 70% over these two years. Today, Sunshine Kingdom is the Brand Leader in Durian down-stream products.