Katong Durian



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Moving into the Digital Age 

Change is something every industry and enterprise is used to. What makes the connected world different is the pace of change that is accelerating at the same time. Although many changes happen in small steps, every little change will happen quickly - with huge and lasting effects. This change that we are facing in today for traditional businesses - is digitalisation.

Digitalisation is no longer a strategy that can be ignored by either SMEs or big corporations. In our rapidly advancing digital world, the companies that survive are those that can flexibly adapt to online strategies. Despite how easily accessible digitalisation is, implementation can be difficult.

But not with Aleta Planet.

Find out how we are helping a 32-year old establishment, 227 Katong Durian with digitalising their business and equipping them with the right tools to open up their business to more Chinese tourists.

Of course it wasn't easy,

we have come a long way since 1988.

Wong yew loon

Owner | 227 Katong Durian

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The King of Fruit

227 Katong Durian began in 1988 with Mr Wong Yew Loon, where he first sold durians in a small storefront at Tembeling Road. At his then humble establishment, Mr Wong began to build his clientele. With quality durians and attentive service, people started coming back - and his following began to grow over the years.

Today, 227 Katong Durian is no longer the small establishment that’s easily missed. An ordinary-looking fruit stall taking up 2 units sitting on the stretch of East Coast Road, in the day, you may not think any of it.

It is only at night where the unassuming fruit stall comes alive. Many stand in long lines patiently awaiting their turn to choose the perfect durian to either have at the store or take home to their families. Cars slow down at the single-lane road looking to get a perfect parking spot in front of the store so that they can easily load their durian loots into their car. The place is bustling with activity, Mr Wong, clad with a durian glove on his left hand and a hacking knife in the other, hustling away in the middle of it all.

We were privileged enough to be able to sit down with Mr Wong Yew Loon, the owner of this 32-year old establishment, giving us some insights on the importance of adapting to changes and also - tips and tricks on how to choose a good durian.

The Know-hows of Choosing the Right Durian

It is not the colour or shape that matters. But the texture when you eat it, and that you taste the fullness of its fragrance and decadence.

The most common misconception that comes with choosing a right durian would be that the greener the durian is, the better it is. But as Mr Wong expresses, there are many factors to determine whether or not a durian is good or as he would say, ‘up to standard’.

“To be able to choose a good durian, it would require many years of experience. People often think that ‘oh this durian is greener, it must be better’, but that is not true!” As he picks up two durians - one in a darker green, the other in a paler green, he adds,“ Like these two over here. You see one is darker green, the other is paler, but they are both grown from old trees. Durians of a higher quality comes from old trees, so that’s why it is impossible to tell the quality of a durian simply by looking at its colour.”

Then that leaves us wondering, how then, do we know if it’s a good durian?

“To tell if it's a good durian, you need to pick it up and have a feel of the weight of the durian. Make sure the durian doesn’t feel overly heavy. If the durian is too heavy, this would mean that there is too much water content in it - and the flesh might end up being watery instead of fleshy.”

He adds, “These are the basics of choosing a good durian, but at the end of the day, it’s really about what you prefer. A good durian may be subjective - some may think that a bitter durian is a good durian. Others may think that the sweeter durian is the best. The most important thing is that when you choose a durian, it is not the colour or shape that matters. But the texture when you eat it, and that you taste the fullness of its fragrance and decadence. 

Loved by Many. Not just Southeast Asians.

Not only are there more Chinese customers frequenting the store, they even know how to determine whether or not a durian is good.

Durians are one of the many foods that require an acquired taste. We often hear Westerners find the fruit absolutely repulsive, likening the ever-permeating pungent scent to rotting foods. For most Southeast Asians, this is a beloved delicacy, where many find the scent of a durian alluring and the custardy flesh with a creamy distinct sweetness.

But as Mr Wong has observed, as his store has been seeing more visitors from China, their initial curiosity for this strangely pungent and prickly fruit where they simply try out of sheer novelty, has now transformed to being experts, able to discern the quality of a durian on their own.

“I have seen an increasing volume of Chinese customers frequenting my store, ranging from small groups, to tour buses full of Chinese tourists and even Chinese residents who live right here in Singapore. They are no longer like how they used to be anymore. In the past we still have to assist most of the choosing and advising on how to choose a good durian. But now, they can tell me which kind they are looking for! - they are even well aware of the species of durian. They even tell me, ‘oh I am looking for Musang King durian!’”

Very impressive indeed.

Leading the charge with Aleta Planet

Adapting to the way our customers pay is important. When we have more Chinese customers coming through our doors, we want to progress - and give them a more familiar and convenient way to pay.

Despite being in the middle of the pandemic and having to deal with the business slowing down, Mr Wong knows that the tourists will be back soon - and when they are back, he will be prepared.

“In Singapore, more and more businesses are begin to digitalise. While there are many benefits to digitalising during the pandemic in the rising demand for contactless payment options, I firmly believe that adapting to the way our customers pay is important. When the borders open and we have more Chinese customers coming through our doors, we want to progress - and give them a more familiar and convenient way to pay. “

Mr Wong adds, “When the Chinese tourists come to our store and see that they are able to pay via QR codes, it’s convenient for them as it is for us. We do not want to risk losing valuable customers because we are unable to provide them with the payment mode they prefer. Singapore should look to expand the implementation across businesses and adapt with the changing times."

“After partnering with Aleta Planet, together with UnionPay, digitisation has been extremely easy and convenient for us. Our customers can now easily scan and pay, and the partnership has most importantly allowed us to reach out to a wider Chinese clientele.”

Digitalisation should not seek to disrupt your system, only to complement it.

Contact Aleta Planet today, and take the first step into digitalising your business.

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