Auto parts manufacturer, TRW, have now officially opened their two new plants on the Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate at Rayong. The officiating at the opening was carried out by HE Richard E Hecklinger, the US Ambassador to Thailand, Staporn Kavitanon, the Secretary General of the BOI and David Cote, president and chief operating officer of TRW Inc.
From Left, The US Ambassador, HE Richard E. Hecklinger, Staporn Kavitanon (BOI) and David Cote, President TRW Inc cut the ribbon
Heralding a combined investment of almost 13 million USD, the American based company believes the improving market in the automotive business will see them expand with it.
The new factories will supply chassis modules for the new Eastern Seaboard General Motors plant that produces the Chevrolet Zafira people mover, with the second plant producing steering linkages and ball joints for the neighbouring Auto Alliance Thailand manufacturing plant that produces the Ford and Mazda pick-ups.
Steve Syzdek, customer development director ASEAN, China and Korea said, “This business signifies General Motor’s confidence in TRW’s ability to meet the growing demand for their product worldwide. We have demonstrated our commitment to our customers by these investments.”
There are 10,000 units of new Kia cars now in Thailand, adding to about 5,000 older units, well on the way to make the Kingdom the marketing hub for the Korean-brand auto maker in Southeast Asia. Korean parent company, Kia Motor, has determined to win the regional market and a number of marketing specialists have already been sent to this region.
According to Boonrit Pongmekin, general manager of Yontrakit Kia Motor Co, the target of 7,000-8,000 Carnival MPVs to be sold each month is possible. However Boonrit accepted that it is still difficult to start anew after the image of Kia was tainted with unreliability.
MPV models are the best chance for Kia Motor as multipurpose cars are becoming very popular here, said Boonrit. A Kia Carnival sells for 1.46 million Baht, with a 2.4-liter engine.
The website of the Board of Investment of Thailand (www.boi.go.th)ranked#5 in the world (#1 in ASEAN) in Corporate Location magazine’s third annual review of national and state economic development agency websites.
The review of the BOI site praised the availability of news and information affecting the investment environment in Thailand. The reviewer remarked that the “links to both domestic and international associations are staggering in their comprehension,” and cited the availability of information about project approvals thought the site.
The review noted that “The Doing Business overview and separate links cover every possible concern of foreign investors,” and observed that “the site has five language options. On top of all this, statistics are current and comprehensive.” Corporate Location, the world’s leading publication on foreign direct investment, observed that sites that rank highest combine useful content, easy-to-use interactive links, and eye-pleasing graphics.
The top investment agency site in the world, according to Corporate Location, was South Korea, followed by Lithuania, Scotland, China, and Thailand.
In addition to ranking number five in the world, Thailand topped the rankings in ASEAN. Indonesia ranked second in ASEAN, some nine spots behind at #14, followed by Malaysia (#20), and Singapore (#30).
For further information about the Board of Investment website, please contact the Investment Services Center at 537-8111, extension 1101-1108, or send an e-mail to email@example.com
Property developers in Chiang Mai are reviving their construction projects, which stalled two years ago during the economic crisis. Many have formed joint ventures with Japanese groups to prepare for housands of elderly Japanese who are retiring abroad. The Japanese government has urged senior citizens to move out of the country in order to reduce consumption of resources and services in the homeland, said Vatchara Tantranont, of Suthep Property Co, owner of Rattanarak Land, and Hillside Plaza. The company has joined with Japanese-owned OLS (Thailand) to find Japanese customers for the development projects.
It would cost a Japanese retiree only 2 million Baht for 20 years of residence in Chiang Mai, where the weather and environment are very friendly. Each year, about 400,000 Japanese have been visiting the northern tourist resort city, and the numbers have increased in recent months. The city administration has also won 1.5 billion Baht in loans from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation to fund city development projects.
All the 202 Starmart convenienece stores will get a big boost next month as Caltex (Thailand) plans to increase hard sales with promotions. Combined sales from the stores has grown steadily while sales of oils were actually falling particularly when oil prices skyrocketed, said Pornchai Sriprapai, executive director for retailing, Caltex (Thailand) Co. Besides sales promotions, employees of Starmarts were being trained improve service. Another 20 Starmart stores would also get facelifts to change the image. Profit margin in selling oil was only 2% while that from selling consumer products in Starmart stores was as high as 20%-25%, he said. Starmart sales increased 15%-16% in the first half this year while that in the whole market was only 6%-7%. Only 67 of the 202 stores are owned by Caltex (Thailand), while the rest were franchised. There are currently 552 Caltex service stations nationwide.
The Petroleum Authority of Thailand has shelved the “Joy” food shop chain project after experimenting for 6 months and finding it is not financially viable. The state oil company has instead turned to consider buying into the AM/PM convenience stores amidst reports that the Ucom group are selling out.
The first two pilot food centres were opened last November, on both sides of the rest areas on the Bangkok-Chonburi motor way, but PTT has found that sales did not meet the target. PTT had planned to open up Joy food centres in its petrol stations nationwide, to be an alternative to the AM/PM stores in which PTT holds a small portion of shares. PTT executives said negotiations are under way with WorldPhone Shop, a Ucom unit which owns the majority of AM/PM convenience stores in Thailand.
Copyright 2000 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.