A billionaire kin who
Vicha Tejapaiboon chooses his own way. Although his
family is known as the country’s whisky giant, and some members have
been banking tycoons, Vicha chooses to be as free as a bird, working as a
reporter and a publisher. His idea is to be the owner of Thailand’s ‘Yellow
The free publication, which carries classified
advertisements, has been doing well in the market. Although the idea about
the free publication is not new, this is the first time in the Kingdom.
Vicha said he got the idea when he was studying broadcasting journalism in
The whole setting is that the free publication is designed to tap into
the boom of sales of second-hand items. An 800-word story about Yellow
Paper and profile of Vicha can be expected from this special column.
Nearly 1,000 service
stations to be closed
Although several hundred gas stations have already been
closed over the past two years during the economic crisis, nearly one
thousand more are likely to follow. Industry sources said increased
competition in the oil retail market through 2,000 will force unprofitable
service stations to close down. Owners of the stations under the Petroleum
Authority of Thailand are likely to suffer the most.
PTT sources said up to 300 of about 1,500 gas stations
face closure this year, in order to bring down the total number to about
1,200. Shell of Thailand is to close about 100 of its 800 gas stations,
while Caltex plans to close 200 of currently 500 stations. Esso (Thailand)
was to shut down 400 of its existing 900 stations, they said.
There will also be new service stations in prospective areas, and many
stations in the same areas will be merged. PTT also plans to close some
oil depots in the provinces, while a number will be merged. PTT plans to
spend up to Baht 1 billion to spruce up new service stations between 2000
PC & peripheral
sales will continue to grow in 2000
Sales of computer peripherals steadily grew in 1999 as
PC sales shot up, and experts predict a continued growth this year. The
local PC market changed rapidly last year with a total of 300,600 units
sold, up from 174,000 units in 1998. The market also saw sales of inkjet
printers rise to 134,000 units last year, despite a rise in sales of laser
Business users made up 55% of the market and the ratio
is likely to rise to 58% this year, while the number of home users, which
constituted 45% in 1999, is likely to drop to around 42%. Lower-market PCs
made up 81% of PC sales in 1998 but the ratio fell steeply to only 54% in
1999, against a sharp increase in upper-market PC sales - from 9% in 1998
to 36% in 1999.
The IT tax cut is expected to change sales ratios of PCs and
peripherals this year. The local IT market also witnessed an increase in
sales of other related software and cards in 1999. Changes were also made
to PC education and training markets which last year earned about Baht 1
likely to heat up as new players join local auto market
Vehicle sales will continue to increase this year
despite fierce competition as new car makers are set to start production
lines in Thailand. The abolishment of the local content rule by the
government will be a factor to help spur sales growth, despite price
increases in the market, said Ninnart Chitheeraponyo, vice executive
chairman of Toyota Motor (Thailand).
Competition will heat up when General Motors
(Thailand), BMW (Thailand), and DaimlerChrysler (Thailand) start
production of new cars here later this year. Other car makers have also
planned to start producing Audi and Volkswagen cars in the Kingdom this
year. Direct selling, led by distributors of super cars - namely Porsche
and Ferrari - would be introduced more into the auto market, Ninnart said.
The market also saw Primus Leasing (Thailand), which is fully owned by
Ford Motor Co., play a leading role in the car leasing market in 1999.
More international leasing units are likely to join the market this year.
Car prices increased by 15% last year and are expected to rise further
below IMF prediction
The Ministry of Commerce released figures showing the
inflation rate in December grew only 0.7% compared to what it was a year
ago, while the whole year rate changed only 0.3%, which was lower than the
0.5% to 1% levels predicted by the International Monetary Fund. The
prediction by the ministry for this year’s inflation is 2.5%, as no
price pressure in the market is expected.
"The 0.3% ‘mild’ rate is impressive and
signals a stabilized economy," said Suchai Chaovisit,
director-general of internal trade department. The rate, when compared to
those of neighboring countries, would mean that Thai-made products could
be more competitive in world market, Suchai said. Inflation rates in
Malaysia and Indonesia rose 1.6% over the past 11 months last year, while
that of the Philippines topped 3.9% in the same period, he said.
All local industries in the economy are ready to go full steam ahead
this year after delays in late months last year. Inflation rates would
vary to export surge.
Stores expand to
tap into ‘Next Generation’
Panasonic sales increased incredibly after Amita Tata
Young became their presenter in their latest series of commercials. Sales
of hand sets in digital GSM by Advance Info Service Plc got the same
response from the market when Nicole Terio said hello from a safari in
South Africa to her dad in Bangkok a couple of years ago.
Those were not accidental, but a show of force by one
of the most powerful consumer groups - the Generation Next, or teens.
Sales of Panasonic audio-visual devices increased by 33.12% from 121,000
units to 164,000 units between July and October last year, since Tata
Young made the show, said M Ikesaki, sales director of Siew-National Co.
Meanwhile, continuing the trend, Central Plaza is to expand its ‘Junction
X’ corner from Lad Prow to other branches. Centre Point, which is one of
the most dazzling fashion centers for teenagers, is now Bangkok’s
Shinjuku. Leading music houses have witnessed the rise of the new
IT stores gear up
to compete for Baht 4 billion market
IT City, the country’s largest super store for
information technology products, has plans to open two more branches this
year. IT City believes that demand is still very high, as combined sales
in this local IT market are expected to rise to around Baht 4 billion this
year. Ekkachai Sirijirapattana, executive director of IT City Co., said
the new branches would be in suburban areas.
IT City expects sales to increase to Baht 850 million
in 2000, up 28% from Baht 660 million in 1999, Ekkachai said. IT City
currently runs two IT stores at Pantip Plaza, and at Tawanna Tower.
Competition is likely to heat up this year as there would be new players
entering into this local market, Ekkachai said.
The market was shaken by a Singaporean IT trade chain which came to the
Kingdom late last year. The Challenger IT store announced its policy to
compete with ‘lowest prices’; however, demand in the market is still
very high. IT City would maintain its image as the most reliable source of
brand name products.
redundancy expected this year
The new millennium may see thousands more employees in
the country’s banking sector being laid off, as nearly 10,000 were
dismissed in 1999. Bangkok Metropolitan bank and Siam City Bank will lead
the new wave of layoffs, as the two government-owned banks will be sold to
The government’s Krung Thai Bank is the champion as
it plans to offload 6,000 of nearly 20,000 employees between late 1999 and
2000. Only 2,327 KTB workers joined the early retirement program at the
end of the year, said a KTB source.
Thai Farmers Bank and Bank of Ayudhaya have been the second and third
to lead in redundancy, with 1,350 and 1,200 employees laid off,
Powel plans to
produce budget PCs
Powel Computer Co., one of the leaders in the local
brand PC market, said it has plans to produce low-price series PCs to
compete in the lower price market. The new products, the names of which
have yet to be decided on, would be sold mainly through distribution
channels to cut costs.
The new tax structure on IT items under the Information
Technology Agreement by the World Trade Organization is not likely to
affect local brand PCs in the market, as all parts to be used will benefit
from the zero rate tax, said Kasin Aramseriwong, managing director.
Powel Computer has applied for investment promotion privileges from the
office of the Board of Investment, as Powel plans to increase PC exports
this year. The second brand name would help create a new balance against
competitors in this local market.
Copyright 1999 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.
370/7-8 Pattaya Second Road, Pattaya City, Chonburi 20260, Thailand
Tel.66-38 411 240-1, 413 240-1, Fax:66-38 427 596; e-mail: [email protected]
Chinnaporn Sangwanlek, assisted by Boonsiri Suansuk.