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Honda projects lower motorcycle sales for 2019

The Thaiger

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Honda projects lower motorcycle sales for 2019 | The Thaiger

Honda Motor Company, the manufacturer of nearly 80% of Thailand’s motorcycles, is projecting another annual loss this year.

New motorcycle sales this year are forecast to drop nearly 4% year on year to 1.72 million units. The forecast is unchanged from its January projection.

The baht’s appreciation against the US dollar is leading to fluctuations in exports and lower prices in agricultural products. This in turn results in declining purchasing power for farmers, a large proportion of buyers of new motorcycles in Thailand.

The local company, which holds an 80% share of Southeast Asia’s third-largest motorcycle market, smaller only than Indonesia and Vietnam, saw the first drop in annual sales in three years in 2018 to 1.4 million units, down 1.4% from the previous year.

Despite the challenges, along with uncertainty from the March 24 election, the Thai manufacturing unit of the world’s largest motorcycle maker posted a 0.7% year-on-year sales increase in the family-use segment in the first two months of this year to 154,000 units.

But it suffered a 22.5% plunge in sales in the sport model segment to 31,000 units over the same period, according to the Bangkok Post.

Agricultural product pricing and farm incomes are showing no clear improvement, with prices of some significant products like palm oil and rubber falling, according to the latest report from the Office of Agricultural Economics.



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Rock Thailand, Japanese start-ups eye Thai businesses

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Rock Thailand, Japanese start-ups eye Thai businesses | The Thaiger

Noting Thailand as the new south east Asian regional innovation hub, the Japanese Embassy in Bangkok, in collaboration with Thailand’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, CP Group and True Corporation, launched Rock Thailand, a start-up incubation project.

Rock Thailand is being used to open a stage for 10 top technology start-ups from Japan to present their business models to 20 key Thai enterprises and take part in its networking session.

Japanese ambassador to Thailand, Shiro Sadoshima, said the Rock Thailand event is being held as part of Japan’s Open-Innovation Columbus project to support Japanese start-ups in the areas of innovation and knowledge exchange. The project began with the initiation of talks between leading Thai enterprises and Japanese start-ups.

Japan aims to promote cooperation between its start-ups and the Thai business community, said Pichet Durongkaveroj, minister of Digital Economy and Society, adding that this is what has led to the Open Innovation Columbus Project.

This is in line with the government’s Thailand 4.0 policy, which aims to drive the economy through innovations and digital transformation, including the Smart City project and development of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

Thailand is being seen as the new innovation hub of the region outside Japan – both in terms of trade and investment. Under the regime, small and medium enterprises stand to benefit from the use of Internet of Things (IoT) technology to connect businesses in Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and the global market.

Suphachai Chearavanont, CEO of CP Group, said the corporation attaches importance to the nation’s digital transformation.

“Our vision is not just for our group of companies, but for Thailand as a whole. Thailand needs to invest in research and development for start-up businesses and their ecosystem.

“The collaboration with the Embassy of Japan and the Digital Economy and Society Ministry enables us to exchange views with successful Japanese start-ups. We believe the power of leading start-ups from Japan will support us in developing innovations and advanced technologies and escalate the country to its Thailand 4.0 vision,” he said.

The event was co-hosted by CP Group and True.

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King Power’s duty free monopoly under review

The Thaiger & The Nation

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King Power’s duty free monopoly under review | The Thaiger

King Power Duty Free’s monopoly of duty free concessions at some of Thailand’s busiest airports may be coming to an end.

The Thai PM has warned against the “monopolisation” of the country’s airport duty free sector ordering a review of the auctioning process that could threaten the multi-billion-dollar empire of current concession holder King Power.

Thailand expects to welcome over 40 million foreign visitors this year, mostly through its airports which rake in an estimated US$1.9 billion a year in duty free sales.

Airports of Thailand (AoT) awarded King Power the sole concession back in 2006 but is set to expire in September 2020. AoT is a state-run enterprise.

King Power was founded by Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the tycoon who made billions from duty free stores and invested in everything from hotels, property and, famously, the Leicester City football club. His helicopter crashed outside the club’s home ground in October last year. According to Forbes Magazine, Vichai had handed his empire to his youngest son Aiyawatt. At his death the company was valued around US$5.8 billion,

The new contract for duty-free sales, AoT says, will be managed by a single company with a proven track record of experience in the sector, creating fears of a prolonged monopoly.

But PM Prayut Chan-O-Cha has stepped in saying the government has received complaints from interested parties “on the issue of monopolisation”. He assigned an urgent review of the bidding to find a “suitable process to be fair”.

Thailand’s Mall Group and shopping empire Central Group are eyeing entry into duty-free while South Korean giant Lotte is also wanting to bid for the valuable concession.

Last year, a Thai court rejected an attempt to sue King Power for hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid revenue to the airport authority.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Bangkok

Bangkok now in the Top 10 list for most expensive Asian locations for expats

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Bangkok now in the Top 10 list for most expensive Asian locations for expats | The Thaiger

Bangkok has, for the first time, made it into the list of Asia’s top 10 most expensive locations for expats.

A rise in average rental prices this year caused by an influx of expats from China and an increase in tourism traffic have hit expats and put the city in 10th place on the annual list, with an average US$3,880 (122,757 baht) monthly rental cost for an unfurnished three-bedroom apartment.

The finding are from ECA International, a leading provider of knowledge, information and software for the management and assignment of employees around the world.

“Increases in rents reflect a continuation in foreign investment in Thailand. Thailand remains a popular regional destination for many multinational corporations,” said Lee Quane, regional director for Asia at ECA International.

“However, they have been joined by newly globalising companies from China, which has led to a higher demand for rental accommodation from an expatriate population that typically rents in a relatively small geographical area in central Bangkok.

“Furthermore, the growth in tourism in Bangkok has also had an impact on rental prices, given the increase in the number of properties being converted from long-term to short-term rental to cater to this demand.”

Rental prices for expats in Singapore have dropped by 1.3% to an average of US$4,215 (130,509 baht) per month.

Singapore remains in Asia’s top 10 most expensive locations for expatriate rents, and is in the top 25 most expensive locations for expats rents globally.

Hong Kong is the most expensive location in the world, with an average monthly rental cost of US $10,929 (345,777 baht).

Globally, New York and Tokyo are in second and third place respectively.

SOURCE: The Nation

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