By Elson Kho
Property Hunter flips the switch to the online realm. A story of how our journey started and how it will continue.
1. Property Hunter Magazine 1st Issue
In the beginning (the year was 2012), property market around the region was experiencing a time of growth. In fact, the growth rate and transaction activities recorded in Malaysia during that period was exponential!
It was then a young and ambitious man by the name of Michael Hiew looked around the media landscape in Sabah and thought “I can empower the public’s property buying decisions by sharing listing information.” A noble feat. After all, property is the single most expensive item a person commits to in his entire life (although some say its marriage, but we’ll leave that discussion to another day).
And so he said, “Let there be Property Hunter! A publication that supports the property industry and promotes growth by helping people make informed decisions.” Maybe he didn’t say it word for word but you get the point.
On 1 Jan 2012, 1 the first issue of Property Hunter was published in a tabloid format counting at approximately 40 pages.
In the early days, the Property Hunter team was just a handful. 2 The focus was more on sharing for sale or rent listings submitted by local agents. 3 We included local property related news gathered from various news sources to make up the content of the magazine, and the large format tabloid size was made to look similar to a newspaper.
The publication was first distributed for free, at a handful of local food chains and the copy usually runs out within a week or two. We were overjoyed by the overwhelming response – until one day we heard of people taking bulks of our magazine and selling it off as recycled paper and realized our intention of sharing information for free was abused.
2. Images of the early listing pages
3. Images of the news pages
4. (L-R) Elson Kho, Ho Chin Soon, Michael Hiew and Chris Tan
Towards the tail end of 2012, we decided to give Property Hunter a facelift and started selling the magazine instead of giving it out for free. We revamped the publication into a proper magazine format with glossy paper. We also restructured our distribution strategy and expanded our point of sales to book shops all over Sabah.
It was at this divine juncture that a man was sent from heaven to support our work – 4 Mr Ho Chin Soon, the Chairman of Ho Chin Soon Research Sdn Bhd or better known as the King of Maps in Malaysia. We had the honour of hosting Mr Ho for a quick breakfast in Kota Kinabalu International Airport during one of his speaking engagements with a developer here in KK. We instantly connected and Mr Ho was kind enough to link us up with many prominent speakers and influencers in Kuala Lumpur.
The turning point for Property Hunter came in year 2013 when a collaborative relationship was established with Sabah Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (SHAREDA) through Datuk Francis Goh, who was the President at that time.
From that point forward, Property Hunter had the privilege to support SHAREDA in promoting the property industry. Several partnerships were formed including appointing 5 Property Hunter Magazine as the official magazine for SHAREDA’s PropEX (Property Exhibition) as well as participation in SHAREDA NITE, the industry event of the year.
5. Official Magazine for PropEX13
6. Datuk Sr. Chua Soon Ping, Chew Sang Hai, Datuk Francis Goh
Our relationship with SHAREDA was further fortified when we were invited by 6 Mr Chew Sang Hai and Datuk Sr Chua Soon Ping (then Deputy President and Council Member of SHAREDA) to co-organize property exhibitions in Tawau and Sandakan. And their support towards Property Hunter remains strong til’ today.
7. Michael Hiew (far left) receiving awards at
the Malaysian Reserve Property Press Awards.
Year 2014 was a busy and eventful year for Property Hunter. Apart from the ongoing expansion, the magazine received 2 recognitions from the media industry, validating the work we put into building the publication.
Property Hunter magazine was shortlisted as a finalist for two categories under the SPARKS Awards in Singapore, namely “The Best Subscription Strategy” and “The Best Content Team”. 7 In the same year, the magazine also won the “Outstanding Promotion of the Sabah Housing Market” awards by the Malaysian Reserve Property Press Awards.
One of the most overused phrase in our office is “Change is the only constant”. Property Hunter as a brand is constantly evolving to ensure we stay relevant with the times. 8 Our publication has also gone through many rounds of face lifting to maintain its appeal to our readers and advertisers.
8. 2016 Fresh New look
9. Contributor article
Our only competition is ourselves, 9 every new issue published is truly a collaborative effort from our team members. Every aspect of the publication has been carefully put together, from the feel of stock paper, to font type, to size to the selection of pictures.
Apart from the aesthetic improvement, the quality of the content of the magazine is constantly raised to stay ahead of the market. Through Mr Ho Chin Soon’s introductions, we started receiving contributing articles from industry professional and influencers which elevated the level of content in the magazine.
Internally, our editorial team also grew along with a strong backing of contributing writers. The aim is to make Property Hunter a reliable source when it comes to property information, be it hard data such as property prices, market opinion or tips and tricks on property ownership.
In 2017, we welcomed our Editor Mr Lawrence Julius to head our content team. Backed with years of editorial experience and a uniquely broad skillset, his focus is now to bring Property Hunter’s content from printed editorial into interactive content in the digital realm.
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