Issue 24

Horizon Thailand speaks to the President of the Thai-Canadian Chamber of Commerce (TCCC) about business opportunities for Canadian investors in Thailand.

What are the main industries Canada has brought to Thailand?
Canada is a smaller trading partner with Thailand however recorded Canada-Thailand trade was about CAD 3.4 billion in 2012. Due to several factors, including the global slowdown, in 2013 trade dropped to approximately CAD 2.4 billion. Figures for 2014 are not yet finalised but the first nine months showed a modest increase. The goods Canada does send to Thailand are wood pulp, paper, fertilisers, precious stones and metals, mechanical and electrical products, cereals and other Canadian products. Canadians in Thailand have been successful in several sectors including manufacturing, education, consulting, seafood exports, insurance, media, travel/leisure and trade facilitation.

How does the TCCC promote business and trade between Canada and Thailand?
The TCCC actively works with both the Canadian Embassy and private business organisations such as the Canada ASEAN Business Council, the Board of Trade of Thailand and the BOI. We also support initiatives such as the recent Thai Board of Trade mission to Vancouver and Toronto. The TCCC accompanied the delegates to Canada and some of our members participated as well.

Issue 23

Increased purchasing power has contributed to the expansion of the furniture market and has provided global trade opportunities for Thai entrepreneurs. Horizon Thailand meets the managing director of O.K. Wood Product Co Ltd to discuss the company’s long-term marketing plans.

When was the company founded and what does it specialise in?
The company was established in 1989. We specialise in manufacturing solid teak wood furniture, teak outdoor and indoor furniture, marine floors and high-tech insulation floors.

Who are your main customers?
Our products are exported to many countries, including Denmark, the USA, Italy, France and Japan. This year, we are planning to expand our exports to Australia.

What is the company’s mission?
We strive to exceed our customers' expectations by offering products that feature unique designs, qualified craftsmanship and the finest materials. In addition, we ensure that our manufacturing processes and business practices are environmentally-friendly.

What contributes to the success of your business?
We believe that know-how of solid wood construction, and ensuring that products meet our customers’ needs are key factors to our success. Apart from these, we also make sure that the products have the required durability, and we invest in research, development and innovation in order to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Issue 21

Horizon Thailand meets with the founder of Pilantha Jewellery and accessories Chutapat Nivasratana, winner of the Prime Minister Award 2014 and DEmark Award 2014. She talks about the beauty of Thai jewellery and what makes it stand out from competitors.



How did you get into the jewellery business?

Making jewellery has been my hobby for a very long time. I used to get a lot of compliments about the designs and people used to ask where I got them from and that’s how I began to develop my designs and started my own business.

What’s the source of inspiration for Pilantha Jewellery?

Personally, I admire and appreciate the beauty of Thai arts, which has inspired me to create jewellery that would boast such beauty and also as a way to support the preservation of Thai arts and culture.

What does Pilantha specialise in?

We specialise in manufacturing silver and brass jewellery, as well as jewellery made from a variety of materials. We have experts in design and our products have won several awards, which guarantee that we are specialised in what we offer to our customers.

How do you differentiate your products from competitors?

Uniqueness is the key. Pilantha jewellery and accessories are distinctively designed by incorporating a Thai style into the designs, which set Pilantha apart from the competitors.

Issue 22

The Thai-Italian Chamber of Commerce helps to develop business and trade between Thailand and Italy. Horizon Thailand speaks with its President Giacomo Mauri about opportunities for Italian investment in Thailand.

What benefits does the Thai-Italian Chamber of Commerce (TICC) offer its members?
The main benefit is simply the ability to work together and exchange ideas and do things together that would benefit many companies. For example, if there’s an issue with restrictions on imports or taxation that affects all companies in Italy or here in Thailand then it’s possible to discuss and take action on it. Sometimes members of companies that are interested in working together might meet through one of our functions. We also offer assistance such as business to business contacts for companies who are interested in trade with companies in Italy or vice versa. Our members are not a majority Italian, but they include Thais and other nationalities that run companies here such as French, Germans, etc.

How does the TICC promote trade between Italy and Thailand?
We help by offering information, advice and assistance. We supplement [the Italian Embassy and the Italian Trade Agency] because we are not a government agency. We do whatever is of interest to our members. We organize things for Thai companies such as introducing them to Expo, a big event in Milan. We help them to learn about it and book spaces there for their products. We help them map their adventure in Italy and make some business connections there. When there are big fairs in Thailand we also help companies from Italy to participate.

Issue 20

Founded in 2010, PLAYN Eyewear produces stylish eyewear in Thailand with German expertise. Yvonne Liang speaks with co-founder and Managing Director Jonas Jacquet to find out more about the successful business.

Why did you decide to open Playn Eyewear in Thailand?
Our co-founders Denis Beyer and Jonas Koblin have already been active in the Thai eyewear market since 2003, starting with distribution of other eyewear brands and then with Niche Nation, a premium eyewear store in Thonglor. From there it was almost a natural step to start our own eyewear brand with our own designs here in Thailand.
Being based in Thailand has a very practical advantage for us. Thailand is one of the leading manufacturers of premium lenses with labs from all major French, German and Japanese brands. It is a great fit as we not only design frames but we also develop our own hand-tinted sun lens colors together with a premium Lens Lab just outside of Bangkok. As such we are closely interacting with our lens supplier, something that we couldn’t do if we were based far away.
Last but not least, the final assembly of frames and lenses also takes place at the lab here before they are shipped to other countries or sold in the Thai market.

Why did you choose to launch in Thailand?
Most people don’t know this, but the Thai eyewear market is actually quite large. You will see more people in Bangkok wearing sunglasses than for example in Singapore – even though Singapore doesn’t get less sun. Having a deep home market is of course an advantage for any company in any business field. In addition to the local customers we are also selling to expats and tourists here, which allows us to test how consumers from other countries react to our products without having to leave our home base. It’s our window to the world so to say.