IBM leads companies in law suits
against industrial estate
IBM Storage Products (Thailand), of IBM group of
companies, has led a number of companies to seek justice from Civil Court after 304
Industrial Park Co. failed to transfer land rights to IBM and many other customers in
Industrial Estate 304 in Prachin Buri province, despite months of talks which yielded no
The industrial park company, owned by Advanced Agro Plc, has leveraged
land plots inside the industrial estate as collateral against loans from Krung Thai Bank.
The company, hit hard by the economic crisis, has failed to service its debt owned to KTB
in the past several months. Many Japanese-owned companies, which produce goods for export,
are among those inside the estate.
Industry Minister Suwat Liptapallop has reportedly expressed concerns
over the case, while many of the companies have filed law suits separately against the
IBM confirmed its commitment to invest more in Thailand despite the land hurdles, an
example being their new production line to produce the smallest computer hard disks for
the world market opened earlier this month.
Popeyes goes smaller after years
in Thai market
The master franchise of Popeyes fast-food
restaurant in Thailand, Green Valley Group, will close more Popeyes branches from
now to the end of the year. The closed branches will be transformed into Jumpin
Restaurants. There will be only 2 Popeyes branches left in Thailand after this, said
Green Valley marketing director Napaporn Choowattanadej.
According to Miss Napaporn, sales at three Jumpin Restaurants,
earlier Popeyes, have jumped between 15% to 30% since early this year. Talks with US
Popeyes operator, American Favorite Chicken, to revoke the franchising agreement,
have not progressed much. Green Valley is to go its own way in opening up more
Jumpin branches, both in Bangkok and in the provinces, Miss Napaporn said.
Notes: The changes have helped save a large amount in franchising and
royalty fees. Jumpin has been developed by the group under Australian know-how.
Pizza and a few other choices have been added to fried chicken in Jumpin
Nam Airport being pushed as new
Provincial authorities in Nan province have urged the
government and concerning agencies to promote the provinces airport as a new
international hub, and to facilitate international airlines. Citing increasing trade
between Thailand and Laos, and increasing flights to the province, the Nan Chamber of
Commerce said it is the time to link with neighbors by air.
Nan Airport, with a 2,000-meter long runway and advanced flying control
equipment that meets international standards, will be perfect to be such an international
airport, said director Suthep Khemthong. The airport, with a customs office, can be
another gateway to Indochina in northern Thailand after Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, he
Cross border trading with Laos was worth Baht 1.8 billion last year, but only about
Baht 200 million was through official channels. Nan Province, which borders Laos
ancient capital of Luang Prabang, a world heritage, can be a gateway to southern China and
Vietnam. Angel Airlines and Bangkok Airways already plan Bangkok-Nan-Luang Prabang
Key policies subject to change
under KTBs Singh
Banking policies and directions of the government-owned
Krung Thai Bank, earlier projected to be the bank for small and medium-sized industries,
and for rural area development, are likely to be changed when the banks new
president formally takes office in the middle of July. KTB will be among leading banks
with non-performing loans to be eliminated.
The new president, Singh Tangtatsawas, who is yet to resign from his
post as managing director of the Stock Exchange of Thailand, said his KTB will not only be
the countrys largest bank but also the most successful bank in the industry.
Singhs remarks have been opposite to those made by KTB chairman Dr. Mechai
Veeravaidhaya, who wants to see the bank take a leading role as a bank for communities.
KTB has been allocated Baht 20 billion in government funds to support SMEs. Singh said
the NPLs must be reduced and performance improved to attract new partners. KTB must be
out of political hands to be successful.
BTSC to spend Baht 60-100 million
more advertising train system
Operator of BTS electric train, Bangkok Transport System
Co., said it will spend between Baht 60 million to Baht 100 million in advertising from
here to the end of the year on services of the countrys first electric train system.
The J. Walter Thompson Agency will be responsible for TV commercials, while Prakit FCB
will look after advertisements in printed media.
According to BTSC advisor Dr. Anat Apabhiromya, though a tariff system
is being calculated by a financial advisor, the train system is sure to be ready for its
inauguration scheduled in December. Passenger rates will begin at a minimum of 15 Baht and
increase 5 Baht for every terminal used. A through-the-line fare is projected to be 60
Baht, while a more suitable and good-for-all rate is being considered, he said.
Meanwhile, VGI Global Media Co. from Hong Kong has won a lifetime
concession to administer area sales at 25 terminals.
One unsolved problem is that no park-and-ride areas are available after Sun Estate
failed to implement the project at Talad Mor Chid main station.
Hotel association out on road
shows to spur sales
The Thai Hotel Association, Northern Chapter has planned
to organize sales exhibitions in three ASEAN nations in July, in a bid to spur MICE sales
in northern Thailand. The road shows, enjoying close cooperation with the Tourism
Authority of Thailand, will start between July 18 to July 25, in Singapore, Malaysia and
TAT statistics show that arrivals of foreign tourists to northern
provinces have increased by 3%, and many of those have visited Chiang Mai for conferences.
Both Malaysian Airline System and Singapore Airlines have flown direct flights to Chiang
Mai, a boon to tourism in the north, said Sujin Sukumalpan, president of Thai Hotel
Association - Northern Chapter.
The association will organize similar road shows to Europe.
Meetings, incentive sales, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) is
expected to help increase occupancy rates greatly.
Meanwhile, new tourist attractions have been created to persuade longer stays in the
Singaporeans coming in as
computer IT mall business expands
More Singaporean traders are arriving to join
Thailands booming IT mall business and computing market, an example set by Pantip
Plaza. More Singaporean traders, facing slumps in the computer business at home, have
planned to expand into the Thai market, which is much larger and with a strong buying
power, said industry sources.
A Singaporean computer group has booked a 70-square meter area inside
IT Mall at Fortune Town on Ratchada Pisek, said the sources. Meanwhile, Pornchai
Uerchaitrakul, managing director of IT Development and Service Co, administrator of the
computer center at the Mall 3 shopping center, said he has been in negotiations with a
Singaporean group for quite some time for cooperation in computer trading.
Notes: Maboonkrong Center plans Baht 140 million budget for interior designing of its
newly established computer center. Seacon Square opened its computer mall last week. More
Singaporeans are around looking for partners.
Kingdom loses world telecom
conference to Hong Kong
Thailand has been the loser in bids to bring in the
International Telecommunication Union conference in October 2000, because of limits in
conference venues to cater between 40,000-50,000 participants. Red tape in government
agencies concerned is also to blame. Hong Kong, with its convention center controlled by
the government, has brought down conference costs by 40%.
Admitting to the loss, tourism minister Pitak Intaravittayanan said
Thailand is at a disadvantage in terms of having a venue for such a big conference, and
lacks of support from concerned agencies. The Governor of the Tourism Authority of
Thailand, meanwhile, said the Kingdom has lost the opportunity to earn billions from
representatives of 476 companies/organizations in 100 countries during the conference.
Hong Kong went all-out to win the chance to host the conference, hoping
to revive its slumping tourism industry. Room rates were also brought down by 40%.
ITU showed interest in organizing the conference in Bangkok, but the Queen Sirikit
National Convention Center would have needed to be expanded. BITEC (Bangkok International
Trade and Exhibition Center) scrapped their plan to invest in expanding the facility.
Toyota Thailand plans to hire
200-300 more workers
Toyota Motor (Thailand) has planned to employ between
200-300 more workers later this year, believing that car sales in the domestic market
could reach 200,000 units. To be more moderate, TMT chairman Yoshiaki Muramatsu said
combined sales will be certainly above 18,000 units, slightly more than earlier
estimations by other industry sources.
Toyota assembly lines are running full steam once again after sales
surged in the past two months. The company is about to launch the first completely
knocked-down medium-sized family car, Toyota Camry, to the market, Muramatsu said. It is
still possible for Thailand to become the Detroit of Asia as earlier
projected, he said.
TMT is also implementing a management package to help more than 230
dealers nationwide to manage sales and services.
TMT announced prices will be adjusted once every 3 months - in accordance with
competition in the market. TMT claims to have shouldered about 16% of costs for customers
during the months of crisis.
Middle Eastern tourists to light
up low season
Emirate Airlines said thousands of tourists from the
Middle East will be visiting Thailand from here to September, the period of traveling
season for those who seek a getaway from desert heat, which is also the traditional low
season of tourism in Thailand. More Middle Eastern tourists are changing their vacations
from European destinations to Thailand this year.
Emirate Airlines has worked hard to promote Thai tourism in the past
few months, and has produced brochures in Arabic consisting of information about Thailand
which they have been distributing in several countries.
As a result, all flights from the Middle East have been booked and between
14,000-18,000 tourists will be flying in from the UAE, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and
Iran. Sales promotions have been planned in Libya and Malta, said the airlines
manager for Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, Sunthorn Suree.
Copyright 1998 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.
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Updated by Chinnaporn Sangwanlek.