Tyrepac races into Thai market
Singapore-based online auto tyre retailer, Tyrepac, has made a foray into the Thai market via a partnership with Toyota Tsusho Thailand Co, a trading unit of Japan's Toyota Group and Manoyont Group, a local aftermarket spare parts distributor.
Thailand is the fourth country that Tyrepac has entered and it has the largest number of cars in Southeast Asia with roughly 8 million, said Marcus Lim, co-founder and director of Tyrepac Pte Ltd.
Tyrepac is Asia's first and largest online tyre retailing website, making its debut in Singapore in 2008, before expanding to Hong Kong in 2009 and Indonesia in 2015.
The online portal welcomes all tyre brands and tyre distributors, but it focuses on car tyres only. Customers can buy tyres and ship either to their homes or Tyrepac's partnership network.
According to Mr Lim, Toyota Tsusho will support communication with Tyrepac's customers in Thailand, citing Toyota Tsusho's specialisation in the retail business locally while Manoyont Group will help Tyrepac approach tyre service locations in the country.
Mr Lim said there are 50 service locations providing tyre replacements for Tyrepac's customers, with the number expected to rise to 100 by the end of this year.
Takahiro Arai, general manager of Toyota Tsusho Asia Pacific, said Thailand is an important regional market for e-commerce because of the significant growth in internet and smartphone users.
He said Thailand's internet penetration reached about 51% of the population and 64% were smartphone users last year, while the market value of e-commerce stood at US$90 billion (3.06 trillion baht), was higher than Singapore's $76 billion.
"Many research papers and surveys estimate that Thailand's e-commerce will surge by a combined 38% in 2018 [from last year's figures]," said Mr Arai.
"Thailand's e-commerce value is expected to be similar to that of Japan, worth $135 billion in the very near future."
According to Mr Arai, Thailand itself has a very efficient logistics infrastructure to support local e-commerce business expansion.
In the country's tyre market, Mr Arai said about 15-20 million tyres are replaced annually, or 1.5 million a month.
"Although tyres sold via online portals account for only 1%, or 15,000 tyres now, I think there is more room to grow in the long run thanks to Thai first-time car owners aged between their early 20s and mid-30s."
Mr Lim added Tyrepac expects to be a major tyre e-commerce portal player, not only in Thailand but also in other countries where Tyrepac has a presence.