Thai coconut exporter has high hopes for CIIE

Thai coconut exporter has high hopes for CIIE

A worker piles up peeled coconuts in a coconut factory in Damnoen Saduak, Ratchaburi Province, Thailand, Nov. 3, 2023.  (Xinhua/Wang Teng)
A worker piles up peeled coconuts in a coconut factory in Damnoen Saduak, Ratchaburi Province, Thailand, Nov. 3, 2023. (Xinhua/Wang Teng)

RATCHABURI: In the Thai coconut factory of Damnoen Saduak, workers on the assembly line are packaging peeled coconuts, which will be shipped to China soon.

Located in Thailand's central Ratchaburi Province, about 100 km from Bangkok, Damnoen Saduak is well-known for its century-old floating market. It is also the main producing area of Thailand's fragrant coconuts, known for its unique aroma and sweet taste.

Narongsak Chuensuchon, a 53-year-old coconut exporter from Damnoen Saduak, is excited that he could once again introduce his coconut products to Chinese customers as an exhibitor at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.

"I am very happy and excited to join such a grand exhibition again in China," Narongsak, chairman of NC Coconut, told Xinhua, adding that this year marks a significant return for his product showcase at the CIIE after the hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Narongsak was born to a peasant family and has been growing coconuts with his parents since childhood. "I had a deep affection for coconuts. I know how to grow the best coconuts and can tell what kind of coconuts are delicious at a glance," he said.

In 2009, Narongsak established his own coconut company NC Coconut, which currently processes around 20 million coconuts per year. China is the company's largest export market, accounting for 60 to 70 percent of the total.

Thailand fragrant coconuts are very popular among Chinese consumers in recent years, and the CIIE has played a crucial role in expanding his business in the Chinese market, Narongsak said.

"Serving as a platform for strengthening connectivity and cooperation between Chinese and global merchants, the expo offers us opportunities to introduce our brand and high-quality products and increase exposure through marketing and promotion," he said.

Narongsak went to the inaugural CIIE in 2018 after receiving an invitation from his business partner in China.

"My first experience as a visitor was impressive and very exciting. The event was well organized, and the multi-story exhibition area was huge, with a wide variety of product categories," he said.

The CIIE is an important window for high-quality fruits from all over the world to enter the Chinese market, Narongsak said.

A year later, his company, through the business partner, started exhibiting coconut products at the second CIIE, which received very positive feedback from customers, Narongsak said. "I saw the great opportunity to promote products and expand sales in the Chinese market."

For this year's sixth edition of the CIIE, scheduled for Nov. 5-10 in Shanghai, Narongsak said his company is poised to launch a newly developed product in addition to its green coconut lineup, which is mainly exported to China.

The new product launch is expected to be an opportunity to boost growth in the immense Chinese market as the bottled fragrant coconut water is in line with the high demand and healthy lifestyle of the younger generation, he said.

Narongsak noted that joining the CIIE provides insights into upcoming trends, guiding future product development.

"This ready-to-drink coconut water is produced with our latest technique, which allows it to be stored for up to one year without refrigeration, yielding a competitive pricing while maintaining its natural characteristics," he added.

"The Chinese market is huge and the consumption potential is enormous. The CIIE allows us to share China's development opportunities, which means achieving big dreams for small businesses like us," Narongsak said.

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