Siam Health Co, the maker of Dentiste premium oral care products, expects to set up a toothpaste factory in South Korea this year.
Sangsuk Pithayanukul, the company's chief executive, said that Siam Health is negotiating with potential partners to set up a factory because it believes that having "made in South Korea'' toothpaste will receive a warmer welcome from American consumers.
The company has also renewed a contract with Thai singer Lalisa "Lisa" Manoban, a member of South Korean K-pop group Blackpink, as a brand ambassador.
"It's not only in Thailand -- K-pop culture is also well accepted by American consumers,'' Mr Sangsuk said.
In the meantime, according to Mr Sangsuk, the company also plans to move some production of its Dentiste toothpaste to Germany in order to expand into European markets. Having a production base in Germany would make it easier for the company to grow the Dentiste toothpaste brand in Europe, he said.
"We invested in hiring Lisa for many years and she helps a lot to raise the brand awareness of Dentiste. Both sales and market share have also seen huge increases in several countries during the pandemic, including Japan, where international consumer products find it difficult to grow their businesses," he said. "With Lisa [as our brand ambassador], we believe we will receive a warm welcome from customers everywhere we go,'' Mr Sangsuk said.
According to Mr Sangsuk, the company has also cut its media spending by half to 30-40 million baht per year after hiring Lisa.
Mr Sangsuk expects that expanding its business in South Korea and Europe will be instrumental in boosting the sales contribution from overseas markets to 80% of the company's total sales, from nearly 50% now.
"We have shifted our focus to the overseas market now that there is a population of 7 billion worldwide, compared with only 70 million people in Thailand. Although there are many challenges abroad, particularly in South Korea and Japan, we believe we can overcome such obstacles by developing Dentiste products that fit consumers in each country or region of the world,'' Mr Sangsuk said, adding that Dentiste toothpaste is available in 25 countries, with new markets being added this year.
For the domestic market, according to Mr Sangsuk, Dentiste's toothpaste sales last year registered growth of only 1%.
"Nevertheless, we remain happy with this marginal growth as Dentiste aims for the niche market,'' he said.