|DITP Deputy Director General Wittayakorn Maneenetr
It is part of a series of roadshows in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam to look for more customers from ASEAN countries. VOV reporter speaks to Thailand’s Department of International Trade Promotion Deputy Director General Wittayakorn Maneenetr about the fairs and his evaluation of the Vietnamese market.
Held every two years, this year’s Bangkok RHVAC and Bangkok E&E will be the 12th of its kind to take place in Bangkok. Could you tell us the scope of 2019 trade fairs?
The Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) of Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce has forecast that this year there will be 400 companies participating in BANGKOK RHVAC and BANGKOK E&E, resulting in 1,000 booths and about 14,000 visitors.
In previous trade fairs the Thai government invited customers from around the world, especially those from the Middle East. Thailand used to be a key refrigerator processor of world leading firms. But now there haven’t been many such factories in Thailand. In contrast, many world leading firms have moved to Vietnam which is holding the top position in the number in air-conditioning manufacturing.
At a press conference to introduce the two trade fairs in Hanoi in January this year, you said the events aim not only to sell products, but also introduce new technological products and innovations. Could you tell us more about the fairs’ targets?
Many new types of products will be showcased in this year’s events like agriculture drones. For example, drone detection machines can help farmers know and record which areas have insects, or when a rice field is attacked by insects.
The drone will perch on the disease-hit areas and spray pesticides. An agriculture drone machine can do lots of works ranging from sowing, fertilizing and caring for crops. This is the new technology Thailand has applied and is cooperating with China to manufacture.
Another example is the issue relating to dust. Last year, Thailand measured a high level of PM 2.5 particulate matter which is considered very unhealthy and led to calls for children, adults, and people with respiratory disease to avoid all outdoor exertion.
So, we have created air filters. I think Vietnam is in need of such machines because with many industrial factories Vietnam will face similar PM 2.5 issues as well.
What are other highlights of the 2019 Bangkok RHVAC and Bangkok E&E?
We will arrange separate meetings for domestic and foreign entrepreneurs. For example, when a business invites and negotiates with a foreign partner who might not have much time for activities at the trade fairs. In that case we’ll help the business set a work schedule within the framework of the events.
We’ll organize tours for entrepreneurs to the trade fairs to visit or cooperate with education organizations. In addition, any technological ideas awarded during the trade fairs can be put into operation immediately.
Currently, many start-up companies have developed environmentally-friendly technological applications, which can be used for daily activities like controlling household electricity use. Through such trade fairs, these start-up businesses can find partners to help their companies meet the increasing demand of consumers.
Thailand’s refrigeration, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning industry posts continuous growth, with export value reaching more than 5 billion USD. Last year Thailand was the world’s second largest air-con exporter after China. But Thailand is importing lots of electronic and refrigeration items from Vietnam. This means Vietnam is also considered one of the world’s key manufacturers. What do you think of the Vietnamese market’s potential?
The Vietnamese market is divided into two types in terms of exports. Half is the export goods from major firms of Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the US. Big companies like Samsung, LG, or Mitsubishi or aircraft and tram manufacturers invest in either Vietnam or Thailand to penetrate the ASEAN market and re-export to their countries.
The remaining half of exports is made by domestic manufacturers or those who have learned the technologies from foreigners. In the Vietnamese market, Thailand-branded products will not be sold at a price as high as other foreign brands. But we strongly believe that our products will be exported as soon as their quality is tested and ensured.
As a result, the percentage of success of Thai items in Vietnam will be 50 to 50. Vietnam itself is promoting self-production. So in the future if Thailand and Vietnam cooperate we can develop ASEAN’s brands to meet a huge market in which Vietnam has more than 90 million people and Thailand’s population is nearly 70 million.
What are the difficulties Thailand is facing when it exports these products to Vietnam?
That is brand name! We need time to build Thai brands in Vietnam. Vietnam has attracted many major investors who turn out diverse products. What makes me worried is fake goods. I have been in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia and seen fake goods there.
We need to provide information and knowledge on fake goods and brands to customers so that they realize that they are buying fake items at prices almost the same with genuine products.
Thank you for granting VOV the interview.