Thursday, August 9, 2007

Sanyo turns Thai plant into world base

B466m injected to upgrade machinery


Sanyo Electric Corporation Limited is investing 466 million baht to upgrade its existing factory in Chachoengsao to become Sanyo's first world production base outside Japan. The investment is for the installation of new machinery and upgrade for the manufacturing of a wider range of products, including freezers and coolers for professional use for Sanyo's operations in China and Japan, said Tsutomu Morimoto, managing director of Sanyo (Thailand) Co.

The operation in Chachoengsao is run by Sanyo Commercial Solutions (Thailand) Co, which was established after the parent company in Japan late last year sold its Thai refrigerator unit to Haier Group Corp, China's biggest home-appliance manufacturer.

''Our parent firm sold its 87% stake in Sanyo Universal in Thailand to Haier because it had too limited resources for our diversified products. The refrigerator market worldwide had also become more competitive,'' he said.

Morimoto: Sanyo still optimistic

According to Mr Morimoto, products manufactured at the Chachoensao plant would be exported to various markets such as Asia, Europe and the Middle East. They will also be sold locally to modern retailers, bakeries and coffee shops, especially professional refrigeration systems.

In line with its parent company's global policy, Sanyo Thailand will shift its focus to three main business groups: digital products (projectors, digital cameras, movie and CCTV systems); professional products (refrigerating systems); and consumer electrical appliances (washing machines and air purifiers). This is different from the past, when consumer electrical appliances contributed up to 70% of total sales.

The company aims to split total sales equally among the three business groups by 2009.

Mr Morimoto said the parent company was still optimistic about investing in Thailand even though the economic environment lately had not been so favourable, because the country had strong fundamentals and capable workers.

The company will allocate about 5% of its total turnover to advertising and promotional campaigns each year.

Sales of Sanyo Thailand are expected to reach 2.1 billion baht this year.

With the new business strategy, the company expects its overall sales in 2009 to increase by 50% to three billion baht.

Kazuhisa Miike, assistant director of Sanyo (Thailand) Co, yesterday introduced the Sanyo Xacti, the world's first waterproof digital movie camera that fits different lifestyles.

With the new product, Sanyo expects its digital-camera market share to grow to 5% of the total demand of 900,000 camera units, up from 2-3% this year.

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