PB Air plans regional
PB Air, Thailand’s newest airline, said it has plans
to fly routes to destinations in Southeast Asia to compliment its regular
domestic routes. Three new 78-seat Fokker jet planes will help the company
expand its services into neighboring countries, said Chatchai Boonya-anant,
executive chairman, who is a former president of Thai Airways
PB Air launched the grand opening of its service on
Monday, November 29 at a ceremony chaired by Gen Prem Tinsulanonda,
chairman of the Privy Council and a former prime minister of Thailand. All
the airline’s executives, who are mainly veterans in the industry, were
introduced to the public for the first time, Chatchai said.
PB Air, owned by the family which brews Singha beer,
will fly new routes to gain a niche in the market. Flights to be started
this December 5 include: four times a week from Bangkok to Roi-et and
Krabi, twice a week to Ranong and Nakorn Ratchasima, and three times a
week to Chiang Mai via Khon Kaen. Quick chartered flights can be arranged
within 3 hours.
Regional routes to Bali, Penang, and Singapore, are planned for next
group plans expansion
Swarovsky (Thailand) is the latest company to begin
franchising in the Kingdom, believing that the recovery will help spur
sales in 2000. Announcing its business plan for next year, Kanokwan
Charoenpanont, managing director said new franchised branches will be set
up in Chiang Mai, Phuket, Nakorn Ratchasima and Pattaya.
Sales have increased by about 30% in 1999, Miss
Kanokwan said. “The shop will change a lot in 2000 as more consumer
products will be added to crystal items,” Miss Kanokwan said. A concept
store is also planned to be the flagship in franchising, after the first
branch - Crystal Symphony - was opened last July in the Peninsula.
More crystal watches and ornaments will be available at Crystal shops.
The company has also invested in developing an information technology
system. A Swarovsky Club Society was also set up to be a center for
collectors of crystal products in Thailand.
gears up for French products festival
About 30 leading French companies are expected to
participate in a trade exhibition organized by Sopexa at the World Trade
Center in the third week of this month. Products on display and for sale
include wines, dairy products, garments and cosmetics. The exhibition is
part of a campaign to double or triple French imports to Thailand next
year, especially after wine sales fell sharply this year.
The four-day ‘French Products 2000’ will be held
between December 16-19 and will introduce new French-made goods to the
Kingdom, especially those which have been scarce on the market. French
biscuits and potato chips will be among the highlights of the exhibition,
said Sopexa executive director, Sivaporn Vanichasenee.
Sopexa will increase its sales promotion budget from Baht 15 million to
Baht 20 million for 2000. More low-priced wines will be introduced to the
market, and French-grown apples and French-made cheese will be promoted
next year with special sales promotion events organized at supermarkets.
billion baht in foreign investment poured into Kingdom this year
US investors were the leading investors in Thailand
over the first 9 months of this year with Baht 27.858 billion in 41
projects, while the Japanese took second with Baht 27.036 billion.
However, Japanese investors were more interested in small and medium-sized
industries, and they invested in 168 investment projects, according to a
recent investment roundup by the office of the Board of Investment.
Investors from the Netherlands invested Baht 19.617
billion in only 13 projects, making up the third largest foreign
investment group in the Kingdom during the same period. Singaporean
investors, which focused on banking and finance sectors, invested Baht
6.125 billion in 46 projects. Singaporean banks have currently taken
control of two Thai banks.
Notes: Currently, Australia ranks at the bottom of the list. US
investors invested more than Baht 250 million in AIG Thailand, the
country’s largest life insurance group. Wall Street merchandisers
brought in more to buy loan assets. US-based Starwood bought about 51% of
Sansiri Property, while Conoco Oil dumped over US$100 million to expand
Jet refill stations and the Jiffy convenience store chain.
building software to go overseas
SiamWeb Co. said it is set to appoint retailers abroad
for its ‘Web Generator’ - a software package which enables laymen to
build a homepage by making just a few clicks with a mouse. SiamWeb has
spent the past 6 months researching and developing the software, aiming to
attract Web surfers who want to own their own homepages, especially for
According to SiamWeb Managing Director Supachai
Sukhanin, Web Generator is one of several software packages developed by
the company for Web businesses. All will be introduced to the local
market, as well as foreign markets in 2000, Supachai said. SiamWeb will
introduce new products, as it plans to list in the new stock market -
which would open the company to investors.
SiamWeb is also a Web-based service provider offering a wide-range of
e-commerce services to both individual and organizational investors. The
company’s Web site ‘Thaifreemail’ boasts a high hit rate.
restaurant chain returns home
The owners of Blue Eleven restaurants have decided to
set up their first branch in their homeland, after 19 years of success in
foreign countries, with about Baht 40 million in investment. The owner,
Blue Eleven International Co, also plans to set up a chef school to
produce Thai chefs for international restaurant chains, said Nurah
Sohmanee, managing director.
The company currently operates 7 branches of the
Thai-food restaurant, Blue Eleven, in European and Middle Eastern
countries. Mrs Nurah said the inspiration was that foreign tourists had
always looked for a Blue Eleven restaurant when they came to Bangkok, and
restaurant businesses and services have a great potential to grow in
Thailand, Mrs Nurah said.
Notes: Thai cuisine and recipes must be conserved. Thai chefs have been
in need in foreign countries, as Thai food has become highly popular. The
group has made about Baht 600 million in sales each year. There are Blue
Eleven restaurants in Brussels, London, Copenhagen, Paris, Dubai, New
Delhi, Beirut, and Malta.
likely to win ‘beer-for-whisky’ case
The big boss of the Suramaharas and Surathip groups,
Charoen Siriwadhanabhakdee, is likely to win his case after being accused
of dumping the beer market by bundling beer sales with whisky. A victory
by Charoen would be a setback to Boon Rawd Brewery Co, which filed the
market dumping suit with the country’s embryonic anti-trust committee.
Boon Rawd Brewery made the accusation that Charoen’s
beer-whisky bundle was against free-trade norm, and damaged sales of Boon
Rawd Brewery which brews Singha beer. The trade war between Chang
(Elephant) and Singha (Lion) beers will be the first anti-trust case, and
a historic one, for the anti-trust committee, which was born under the new
The bundle had made sales of Chang beer - by
Charoen’s Beer Thai 1999 Co - skyrocket, with Boon Rawd’s Singha beer
paying the price.
Committee sources said sales of Chang were not high enough to control
the market, while ‘dumping’ would mean, by law, that the market share
must exceed 33%.
Novotel to launch
‘Novoclean’ at BTS stations
Novotel Bangkok Hotel at Siam Square has come up with
an idea to extend its services into the terminals of the elevated electric
train system - to keep commuters’ clothes clean. Novoclean laundry
booths will be set up in at least five main stations of the Bangkok
Transit System: at Chitlom, Rajdamri, Sala Daeng, Thong Lor, and at Soi
Prompong where the Emporium is.
Chanpen Vimolchaiyajit, PR and marketing promotion
director of Novotel at Siam Square, said the laundry business is in line
with the management’s plan to expand to BTS terminals. Novoclean kiosks
target working people, foreign expats working in prime areas of Bangkok,
and people who do not have time to clean their outfits themselves, Ms
The new service will be available from 6:00 a.m. until
Novotel will invest 300,000 baht in each Novoclean booth, while rental
for a 9-squaremeter area is Baht 54,000 a month. The hotel hopes to open
up booths at other stations after one year.
producer to set up Thai office
Iomega, the leader in the data storage and back-up
equipment market, and producer of the industry-acclaimed Zip Drive, plans
to set up a Thai office in 2000, while appointing an IT veteran to develop
the portable drive market here. Iomega manager for South Asia, Richard
Lim, said the Thai market has the potential to grow as Internet services
and PC sales grow up rapidly.
Though Iomega is known for its portable data storage
Zip Drive, the company has several other high technology products,
including the Click PC Card - a chip card with a storage capacity up to 40
megabytes - for notebooks, and Zip CD-RW drive which offers solutions to
rewritable CD users.
A Hewlett Packard manager was appointed to handle sales
in the Thai market.
Several more products in other lines will be introduced.
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Updated by Boosiri Suansuk