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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs           5   August  2011

Toshiba makes Thailand AEC export center

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Japan’s Toshiba Corporation will make its Thai unit a center for manufacturing and exporting home appliances to Asean to benefit from the Asean Economic Community (AEC) to take effect in 2015.

"Thailand is ready to be an export hub for Toshiba home appliances because we have a strong manufacturing base here," said Yukiharu Adachi, the president of Toshiba (Thailand).

Toshiba Thailand has 10 subsidiaries locally for both manufacturing and component supply and it is confident it can take a leading role in the Asean market.

Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, the chairperson of Toshiba (Thailand), said sales in fiscal 2010 ending on March 31 increased 15 percent from the year before to 7.4 billion baht, about 5 percent higher than its earlier projection.

Sales continued to grow despite the country's political turmoil last year because the company adjusted its distribution network, appointed more dealers and focused on bulk sales to property projects.

"Demand for electrical appliances upcountry has continued to grow over the past few years. We have tried to reach untapped customers in the small provinces," she said.

In addition, Toshiba regularly introduces new products to the market.

As sales momentum continued in the first quarter of its 2011 fiscal year starting from April 1, the company expects sales this year to grow by 27 percent to 9.4 billion baht, a record high.

IT products will contribute 30 percent of total sales, followed by refrigerators at 25 percent, washing machines 10 percent and other product lines the rest. The company will increase its marketing budget by 25 percent to 500 million baht.

Yesterday it launched the Super Direct Drive Inverter washing machine. It aims for new product models to increase sales of Toshiba washing machines in Thailand to 150,000 units by the end of this year.

Mrs. Kobkarn said the new government's minimum wage pledge of 300 baht a day would not immediately affect the company's operations because wages are a small proportion of total costs. But small and medium-sized companies supplying parts to Toshiba could be affected.
"Toshiba has been trying to buy parts from Thai suppliers. But when prices of local content rise to a level we can't afford, we may shift to imports instead," she said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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