Thailand hopes for rice export rebound in Hong Kong


HONG KONG, Nov 30 – Thailand today signed agreements to export 100,000 tonnes of Hom Mali (fragrant) rice worth Bt33 billion to Hong Kong in an apparent attempt to salvage its dipping market share in the Chinese special administrative region. 

Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom witnessed the signing of nine memorandums of understanding to export Thai Hom Mali rice to Hong Kong at an average price of US$1,100 per tonne.

He said Thailand will specially focus on promoting Thai rice in the Hong Kong market after losing the leading export position to Vietnam in the last two years. Thailand’s exports to Hong Kong of 200,000 tonnes a year has declined to 160,000-170,000 tonnes.

Citing overseas marketing promotion as its priority, Mr Boonsong said the government has allocated a budget to stimulate retail sales which represent 50 per cent of the total rice market. Promotions at major supermarkets and distribution of rice samples are some of the marketing measures being considered.

The commerce minister expressed confidence that the government’s marketing activities will revive Thailand’s rice exports to Hong Kong by 60,000-70,000 tonnes, after which marketing campaigns will be launched in Singapore.

Vuthipol Wanglee, deputy manager of Chaithip Co—one of Thailand’s major rice exporters, said the government will need to focus on marketing promotion and activities if it wants to retain the present export prices, adding that Thailand’s market share in Hong Kong has fallen from 90 per cent to 50 per cent.

Cambodia has absorbed Thailand’s lost share of fragrant rice sales in the Hong Kong market, he said.