SINGAPORE (June 25): When Tan Tiong Peng started a laundromat in Singapore eight years ago, customers complained that his imported washing machines spat out too little water as they put their clothes to wash. It took Tan almost a year to convince customers that his Europe-imported models used a lot less water for the same load of laundry than conventional washing machines, as water tariffs were much higher in European countries. “With our washing machines, water now makes up only 5% of our cost, even if water tariffs go up by 30%, it is not a lot for us,” says Tan, who owns the Wonder Wash and SQ Laundromat brands as well as other franchises with a total of 88 shops across the island.

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