Experts urge use of online tools
Thai businesses should understand customer preferences, have a target group of users and use online marketing and social media to empower cross-border trade opportunities in China and India, says business ad tech experts.
"The value of international trade between Thailand and India is US$11 billion (366 billion baht)," said Rakesh Singh, director of the Thailand-India Business Council.
Speaking at a Post Today seminar on small businesses expanding to China, India and Asean, Mr Singh said India is a diverse country with myriad cultures and languages.
"Brands that want to sell in India should research specific target groups rather than the whole country," he said.
The average millennial in India is 27 years old, and with massive urbanisation, there are lots of smart city projects, said Mr Singh.
"India will have the largest population by 2030, outpacing China, and this is very large opportunity for businesses. The government has also eliminated outdated regulations, allowing businesses to simply run," he said.
But some global brands have faltered when entering India.
KFC and Burger King both unsuccessfully offered veggie burgers in India, and one cereal product from Kellogg's that is served with cold milk failed because people there prefer hot milk, he said. Brands really need to understand consumer behaviour and preferences, said Mr Singh.
Indians also shop online through Amazon, Paytm and Flipkart.
The country has 400 million internet users that brands can use online channels as tools to reach.
India also has the second-largest startup segment in the world, with over 20,000 startups valued at over $50 billion.
The country also boasts 200 incubators and accelerators. Thai startups can pitch to venture capital firms in Bangalore, among other activities.
Mr Singh said there are several areas where Indians and Thais can do cross-border collaborations such as hospitality, travel, contract farming technology, weddings and trade in the Seven Sister States in northern India connected to Myanmar.
Each year, 1.1 million Indians visit Thailand.
Meanwhile, Sresuda Winitsuvan, head of PR and content partnership of Tencent Thailand, said Thai brands are popular in China for their quality.
She said Thai brands there use social media and other online channels to communicate with potential customers.
Tencent's WeChat platform today has some 963 million users using the application for electronic payments.
China has a population of 1.4 billion and 700 million have internet access.
Patcharaporn Sirisapwong, marketing and PR manager of Baidu Thailand, said Baidu is the most popular search engine in China, securing a 72% market share.
Last year, 10 million Chinese tourists came to Thailand.