G.J. YONG, OAXIS
G.J. YONG FOUNDER AND CEO OAXIS
Can you give us a brief history of the company, from its founding till now?
Our company was established by two young NUS (National University of Singapore) graduates in 2004. In our third year, we took out SGD500 and started the company, initially importing products from Taiwan and selling them online, gradually through distribution – including the students in NUS!
A year later, we accumulated enough funds to form an R&D team. In 2006, we started developing our own products, and the year after, we provide OEM/ODM services to customers in the U.S. and Europe. In 2008, we developed our e-book reader, which was among the first in the market. Today, we are one of the top five e-book reader providers in the market.
OAXIS ventured forward with a team of 10. The ‘X’ in OAXIS represents unlimited possibilities, while the logo is inspired by the ‘∞’ symbol, which represents our boundless spirit in creating innovative products through best-in-class design and out-of-the-box concept. Under the OAXIS branding, we introduced the InkCase and started developing health and fitness products in 2013.
The Star.21 was made possible by crowdfunding. Is there a particular reason why OAXIS opted for Pozible?
Crowdfunding is a wonderful platform to engage with the public. Not only can we understand early adopters, it’s also important that we receive feedback from the backers to make the product better. We started with a strong concept, and they offer valuable opinions about the features and user experience. The platform enables us to connect with a community in ways not often available in traditional means.
We understand that the Star.21 incorporates a 21-day habit formation concept. Apart from that, how is the Star.21 different from the competition?
Taken a leaf out of Dr. Maxwell Maltz’s work, the average person requires 21 days for the brain to form new neuron pathways and 66 days to stabilize them. The whole program is actually 91 days. Our concept is that this is your very own fitness journey. There are products that emphasize competition, where you find yourself competing with friends for the top leaderboard position. We don’t encourage people to fight for one day, but instead to fight for persistence.
Instead of bounded by numbers, we opted for percentage instead. By visualizing them on the LED array, users need only know the remaining percentage to reach their daily goals. As such, users don’t have to remember the number of steps, and the device would incrementally increase the daily goals to foster an active lifestyle. We also did away with special connectors and wireless chargers, allowing users to recharge the Star.21 using a microUSB cable.
What’s your strategy to remain relevant in the consumer electronics industry, which seems to have a new product every six months or so?
You cannot wait. When an idea comes up, you must act on it immediately. Otherwise, you will lose the passion of the idea. That’s why brainstorming over IM plays an important role at OAXIS. Our strategy is pretty simple: if there’s a certain sector that we are targeting, we identify the consumers’ needs and set out to offer a solution.
Our INNOX team does all kinds of market research, and they work closely with the engineers to evaluate the technological feasibility of new product ideas. For existing products, we may refresh them or introduce value-added features. Our quarterly brainstorming sessions enable us to move prototypes into production. Every product will take around one year, from research to market. Besides consumer electronics, we also plan to introduce additional services into our devices.