Tue, Dec 18, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Eastern Media doubles down on diversification plan

TRANSITIONING:The Eastern Media International Corp chairman told investors that it has centered its long-term growth strategy on expanding its online and offline retail footprints

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

Eastern Media International Corp (東森國際) yesterday outlined plans to double down on its new retail projects and media content businesses as the company continues to diversify.

The company, which operates e-commerce platform ETMall (東森購物), has centered its long-term growth strategy on expanding its online and offline retail footprints, company chairman Liao Shang-wen (廖尚文) told an investors’ conference in Taipei yesterday.

The firm in October bought a 30 percent stake in Hong Kong-listed Natural Beauty Bio-Technology Ltd (自然美) to tap into the market for beauty centers and spas, as well as skincare products and services, with 240 in Taiwan and about 700 franchise stores in China.

The acquisition aims to create a synergy between the company’s digital and brick-and-mortar retail channels and create cross-selling opportunities, Liao said.

With its extensive resources and product catalog, the company hopes to revitalize Natural Beauty’s slowing franchise growth, Liao said.

To set an example for prospective franchisees, Eastern Media plans to expand the number of directly operated Natural Beauty centers from two to 10, he added.

In October, the company also took over an insolvent pet supply store chain with 17 locations in Taiwan, of which 12 have been reopened, with more to be reopened to capitalize on the market segment.

The company in January acquired Strawberrynet.com, an online store that carries discount cosmetics and skincare products in 230 countries. The online store’s contribution increased ETMall’s revenue 33.45 percent year-on-year to NT$13.48 billion (US$436.67 million), from NT$10.1 billion.

ETMall is to begin carrying the company’s in-house health supplement and skincare products to improve its gross margin, Liao said.

ETToday (東森新聞雲), the firm’s online news and media platform, contributed 3.27 percent in revenue by the end of the first three quarters, further diversifying the firm’s portfolio, Liao said.

ETToday is to produce a singing competition show and put on a theater production in an attempt to develop new revenue streams, Liao said, adding that substantial production costs are partly offset by government subsidies.

However, ETToday’s net losses in the first three quarters surged 58.82 percent annually to NT$108 million, while revenue rose 25 percent to NT$443 million.

“We are looking at long-term prospects and expect ETToday to remain in the red through the end of next year as the platform continues to develop,” Liao said.

The company is to finish winding down its shipping business in 2020, Liao said.

For the first three quarters, the company reported net income of NT$1.66 billion, up from a net loss of NT$220 million a year earlier, helped by a US$60 million windfall from the sale of a Shanghai-based subsidiary in the second quarter.

Revenue rose 33.46 percent annually to NT$13.48 billion, while earnings per share was NT$2.61.

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