Tuesday, August 2, 2016
ASEAN - Lessons on doing business in Asean
EXECUTIVES of major Thai companies with a presence in other Asean countries yesterday shared their views and the lessons they have learned from doing business in the region.
Banpu director Chanin Vongkusolkit said companies must carefully study the investment rules of Asean countries.
If possible, they should seek collaboration with big Thai companies in the markets they want to operate in, he said. They should also seek ways to contribute to the communities they will locate to.
Chanin made these observations at a "Thailand Overseas Investment Forum" co-hosted by the Board of Investment (BOI) and consulting firm Bolliger & Company (Thailand).
Indonesia is the main overseas revenue contributor to Banpu.
Roongchat Boonyarat, executive director of juice and canned-fruit producer Malee Group, said picking the right partner was one key to success.
She said that when selecting a foreign business partner, a company must find out a lot about it first, such as its ethics and its ways of doing businesses. Malee puts great weight on these factors when considering a partnership.
She added that companies should not set up businesses overseas for the sole purpose of saving export costs to those markets.
They might find later that the raw materials in those countries are costlier than in Thailand.
Malee made its first move into the Asean market last year by establishing a joint venture with Monde Nissin Corporation of the Philippines to offer its product lines to Filipino consumers.
Malee has been responsible for product development and manufacturing, which are its key strengths, while Monde Nissin has handled marketing, sales, distribution and logistics in the Philippines.
Roongchat said many Filipinos were open-minded about trying foreign products.
Sompop Mongkolpitaksuk, chief operating officer of Charoen Pokphand Foods, said Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and the Philippines were the rising-star markets, thanks to their rising purchasing power.
Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos still need investment to upgrade their production of agricultural products to cater to rising demand for local consumers and for export.
If Thai companies are ready to enter this agricultural business arena, they should do so now. If they are too late, they will lose the opportunity to Chinese companies, Sompop warned.
Before entering those three countries, companies should make sure they have their own innovations and technologies to ensure their cost competitiveness, and ensure they have management with the skills to grow their businesses there.
Meanwhile, the BOI plans to open offices in Yangon and Hanoi next year and one in Jakarta in 2018.