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In Malaysia, If You Want Fresh Seafood, Join a Facebook Livestream Auction

Customers eager to avoid wet markets are increasingly turning to live social media auctions to satisfy their seafood needs.

Inspired by successful operations in Taiwan, several companies in Malaysia have begun selling fish via nightly Facebook auctions, according to MalayMail. Every day, up to 8,000 people log in to see different species for sale and place their bids via messages and pay via direct bank transfer for fresh fish that are then quickly delivered. While the process can drive prices above what one would typically pay at a market or grocery store, customers appreciate the ease of ordering and delivery. Middle-aged men make up the majority of the clientele, the news source share.

Screenshot of DD Fishery Live auction.

37-year-old Audrey Goo set up a selling partnership between MyFishMan and DD Fishery Live to cater to the local Chinese population in Klang, Malaysia. Through trial and error, he has seen the business grow and admits "since we began auctioning over a year ago, our profits have increased by 10 to 50 percent on average." 

The auctions can replace several of the middlemen often involved in the seafood trade. Lim Yew Ping, the co-founder of wholesaler Sea Fresh, explains, "customarily fishermen spend an average of eight hours at sea. This means they are quite exhausted when they get back; hence, the prominent role of middlemen.” Yet auctions like those he facilitates may remove one or two of the intermediary companies and stores used to get fish from boats to home kitchens, which would increase freshness and cut costs.

The digital fish auctions are catching on in Singapore as well. Online seafood auctions have also been introduced in countries such as Australia and the United Statesthough those rely on conventional websites and not social media livestreams. And while local seafood producers do sell their ware on Facebook in Vietnam, none have yet adopted an auction format. 

[Top photo via Malay Mail]

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