BSH to Invest More in Thailand
Aug 28, 2006
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BSH Home Appliances Ltd said in a Reuters report that it will spend more than Bt100 million (U.S. $2.6 million) on improving its distribution network and launching hard-hitting marketing activities in Thailand this year.

"We are quite optimistic about the economic and political situation in Thailand, which will fully rebound in the middle of next year," managing director Andreas Meier said. "We expect the political uncertainty to settle down by the beginning of next year and people's confidence will recover. The government will next year allocate funds to new big projects, which will encourage an improvement in the economy and higher spending power of people," he said.
For example, the 45,000-unit market for front-loader washing machines was expected to be stagnant this year, but next year could see growth of 8-10 percent, he said. Siemens wants to do better than the overall market by increasing its sales of such machines by 25 percent next year.

"We have allocated more than Bt100 million this year to marketing communications, distribution expansion and promotional activities. We will be more aggressive this year but in the premium product segment," he said.

After 2001, when the company set up a local factory in the Kabin Buri district of Prachin Buri, Thailand was appointed by BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgerate GmbH as the production hub for its front-loader washing machines for exports to the whole of Southeast Asia as well as Australia and New Zealand.

The home appliance market in Thailand is fragmented, Mr. Meier said. For example, 90 percent of washing machines are top-loading models. However, front-loader units offer the advantages of less energy and water consumption.
The company has 30 percent of the front-loader washing machine market, second only to Electrolux.

"BSH in Thailand was founded five years ago and during the past two years, we have seen more than 20-percent growth each year. Despite the economic slowdown, we still expect the same growth for this and next year," Mr. Meier said.
The company is now the Number 1 player in the premium segment of built-in kitchen appliances.
"Our strategy is not the low-end market," he said.

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