Issue 65

A newly-established trade center in Guangdong is increasing new business opportunities for Thai exporters looking to penetrate the Chinese market.

China’s huge market is growing both online and offline, with Goldman Sachs expecting the country’s FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) market to reach US$2 trillion in 2020. To boost exports to China, the Thai government is working with private companies to create new sales channels for Thai brands.

With this goal, the Thailand Smart Trade Center (TSTC) was formally launched on May 1 after opening its doors to Thai exporters and Chinese buyers in January. The center is a collaboration between the public and private sector including the DITP, the Ministry of Commerce (MoC), the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Thai Airways, Kasikorn Bank and Ciphona Group.

Situated in Shunde District, Foshan, Guangdong, China, TSTC is separated into different zones such as food, cosmetics, agricultural products, furniture and special exhibitions.
“TSTC is not a distributor, instead we are a trade center where we assist Thai exporters to enter the Chinese market with a focus on increasing B2B sales channels and creating business opportunities for Thai exporters both online and offline,” says Yongkit Thamphatanaporn, executive director of TSTC.

The center provides a platform for Thai exporters to display their products so that Chinese buyers can purchase small quantities before deciding whether to place larger orders. Moreover, TSTC plays an important role in connecting Thai exporters to hypermarkets and supermarkets in China, and also with Chinese distributors, wholesalers and traders through business matching activities.

“The key factors to success, when entering China, are that exporters should have a warehouse with ready to ship products, a logistics team that can deliver products to buyers in a timely manner, and a Chinese-speaking customer service team,” says Thamphatanaporn.

Moreover, with online penetration in China rising rapidly from 5% to 13% last year, according to Goldman Sach, Thai exporters should also look to online channels.

In line with the MoC’s policy of transforming SMEs into smart enterprises thus increasing their competitiveness on global markets, one of TSTC’s highlights is the Thailand Trust Mark, or T/Mark, exhibition, which showcases internationally recognised Thai brands. Considered ‘Thai Brand Heroes’ by the MoC, TSTC has a special area for these brands such as Panpuri, Naraya, and Blue Elephant. More than 30 other T/mark-awarded Thai brands ranging from consumer goods and houseware to home décor and food are also featured in this zone.
Thamphatanaporn believes the future of Thai exports to China is becoming brighter with the aid of TSTC.

“Currently we’re focusing on creating more awareness for the center and bringing in buyers for TSTC, such as department stores in China. One of the most popular products now is freeze-dried fruit,” he says.

The Thailand Smart Trade Center (TSTC) is located at 38 Kaka Plaza, Nanguo XI Road, Daliang, Shunde District, Foshan, Guangdong, China.

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Words by Pimsirinuch Borsub