When news broke out that long-time Sim Lim Square tenant Cybermind Computer House was apparently ceasing all operations permanently, regular patrons of the IT shopping mall were shook. It would have been the end of an era for a reliable brick-and-mortar store that has been selling graphics cards, processors, RAM cards and whatever your custom PC-building heart desired for over 20 years.
But then, an email arrived from Cybermind Computer House — or rather, Global Cybermind Technologies. Sent by the company’s business development deputy manager Aye Chan, he clarified that Cybermind is very much still alive, albeit under a new name, a new management team, and support from new investors.
But what of that viral Facebook post about Cybermind shuttering for good and all other entities having no relations at all to the OG brand?
Detecting a wee bit of drama behind the scenes, AsiaOne probed a little deeper and learned what really went down at Cybermind, as well as the future of the Sim Lim Square icon.
How did Cybermind Computer House come to be?
Aye Chan: 21 years ago, prior to the Cybermind everyone knows today, Mr Chia Hung King started a business in computer parts distribution. A year into the business, he realised there was demand in a very niche market. Being very technical people, Mr Chia and his team decided to open a retail store focusing on DIY computers.
Unlike today, CPU overclocking could not be performed easily back then if you aren’t tech-savvy — there were no YouTube tutorials. You need someone with the technical know-how; a pair of hands with surgical precision; and a leap of faith. Cybermind became a haven for every DIY enthusiast to gather. We even introduced a solution for cooling systems that go hand-in-hand with overclocking.
From there, the age of gaming expanded and Cybermind became the centre of it. We supported many gamers across the island with equipment, parts, overclocking and cooling system solutions, as well as after-sale services and warranty claims.
Who is the new person taking over the reins at Cybermind?
AC: Ms Candy Win (Global Cybermind’s chief operating officer) joined Cybermind as a sales executive since the early days. She used to manage the retail sales segment of the company for many years and headed its Funan outlet before taking up the challenge of dealing with the more complex requirements from our corporate business clients.
Her product knowledge in computer parts — be it for office use or for serious gaming — is something that even the younger generation would be looking up to for many years to come. She is a living legend in an industry mainly dominated by males. We would be very much thrilled to see more lady gamers and lady computer engineers to pursue their dreams in this industry. And of course, we would gladly support them with our very best services, should they come seeking our aid.
After 21 years in business, why did Mr Chia decide to retire?
AC: Mr Chia had an overseas business partner and an investor who wished to retire and liquidate his share of the investment. Without an inheritor, Mr Chia decided to retire as well and practice the teaching of Buddha.
When I had a conversation with him, I realised that he is a very religious and peaceful person. He wishes to continue living his life fully without being tied down to everyday affairs of pursuing business and profits anymore.
Would you say that he’s happy to hand off the business?
AC: It would be very hard to discern what he might be actually feeling. As I mentioned previously, he is already above worldly matters.
If not for Ms Candy’s sake, he would have dissolved everything he had built over many years in a blink of an eye. He only wishes for the happiness of others, starting with Ms Candy. All in all, I could only say that it was a very smooth discussion and handover without any hiccups.
The sudden news and the quickness of the new management take over all indicate that it was a happy ending for both parties. And Mr Chia has given us his blessing for our future endeavours. We are eternally grateful for his generosity.
So why did a former employee put up that post about Cybermind ceasing operations?
AC: As Mr Chia told his team about his intentions, there was a split among the team, not unlike between siblings in some families.
Everyone wishes for Cybermind to continue in their own way. Sometimes, one’s goodwill could unintentionally be harmful to others.
Why the change of name though?
AC: According to the Business Assets Purchase Agreement (BAPA) signed between Mr Chia and the new management, Global Cybermind Technologies Pte. Ltd. has legally purchased all rights to the name “Cybermind” and the “E-commerce” segment of the Cybermind Computer House Pte. Ltd.
In business terms, Global Cybermind Technologies Pte. Ltd. is a separate entity and is not related to Cybermind Computer House Pte. Ltd. in terms of liability.
However, the core business of Cybermind has been legally transferred over to Global Cybermind. Therefore, we are still the same heart and soul of Cybermind as it has ever been and ever will be.
Will regular patrons see any changes under the new management?
AC: The only reason that the new owners are willing to invest in Cybermind is due to their trust in the spirit of the company and its staff. It’s only right to keep it that way without interfering much with the operation.
If anything, it would be to pour more energy and to serve all our loyal clients and customers with the same standard we maintained over the years.
In the face of e-commerce growing bigger by the day, how will Cybermind continue to attract customers to the store?
AC: It’s true that online shopping has grown to an unimaginable height but not without its own problems — namely the trust the customers have on the sellers and the quality of services they received in return.
Especially so when it comes to DIY computers; there is no knowing whether the parts you ordered separately will stick together without any issues. If you mistakenly order an incompatible part, your new computer might be sitting and collecting dust for a few weeks until the new part arrives. The process of returning and refunding or exchanging also causes too much trouble that most of our customers tend to avoid if possible.
Our vision is to supply high quality and worry-free computer parts to anyone who requires our services. Therefore, it’s important for us to be easily reachable, which most of the online shops do not offer. For a customer to walk into our store and leave with a satisfying smile, even if they did not purchase anything, will be our commitment and passion we would promise to anyone who visits us.
Will the potential en bloc sale of Sim Lim have any effect on Cybermind’s operations?
AC: It would be a waste of time to count chickens before the eggs hatch. Cybermind is everywhere within the hearts of our hardcore supporters.
As long as we have them, physical locations will never become a road bump in our journey. We will continue to serve and fulfil our commitments — be it at Sim Lim Square or at a new location. We believe in our customers as well as suppliers to support us through any changes, as they have shown us at the grand opening ceremony of Global Cybermind Technologies Pte. Ltd.
On behalf of the Cybermind family, I would like to thank everyone; to those who asked about us through many different channels, to those who dropped by just to see how we are doing, and to those who sent us their regards and cheers. Thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts.