British beef up operations

British beef up operations

More British companies are planning to expand in Thailand to use the country as a springboard to tap market opportunities rising from the upcoming Asean Economic Community.

Thanatcha Laohakul, trade and investment manager at the British embassy in Bangkok, said at least five big companies from the fashion and food sectors were keen to beef up their businesses here.

They hope to use Thailand as a springboard to expand into other Asean countries after the formation of a single market by the end of this year.

Currently, there are about 500 British companies and brands available in Thailand, including Tesco, Prudential and Kenwood.

The British embassy in Bangkok will promote more British products and brands here.

Kenwood, a food preparation appliance brand, has been available in Thailand for over two decades via its local distribution company Thiptanaporn Co.

Charles Ittitanavatana, managing director of Thiptanaporn, said the company aimed to double product sales in Thailand to 200 million baht in 2018.

Kenwood's business in Thailand continues to grow every year, even during the sluggish economic situation. Sales grew 7% in the first seven months of this year.

"A strong expansion of real estate projects, especially condominiums, has a positive effect on small electrical appliance sales. Small appliances become part of kitchen decoration," he said.

Paul Accornero, commercial director for Asia-Pacific, Americas and South Africa at De'Longhi Group, owner of the Kenwood trademark, said Asia was an important market for Kenwood.

Asia-Pacific now accounts for 18% of global sales and the figure is expected to rise to 30% over the next five years.

Mr Accornero said Kenwood hoped to be among the top 10 largest markets in Thailand in the future.

"I believe in the market potential here because the food culture is very strong and Thais love to try new things," he said.

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