Trio aims to grow healthcare digitisation in Asean
Shalini Kumar 
Ooi says the group will be heading for listing on the Singapore Exchange before year-end

HEALTHCARE is a growing sector in Malaysia and the Asean region. Technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) are some of the key drivers of the healthcare sector.

Sensing a good opportunity, Trio International Bhd, a Malaysian group with diversified business interests, is aggressively taking on the digitisation of hospitals and clinics in the Asia-Pacific region.

The company, which is currently undertaking the mammoth task of rectifying records in clinics and hospitals across Indonesia, is setting its sights beyond Indonesia and wants to expand to other Asean countries.

Trio’s chief business officer Ooi Ewe Jin tells FocusM that the hospital and clinic digitisation project will be carried out by its healthcare IT arm, Trio ADS Sdn Bhd who has been granted a 15-year contract through the Indonesian government-led initiative.

“Right now we have penetrated the Indonesian market whereby we have been granted a 10+5 years contract to rectify the records kept at all the hospitals and clinics. This entails a [software] rollout to about 75,000 clinics as well as about 3,700 hospitals through the country,” says Ooi.


Expanding in the region

According to Trio, they have received a grant from Indonesia’s Ministry of Health which resulted in them introducing the hospital management system last year. “There are many rural areas where hospital records have not been digitalised yet. Unfortunately, in areas that have been affected by natural disasters, all the patients’ records have been lost,” explains Ooi.

Independent reports point that technology and digitisation are the key drivers for Indonesia’s healthcare sector. Indonesia also has its own national health insurance scheme known as Jaminan Kesehatan Nasional (JKN), which is providing the stimulus for growth in the healthcare sector. 

Indonesia’s JKN is bringing increased access to healthcare services across Indonesia.

Encouraged with the progress in Indonesia, Trio wants to grow in the Asean region.

In mid-March, Trio signed a memorandum of understanding with Cambodia’s IG International Group, which is a major player in the IT, banking and agricultural sectors in the country. With the link-up with IG International, Trio wants to expand its services to Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. 

IG International Group (Cambodia) chairman and vice-president Puthkiry Kim (left) and Trio International vice-president Andy Toh at the signing of the MoU to work together for the group’s healthcare IT and cryptomining businesses

Biometric smart card and e-wallet application

Trio is also banking on the confluence of financial technologies with its healthcare digitisation project. As a result, Trio is planning to introduce an e-wallet card with biometric recognition in Indonesia.

According to Ooi, it will not be another “me-too” e-wallet mobile application. Instead, Trio’s e-wallet solution is an actual physical card, which he likens to a bank’s debit card. The card will be solar-powered and is equipped with fingerprint and facial recognition technology. Trio is partnering with US-based Ehernom Inc to introduce the biometric-based smart cards.

Ooi says the card is unlike anything that is currently on the market and is still considered a prototype in Silicon Valley in the United States.

Despite this, Ooi is confident that the rollout of the card in Indonesia first will be a success. The group is targeting an initial revenue of RM500 mil from this biometric e-wallet card.

“We want to introduce this in Indonesia and Cambodia first. Malaysia will actually be the last stop in the launch of this product. I want to use this card to capture the electronic healthcare records [EHR] in Indonesia, meaning that all healthcare records will be incorporated into this card.

“This ties in with the software that we will be introducing to the hospitals and clinics there, so there will be more functionality for that [software] product. This is quite revolutionary since this will allow people to have all their records with them all in one place and take it wherever they go,” he says.

That said, given the financial applications the card will have, Ooi says eventually the group will explore its options in working with financial institutions before launching it domestically. 


Crypto-mining and blockchain

A fortnight back, Trio also launched its crypto-mining business in partnership with a team from Russia. Crypto-mining is a process where every single cryptocurrency transaction is verified through the mining process. With the enhanced security features of cryptography and blockchain, each miner can confirm the transaction securely and anonymously on a peer-to-peer basis.

Blockchain is a technology that supports almost every cryptocurrency. Blockchain provides a public ledger (decentralised register) of every transaction that has been carried out in a particular cryptocurrency.

Ooi is very bullish with the Russian technology, as it could spell the next wave of the blockchain evolution. “The security, performance and stability of the Russian crypto-mining technology puts Trio ADS far ahead [of its competitors]. This allows us to give much better returns from our [crypto] mining operations. This is a genuine technology transfer process, not just a random services agreement.

“We believe this is the next tech wave. We also have a series of education programmes called the “The Blockchain Train” which helps the layman understand this technology for their own benefit,” he says.

Ooi says that the Trio-Russian collaboration will be extended to Asean economies, with operations starting soon in Cambodia and Myanmar.


Expanding into education and energy

Other than healthcare and blockchain technology, Trio also has business interests in the energy and education sectors.

Ooi explains that the group has a partnership with Kuwait-based Al-Madinah International University. The partnership allows Trio’s content provider partners to provide the university with Islamic content for its distance learning programmes. In addition, Trio also has a collaboration with Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, via its subsidiary UniTrio Ventures Sdn Bhd, for research & development and knowledge sharing. 

Trio also entered the energy sector recently after receiving a mandate from China state-owned company China Machinery Engineering Corp (CMEC) for solar power projects. Now, Trio works as a project management partner between CMEC and the respective governments in the Asean region, helping to facilitate the deployment of solar projects in different countries.


Capital-raising avenues 

With so much going on for the company, the expansion will be a key factor. Capital raising will be a natural requirement for the company, which is now looking at an initial public offering in the Singapore Exchange (SGX). If all goes according to plan, Ooi says the SGX IPO could happen by the end of this year.  

“We are quite confident [about the IPO] as we are focused mainly on our healthcare business. We do target government grants to help us for the project rollout in Indonesia as we can utilise that to speed up the process of digitisation across the country. That is our intention,” Ooi says.

Other than the IPO route, Trio is also mulling other capital-raising avenues, such as crowd-funding.

“We may or may not take this [crowd]funding. If we do take it [the route], it will speed up the process. On the other hand, it also involves risks of people trying to acquire us or take up more equity than we are comfortable with,” he says.

Trio currently has a paid-up capital of RM1 mil and is seeking about US$50 mil (RM195.5 mil) in funds to carry out their projects.

“We are focused on these areas because they are fundamental to a high quality human existence. Without health, life is very challenging, we need energy to power our 21st century devices, and education because that is where the future generations will be able to create a more balanced future for all of us,” says Ooi.

This article first appeared in Focus Malaysia Issue 277.