John presently resides in the city of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo and is the founder of the EBiz Media Group of companies (Established since 2000) which is one of the leading media & communications companies in Sabah, Malaysia which have an integrated services in media, design, communications, branding and event management. John has also a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics & Finance from MONASH University of Australia and was a qualified Associate Member of the Australian Society of Certified Practicing Accountants (ASCPA) in 1990.
Under the wings of the Ebiz Media Group are EBiz Design & Communications, Borneo Images, Borneo Aerials, Borneo Media & Publications (BMP), SabahTravelGuide.Com, Borneo 360 ALIVE Productions, Borneo 360 ALIVE Magazine and Borneo Overland Expeditions.
Borneo 360 ALIVE is published quarterly with a circulation of 15,000 printed copies and a digital circulation of 30,000 copies. Along with the magazine, BMP also publishes the Free Sabah Travel Guide (STG) Maps with a circulation of 30,000 copies per quarter for the english version and 20,000 copies for the chinese version per quarter.
STG Maps were first published since the year 2001 and we have circulated more than 2 Million copies and is the most popular tourist map to look for when you arrive in Sabah. The maps are located within the Kota Kinabalu arrival hall with our specialized brochure racks. STG website SabahTravelGuide.Com is one of the most visited tourism information website of Sabah which was launched in 2001 by the Chief Minister of Sabah with collaboration with the Malaysia Tours & Travel Association (MATTA) Sabah Chapter. Ebiz was also entrusted with the task to develop Sabah Tourism Board’s and Tourism Malaysia’s official website in the early 2000s.
John also undertakes branding and communications projects including commercial photography projects and also shoots nature and urban landscape collections for his gallery, Borneo Images. He is also one the the official photographer for Sabah Tourism Board and contributes his work as a photojournalist to several travel and offroad magazines in Malaysia and overseas. His work is widely published in tourism promotion materials, magazines and exhibited at several Photography Festivals around Malaysia. He has a close alliance with Nikon Malaysia and was invited to be a Teaching and Advisory Panel Member of Nikon Centre Malaysia and a Nikon Professional Services (NPS) member in 2010.
More recently, John has undertaken several filming projects as a director and producer for tourism, adventure tourism, nature and corporate videos. He is currently working on a 4WD adventure documentary TV series title The Borneo Expeditions airing on National TV channels and few other tourism video projects for Sabah Tourism Board.
Besides his photography career, John was the Event Promotion and Sponsorship Manager for the Borneo Safari International Offroad Challenge from 2012 to 2014, one of the largest 4×4 offroad event in South East Asia with a convoy of more than 250 vehicles. He was the Executive Council Member of the Sabah Four Wheel Drive Association from (2012 to 2018) and the Founding Member & President of the Sabah Land Rover Club which he founded in 2016.
In the year 2018, John started 613 Customs, a car bespoke and restoration company to pursue his lifelong passion for motor cars with a special love for classic Land Rovers and Defenders.
Started with a Pentax film camera borrowed from Albert, his childhood friend and business partner in 1995, John started his interest in photography shooting the images for his OCEAN PRO boats line of products. After starting his design firm EBiz Design & Communications in the year 2000, he was always frustrated with images provided by his clients for the design projects and started to offer his photography services to his clients. He started his professional career in photography with the Nikon camera systems. Within a few years, soon John has established himself as a commercial photographer. His clients include ACCOR Hotel Chain (Novotel & Mercure), Air Asia (Tune Hotels), Best Western, Kota Kinabalu City Hall, Cititel Hotels, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Nikon Malaysia, Sutera Harbour Resorts, Nexus Karambunai Resorts, 1Borneo, Sabah Forestry Department, Sabah Parks, Starwoods Hotels Chain (Le Meridien), Kota Kinabalu Wetlands, Sabah Wildlife Department, Lokkawi Wildlife Park, MATTA, WWF, Sabah Tourism Board, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, Sabah Water Works Department, JAKIM, IJM, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts and Polytechnic Sabah, Hap Seng Properties, Ming Garden Hotel, Shangri-la’s Hotel & Resorts, Sutera Harbour Resorts.
In recognition for his photography work, John was invited by Nikon Malaysia to conduct photography workshops to share his experiences. With the establishment of the Nikon Centre Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur in the year 2010, John was invited to become a Teaching and Advisory Panel Member of Nikon Centre Malaysia and Nikon Professional Services (NPS) member. For the first 2 years, John’s images were chosen as the main showcase print at Nikon Centre Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur for the years 2010 to 2012. He was also invited by Nikon Malaysia to share his work at the Nikon Centre to the public. Click here for more info.
In the year 2006, John has started Borneo Images, a gallery located at the Nature and Resort City of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. The gallery showcases the collection of fine prints captured by John and a team of photographers and naturalists showcasing the beauty of Mother Nature. The mission is to use awe-inspiring photography as a powerful force to help create a culture of appreciation, understanding and stewardship for Mother Nature. John’s gallery has a branding alliance with the Le Meridien Hotel Kota Kinabalu of the Starwood Hotel Chains under the Unlock Art programme. John and his gallery was also featured in a film documentary feature of the series SPG TV EPISODE 15 of his photography work aired all Starwood Hotel Chains hotels in Asia Pacific region in the year 2009. His gallery was also featured in numerous travel documentaries. Click here for more info.
John’s first started his photography workshop in 2008 with an invitation from Nikon Malaysia as a speaker during the Nikon Bird Fair and Photography Exhibition. His most popular talk is Landscape Photography course titled “RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME and the RIGHT GEAR“. Over the years, John has provided photography training to various government and corporate agencies including Sabah Parks Board of Trustees, JAKIM and others. He has provided several workshops for Nikon Malaysia and was invited as a Teaching and Advisory Panel Member of Nikon Centre Malaysia when the centre first opened in the year 2010. He was also invited to talk at the Nikon Centre by Nikon Malaysia. He also provides Photography Workshops under the Mentor Series Branding by his Borneo Images Gallery. John is also available as a Photo Tour leader and instructor upon request. He is also currently developing photo tours to various destinations in Malaysia and overseas. Click here for more info.
John’s photography worked are exhibited at several photography exhibitions and galleries over the years. His work was exhibited annually by Sabah Tourism Board at the Kuala Lumpur Photography Festivals. Nikon Malaysia has also showcased his work at Nikon Centre Kuala Lumpur and other Nikon Photography workshops & exhibition events. His gallery, Borneo Images showcases his work since 2006 to present running theme exhibitions from time to time. He was also featured at the Epson 100 Photo Art Exhibition in 2011 together with Tourism Malaysia’s event. Click here for more info.
John’s images are widely published and printed on annual reports, brochures, promotion materials, billboards, exhibitions, coffee books and magazines. As an extension to his tourism based projects, his first coffee book titled BEST OF KINABALU PARK – A photographic journey through Kinabalu Park, Malaysia’s first world heritage site was published in the year 2015. Along with the coffee book, the Best of Kinabalu Park collection are also comprises of A3 Posters and Postcards sets printed on 100% recycled paper. Click here for more info.
This is a common question. Well to a certain degree, equipment are important to getting the job professionally done. However, what is more important is how to use camera equipment to get the image that you wanted. John has accumulated a rather large range of equipment due to his photography work and he is always exploring and willing to adapt new imaging hardware or software technologies. Click here for more info.
Along side his photography career, John is also the Creative Director of three companies. His first venture into creative design is focusing on web design and e commerce projects.
IBIZ SOLUTIONS, INC. – Your IT Partner
John incorporated IBiz Solutions, INC. in the year 2000 both in Delaware, USA and Malaysia. IBiz Solutions, INC was a web development company with Verisign e-commerce integration. The main focus of IBiz was to develop a tourism web portal of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo under the domain SabahTravelGuide.Com (STG). STG was made available through a joint collaboration between IBiz Solutions, Inc. (IBIZ), and the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents – Sabah Chapter. STG is also fully endorsed and supported by the State Government of Sabah, Sabah Tourism Board and Malaysia Tourism Promotion Corporation. STG was officially launched in April 2001 after 12 months of development by Yang Mulia Datuk Dr. Tengku Zainal Adlin, the Chairman of Sabah Tourism Board, on behalf of YB Tan Sri Datuk Chong Kah Kiat, the former Chief Minister of Sabah.
STG received numerous industry recognition in the early 2000s as a IT tourism model for various Tourism Boards in Malaysia. During the Malaysia Super Corridor (MSC)-Asia Pacific ICT Awards 2002, STG was nominated as a finalist. STG was also featured in Computer World Malaysia Magazine, June 2002 Issue No.8. The article was about “Selling Sabah to the World” using Information Technology. Soon after IBIZ was awarded contracts to develop Sabah Tourism Board’s official tourism website SABAHTOURISM.COM from the year 2002 to 2005. IBIZ was also awarded contracts to develop the Content Management System (CMS) of Tourism Malaysia’s official tourism website TOURISM.COM.MY in the year 2003. IBIZ became a major web design and development company in Sabah and developed more than 100 projects from the years 2002 to 2008. IBIZ’s clientele comprises of Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, Sabah Tourism, Sabah Air, Sabah Tea, Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Borneo Eco Tours, MATTA, Sabah Parks and many tourism based companies. With the advancement in technologies, easier cms based web solutions like wordpress and paypal payment system integration, many companies soon have their inhouse IT departments and IBIZ has since the year 2008 closed its Delaware registered company in the US and refocus its business to other medium of designs.
BORNEO MEDIA & PUBLICATIONS – Preserving Traditions, Embracing Changes
Borneo Media & Publications primary focus is to publish magazines and periodicals. Borneo Media & Publications currently publish the following:-
Borneo 360 ALIVE Magazine – Since 2011
Borneo 360 ALIVE is a free quarterly magazine focusing on the topics of Food and Drinks, Lifestyle, Entertainment, Real Estate, Investment and of any interesting events happening in and around Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Borneo360 ALIVE is supported by Sabah Tourism Board (STB) and Kota Kinabalu City Hall. Circulation of 100,000 copies per annum.
Sabah Travel Guide Free Tourist Map -Since 2002
STG free tourist map is available at strategic tourist information centres such as the KKIA / T2 airport and other strategic locations. STG MAP is endorsed by Sabah Tourism Board (STB) and Malaysian Association of Tours & Travel Agents (MATTA) Sabah Chapter. Circulation of 120,000 copies per annum for english version and 75,000 copies per annum for chinese version.
EBIZ DESIGN & COMMUNICATIONS -Your Branding Partner through Sustainable and Innovative Design
EBIZ DESIGN & COMMUNICATIONS is a leading design firm based in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. The team of professionals have undertaken major projects over the years with major local and international clients. EBIZ has a proven track record in handling projects from major brands to medium size organizations from multiple industries such as real estate, hospitality, education, conservation and tourism sector. EBIZ has the expertise to successfully implement branding strategy for clients across all media – web, print, electronic, merchandise and exhibition showcase designs.
Always willing to travel and passionate for the great outdoors, whether its climbing a mountain, trekking or covering an event from ground, sea and air, John presently covers nature, adventure and travel features. Initially working only on assignments, in 2014, John started writing and contributing his work to several travel and offroad magazines such as Travelution, Borneo Tuner, SUV 4×4 Magazine (S4M), Sabah Tourism Magazine and Borneo 360 ALiVE lifestyle magazine. He specialises in adventure sports, especially off road expeditions as well as nature destinations. He took up a course in Travel Writing & Photojournalism with the Australian School of Journalism in 2015. To find out more about his published work, please visit his portfolio.
With John’s great passion for the great outdoors and his knowledge in brand value creation and promotion, he has the experience to provide an integrated solution for event management and promotions as follows:-
1. Event Logo design, collaterals design, content development and photography;
2. Event website and social media marketing;
3. Merchandise design and development;
4. Exhibition and showcase design and development;
5. Pre and Post Event media and press management;
6. Event programme and coffee table book publication: and
7. Event budget and sponsorship management.
THE BORNEO SAFARI INTERNATIONAL OFFROAD CHALLENGE
John was elected as the executive council member of the Sabah Four Wheel Drive Association from 2012-2014, 2014-2016 and 2016-2018. He was also appointed as Borneo Safari’s event promoter from years 2011 to 2013. The Concept of Borneo Safari is an exclusive and upbeat 8 Days 4WD expedition through the state of Sabah, Malaysia’s Northern Borneo, covering some of the most challenging and varied tropical rainforest off road terrains in the world.
From the humble beginnings of only 15 vehicles in its inaugural Borneo Safari convoy in the year 1990, under John’s event promotion management, Borneo Safari has propelled to an astounding 260 vehicles with 600 participants and journalists from Japan, USA, Indonesia, Hungary, Netherlands, Thailand, Brunei, Australia, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia in the year 2013. This milestone has indeed placed Borneo Safari as one of the biggest offroading event in Malaysia and South East Asia.
With strong support from the Sabah Government, Sabah Tourism Board and major corporate sponsors from Malaysia, Japan, Australia and Indonesia, the SFWDA has successfully raise the awareness among the 4WD enthusiasts in this region to bring Borneo Safari International Offroad Challenge into the global network of offroad and adventure events and most importantly to promote Sabah as a PREMIER NATURE & ADVENTURE TOURISM DESTINATION in Asia. For more information please visit: www.borneosafari.com.my
THE BORNEO 4WD & OUTDOOR SHOW
The Borneo 4WD & Outdoor Show is one of the first of such event in Borneo! Sabah, Malaysian Borneo is blessed with pristine rainforests and tropical islands which provides a fantastic nature playground for outdoor enthusiast. Founded by John Kong, the first BFOS 2012 will be held in conjunction with the spirit of the Borneo Safari’s 22nd International Off-Road Challenge to be flagged off at the BFOS 2012 showground.
The BFOS is designed as a one-stop event for outdoor enthusiasts to find all the products, information, advice and entertainment they need to get equipped for their next offroad adventure. Exhibits cover new release vehicles, 4WD accessories, 4WD clubs, mountain biking, water sports , fishing and boating, camping accessories, electronics, tourism and destinations, and lifestyle products. The weekend will be action packed with not only all the latest products and services on offer but they will also be entertainments and demonstrations. Visitors to the show will have a great time at the weekend!
INTERNATIONAL BRAND SPONSORSHIPS
During his tenure, John has successfully secured international brand sponsorship of the event with major international brands such as ISUZU from Japan, GT Radial Tyres from Indonesia, ARB 4wd accessories from Australia, Nikon from Japan, Voltronic Lubricants from Germany and full range of other international brand of products and services who have invested in the Borneo Safari brand value. Please click on the logos below to find out more information.
Besides international brand sponsorships, John has also worked with many national and local brands to propelled Borneo Safari as one of the biggest offroading event in Malaysia and South East Asia.
John is an outdoor enthusiast who really enjoys the great outdoors. Taking up cycling as his first outdoor sports at the age 13, he currently enjoys camping, jungle trekking, mountain climbing, photography, running, biking (road ride, cross country, all mountain and down hill), 4WD and overland expeditions.
He has scaled the 3 highest mountain in Malaysia; Mount Kinabalu the highest, Mount Trusmadi the second and Mount Tambayukon the 3rd. He has trekked Maliau Basin, the Lost World of Sabah and Imbak Canyon. He has trekked the western plateau of Mt. Kinabalu.
He also ran his 1st and only full marathon in Penang in the year 2013. He has completed 5 years of Borneo Safari International Offroad Challenge from the years 2009 to 2013 as the official photographer and later as an organiser from years 2012-2013.
In the year 2014, he participated in the TransBorneo Expedition as a photojournalist which circumnavigated the island of Borneo.
John was elected as the executive council member of the (SFWDA) Sabah Four Wheel Drive Association from 2012-2014, 2014-2016 and 2016-2018. SFWDA is the organiser of Borneo Safari with more than 1,500 registered members. John is also one of the founding member and vice president of the Sabah Land Rover Club with was established in 2016.
His first attempt was to venture into the boat manufacturing business in 1995 under the brand and trademark OCEAN PRO, which was a project in collaboration with Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC) Asia to manufacture boats in Malaysia. Specialising in Sports Fishing Boats, OCEAN PRO boats soon became a popular brand in Malaysia. Ocean Pro sold the most number of boats during the 1997 Malaysia International Boat Show in Kuala Lumpur and boats were also exported countries like the United Kingdom, Guam, Brunei, Australia and Fiji. The currency meltdown in the late 90s have eventually slowed the demand for leisure boats and he has since sold the business in the year 2000. Click here for more info.
He has spent 7 years in the marine industry with keen interest in sports fishing, jet skiing and boating. He has ridden jet skis from the island of Labuan to Kota Kinabalu several times and has participated and being an organising committee of the Sabah International Fishing Competitions.
Whenever there is an ending, there is a new beginning… The experience gained from the boat manufacturing business gave John a good knowledge of brand development and marketing. Over a few mug of beers in the year 2000, a good friend by the name of Chan suggested to John that he has got a gifted eye for design, photography and brand development and he should use this knowledge to provide his services professionally. John took his advise and has never looked back since.