Thailand Mobile Expo moved to July
The organiser of Thailand Mobile Expo says the country's flagship smartphone trade show will be postponed from June to July because of the pandemic.
The company plans to diversify its business into providing mobile phone repair services out of caravans.
"The pandemic has slowed local smartphone purchases and forced the postponement of Thailand Mobile Expo from June to July 2-5 at Bitec," said Opas Cherdpunt, managing director of M Vision, the organiser of the show.
At the July event, the company plans to use two halls at Bitec instead of three, as consumer confidence has weakened during the pandemic, he said.
During the lockdown, smartphone retail sales from major dealers and distributors dropped almost 90% as online sales did not offset dips from retail shops.
For offline sales, major dealers were able to sell 40,000-50,000 units a month.
According to Mr Opas, the company also diversified into mobile phone repair services out of caravans, called MVP Service Express Caravan. This service is the first of its kind in Thailand, he said.
The caravans can be parked at factories, office buildings and community areas. Screen repair and battery replacement are the most sought services.
"We estimate up to 6 million smartphones require fixing at this time," said Mr Opas.
By the end of this month, MVP will rent caravans to partners, including smartphone brands, retailers and mobile operators, allowing them to sell their products and provide services without relying on department stores, he said.
Even though the government will ease restrictions on retail shops at department stores, a second wave of the pandemic is a cause for concern and preparation is necessary, Mr Opas said.
He said smartphone vendors cannot merely rely on online channels as consumers need to touch and try handsets.
Mr Opas said the company owns the most caravans for tourism and it decided to capitalise on the assets to boost revenue.
The repair service charge at the caravans starts at 990 baht and repairs are done within a day. Customers can pick up their devices within a few hours, he said. More than 3,000 people have used the service since the launch on April 21.
Mr Opas said one in every 100 mobile phones is estimated to require screen repair. Screen replacements cost 2,000-12,000 baht and this market is valued at 5 billion baht.
"Our service charges are 2-3 times lower than those imposed by brands' official service centres," he said.