The CEO of TDC Holdings Sdn Bhd, Mohd Hafizuddin Hiew Abdullah or commonly known as Hafiz Hiew, had been through quite a lot of challenges. The moment the WargaBiz team met him, he projected the leader aura – wearing an all-black suit top with a black turtleneck resembling Steve Job.
After spending a good 40 minutes chatting with him, we understand why he makes it easy to make people listen to him and trust him. He knows how to make people stay comfortable around him without even trying.
Hafiz Hiew was born in a Chinese family, converted into Christian during secondary school, then he finally decided to embrace Islam during his third-year degree in the university. TDC Holdings Snd Bhd wasn’t his first business. He said he’s always known he would end up in the business world. He’s off to a strong start when he started his freelancing during his university life at Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK).
“There is a lot of events, programmes and activities in the university. For each event or program, organisers will always need t-shirts, banners, bunting, lanyards and such. I saw the opportunity and started doing freelancing offering printing service,” he shares.
His side business was doing good and during his last semester, he had an office in Kelantan and fully focused on doing the business full time. In 2012, the company hit revenue of RM1 million and it didn’t stop growing.
“From RM1 million we grew to RM2 million and we managed to open up three branches in Kelantan. It was something that I didn’t expect to achieve at the age of 25.”
A humble experience for the founder of TDC Holdings
Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. He lost almost everything when historic flooding occurred on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia in 2014. Almost all of his shops were affected.
“The flood was so high until it reached the ceiling. I lost all the printing machines, a house and we even couldn’t save three cars. It’s all gone just like that – my life change in a blink of an eye. Until today, I can’t count the loss because it’s really bad.”
As the saying goes, “tough situations build strong people in the end,” Hafiz just keep going and does not let any single thing let him down. He collected all the things that left after the flood and started to plan what to do next.
Thankfully, his very first office was not affected. So, they moved to the only office that remained and restructured the business. They bear all the losses, restructuring the payment term with their suppliers.
TDC Holdings: Back In Business
“After the incident, while I was searching for what business to do next, I started to think of what kind of business does not require a physical shop? I need to think of something as I learnt from the experience.”
TDC Holdings Sdn Bhd was launched in 2016. It was a big decision for him to form the company. TDC Holdings is one of the few Muslim-owned multi-level marketing (MLM) companies in Malaysia that runs almost 100% online. Its flagship product, C2Joy is still the best-selling product today.
It took him years to get people to know what is C2Joy. In the early days, he opened a kiosk by the roadside promoting the products, distributed flyers from car to car and even went deeper to restaurants in the small town of Bachok, Kelantan, promoting the products to senior citizens.
It all paid off when the business started doing well. The business grew really fast and in just five years, they sold more than 5 million units of C2Joy. The revenue skyrocketed to RM2 million in 2017.
“I was there along the journey when we first acquired RM10,000 to RM100,000 sales to suddenly hit RM1 million and recent profit is RM2 million. Everything clicked,” he said. “I can’t believe we have been this far.”
Life is not always sunny for Hafiz. When everything started to do well, he was tested with a personal issue. He didn’t expect his prayers in front of Kaabah to be heard. Right after coming back from performing Umrah, everything started to turn sour. He realised who are his true friends and who are not.
“I realised my circle of friends only want to be with me for my money – and even my ex-wife. It was my fault to let her take over the spotlight. I pushed her in front and she seemed to enjoy all the fame. Things get sour when the conflict affected the company. It became worst and uncontrollable. I guess, the marriage needed to go to the end – so I called it off.”
“I gave her everything. She took all the money and only left me with the company. Imagine I had zero in the bank account to run the business! So, I gave my staff the choice to either stick with me or follow my wife. I was being honest to them, telling them that I had no money to pay for their salaries. It was a touching moment for me when all of my staff chose to stay with me.”
New day, new person, new chapter
After the storm comes the rainbow. They made an impressive comeback. During that time, they had thousands of dealers to move the company forward. Hafiz and the team strategised back the company and didn’t let the internal issue affect the business. Impressively, everything back to normal – but, this time, they shot almost tenfold! They made RM32 million in 2019.
In 2020, they went aggressively – the sales kept on growing and they kept on expanding. TDC Holdings opened more factories to support the output of the product. Their dealers grow to 300,000 and still growing. The MCO didn’t affect them much as they have prepared for it by going fully digital.
“As an entrepreneur, the first step you need to learn is to admit your mistake. It is not easy for anyone to do it. But it is something you must learn in entrepreneurship. You must be willing to admit your mistake. Put down your ego, say sorry,” adding that their latest product is BerryMix and they have a few formulations lining up to get the halal certificate.