Ichitan eyes non-drink items

Ichitan eyes non-drink items

Mr Tan (left) with True's Oliver Kittipong Veerataecha launch a marketing campaign to tap into Thailand's green tea market.
Mr Tan (left) with True's Oliver Kittipong Veerataecha launch a marketing campaign to tap into Thailand's green tea market.

Ichitan Group, which built its fortune on green tea two decades ago, believes the time is ripe to diversify into "innovative" non-drink items that offer new business growth for the next five years.

The market for bottled green tea in Thailand is becoming saturated and there is growing demand for health-related drinks and products, spurring new business opportunities, said Tan Passakornnatee, president and chief executive of Ichitan Group.

The company aims to increase the sales contribution of non-drinks to 50% of total turnover in five years from zero now.

"The move is to reduce business risk and ensure the growth of sustainable sales in the long term," said Mr Tan. "We are negotiating with a few health-related product companies for possible 50:50 joint ventures."

He said the ventures will cover the areas of health, digital and online services, which offer a high return on investment.

"We are no longer interested in hotels, property and restaurants as those businesses come with relatively high risks and require heavy investment," Mr Tan said. "Ichitan is ready to support prospective partners with marketing, distribution, business connections and funding."

The group expects to seal at least one deal next year.

"Ichitan introduced a vitamin water drink to the market in recent months," he said. "I think we are moving in the right direction because the vitamin drink has become a key driver of overall sales in the third quarter this year and is expected to generate 1.2 billion baht in sales next year."

In a related development, the company announced yesterday it teamed up with telecom giant True Corp to jointly develop "Winter Yuzu Fuze Tea Limited Edition", a yuzu flavoured black tea.

The new tea flavour in a 420-millilitre bottle featuring an IchitanxTrue5G edition label is scheduled to become available at all 7-Eleven convenience stores nationwide on Dec 24.

The promotion includes "Ichitanx­- TRUE 5G Happiness with Genius Code inside Every Bottle Cap", which uses True 5G AR featuring H-Man, which can move on the tea's label, creating an experience for drinkers.

A special promotion runs from Dec 1 to Feb 8, 2021, in which buyers send the codes under the caps to win digital prizes every day. This qualifies them for the opportunity to win a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 or True Premier League access for the whole season.

For every code sent, TrueMove H customers will earn five points instantly and get 2 gigabytes of free internet service to watch content from TrueID. The company allotted 20 million baht for the campaign and expects 200 million baht in sales.

"Customers are eager to try new things, and this collaboration with True meets that demand while steering Thais towards True 5G. It also helps us expand our customer base, particularly among True pre-paid customers," said Mr Tan.

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