Home shopping operators keen on entering Thai market

More foreign TV home shopping operators are eyeing Thailand, which is seen as having potential due to consumers' high purchasing power.

Songpol: Taking it to the next level

Songpol Shanmatkit, chief executive of the SET-listed TV Direct Plc (TVD), said the Thai market remains small but has the potential to grow rapidly like in Japan and South Korea.

Pay-TV operators have recently launched home shopping channels including the True Select channel by TrueVisions and the O Shopping channel, a joint venture between GMM Z and South Korea's CJO.

"I think many TV home shopping operators from abroad will expand their businesses to Thailand this year, particularly Japanese players," Mr Songpol said.

Last August, Sumitomo Corporation, which operates the Jupiter Shop Channel in Japan, reached a deal with ICC International Plc and Central Retail Corporation (CRC) to establish the Shop Channel in Thailand.

Sumitomo is providing 40% of the investment, while ICC and CRC each are contributing 30%.

The Shop Channel is set to broadcast in June with product lines including jewellery, cosmetics, electronics, fashion and food.

Sumitomo will provide operating know-how, ICC will take care of distribution, and CRC will advise on product selection to match local consumers.

The Thai consumer market is growing at the fastest rate in Southeast Asia, and consumers are sophisticated and diversified by the expansion of the middle class in recent years, Sumitomo said in a statement.

The Shop Channel is targeted to generate annual sales worth 5 billion baht within the next five years.

South African and Singaporean operators are also eyeing the Thai market.

"The new players will make the Thai home shopping market grow to a new level," Mr Songpol said.

The market for home shopping by TV in Thailand is valued at 5 billion baht annually, but the entry of new players could double the market value this year.

TVD is confident it will see revenue growth of 20% this year to 2.7 billion baht, backed by good logistics and a strong relationship with satellite TV platform operators.

Shares of TVD closed Friday on the SET at 6.60 baht, up five satang, in trade worth 16 million baht.

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Writer: Saengwit Kewaleewongsatorn