launches ‘drink for life’
Thailand’s famous country music artist, Yuenyong Opakul,
aka Ad Carabao recently announced the launch of his first serious business
Working alongside Tawandaeng Brew House owner Sathien
Setthasit, the superstar performer has created a new energy drink called
CarabaoDaeng. The drink is priced at 10 baht per 150-cc bottle.
Despite competition from current best-sellers M150 and
Krating Daeng (Red Bull), Yuenyong thinks his product can become a market
leader within three years.
Yuenyong and fellow members of the Carabao band own 50
percent of the newly formed company, named Carabao Tawandaeng Co Ltd. with
the remainder held by Sathien and other shareholders.
CarabaoDaeng was officially launched into the market with
a 10-million baht TV commercial. The company has appointed Serm Suk,
Pepsi’s local bottler, to take responsibility for the distribution of the
“This is my first real business,” said Yuenyong, who
is also executive director of Carabao Tawandaeng. Yuenyong said that he
wanted to start the business to help generate income to support the Carabao
band and its employees.
“With the new digital technology and increase in
pirated music products, we cannot create enough income to support the
Carabao family. We currently have nine band members and more than 50
backstage people. We have to stage up to 300 concerts a year to support our
group and that is very exhausting,” Yuenyong said.
Sathien, managing director of Carabao Tawandaeng Co, said
the company is confident in the quality and taste of CarabaoDaeng
“In a market survey, 94 %of the people who tried
CarabaoDaeng said they liked the taste, and more than 90 % said they
intended to buy the product when it is available,” said Sathien.
Parinya Permpanich, sales operation director for Serm Suk
Plc, said the company aims to achieve a 10 % share of the 14 billion baht
market within 12 months.
“We intend to make CarabaoDaeng the market leader, with
more than 40-per-cent market share, in three years,” said Parinya.
Finance Ministry and
BOT set ceiling on credit card rates
The Finance Ministry and Bank of Thailand (BOT) have
finally agreed to set a ceiling on credit-card interest rates at 1.5 per
cent a month or 18 %a year. The resolution took effect on November 1st and
will also apply to penalty payments on monthly credit card bills.
The decision of both government bodies came after a
series of complaints by cardholders that banks and card-issuers were
imposing excessive charges, including penalty rates. This will be
Thailand’s first official ceiling on credit card interest rates charged by
issuers. The government previously had a liberal policy which allowed banks
and to set their own criteria.
The new ceiling will address complaints that some card
providers, mostly foreign banks and finance companies, are charging as much
as 25 % annual interest.
The authorities will also move to strengthen the
financial system by setting a minimum financial requirement for first-time
The move follows a sharp rise in the availability and use
of credit cards as lenders compete to increase their market share and build
their consumer base. Lenders formerly required an applicant to earn at least
15,000 baht per month, but in June of this year, the central bank dumped the
minimum-income requirement, leaving card-issuers to decide for themselves as
to the risk of some applicants.
But growing concern about the nation’s economic
situation for next year has prompted worries in the financial community that
the credit card boom could lead to fiscal instability.
Finance Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said, “So far,
increased credit-card spending in Thailand has been largely due to personal
consumption and hasn’t indicated any risk. However, there must be new
regulations to supervise the business to prevent problems in the future.”
BOT Governor Pridiyathorn Devakul said he thinks that
maintaining a minimum salary limitation was more important than placing a
ceiling on rate charges. He said that low income people could be at risk
when using credit cards beyond their ability to repay debts. “Credit cards
should be issued only to those who have secure jobs and adequate income. If
their salary is low, they will most certainly have trouble servicing
credit-card debt,” the governor said. (TNA)
MOF boasts of successful implementation of fiscal policy
The Finance Ministry says its implementation of its
fiscal policy has been a success. Somchai Sajjapong, deputy spokesman of the
ministry, revealed the policy has been implemented so efficiently that the
nation’s economy has picked up and continues to expand despite world
The Thai economy has satisfactorily grown at the rate of
2.1%, 3.9% and 5.1% in the first, second and third quarters of this year.
The economy in the last quarter is expected to enjoy similar growth rate to
that of the third quarter.
Somchai said the better-than-expected economic growth
resulted in a smaller fiscal deficit and is lower than the target originally
set. He said the government is also relying less on loans to offset the
budget deficit and its role in stimulating the economy by government
spending is decreasing. Public consumption is growing and current investment
is sustainable. Private companies have been encouraged to stimulate the
economy which has allowed government to reduce its role in that area.
Somchai projected the government would still play a
supporting role in jump-starting the economy next year, but prefers to
gradually ease that role for fiscal sustainability.
The public fiscal deficit is expected to be around 122
billion baht or 2.1% of gross domestic products (GDP) next year. Of this,
110 billion baht or 1.9% of GDP belongs to the government and 15.7 billion
or 0.3% of GDP to state enterprises. (TNA)
Resort complex to
be built for long stay guests
Thailand and Japan will join hands to build a resort
complex on 1,500 rai of land in the famous northern province of Chiang Mai
to serve overseas long stay guests. The project is part of a government
policy to encourage long-stay tourism, particularly in the senior citizen
and retiree markets.
Chalermsak Suranant, director of Tourism Authority of
Thailand (TAT) Northern Office Region 1 said that foreign tourists between
the ages of 45-50 are the target of the TAT long-stay tourism project.
A survey showed that European and Japanese travelers
chose northern Thailand as their destination due to the landscape, fine
service, low cost of living, diversity of food, and various recreation
activities. They normally stay about a month.
Japanese tourists in particular prefer to travel with
groups and want to stay near hospitals, shopping centers, Japanese
restaurants, and golf courses, making Chiang Mai an ideal province for the
Director Chalermsak said, “There is only one weak point
that should be addressed. We have a lack of Japanese speaking personnel.
Therefore we will arrange for more training in Japanese language skills.”
Sauwalak Chimada, vice president of the Chiang Mai
Chamber of Commerce and managing director of Sarika Tour said that her
company and five Japanese tour agencies had formed a joint venture to build
an accommodation and leisure complex worth two billion baht on 1,400 rai of
land on Hangdong-Samueng Road.
Sauwalk said, “The new resort complex for ‘well-off
pensioners’ will be comprised of a hospital, condominium, lodges, indoor
and outdoor sport facilities, golf course, school, and spa. Japanese
speaking staff will be familiar with Japanese people and their standards
will be available to provide the best service for guests.”
The architecture will be northern Lanna-style and will be
surrounded by cascading streams and mountains. Suawalk said this is more
appealing to Japanese than are seaside resorts.
Construction will completed in the next 2 years and the
company will launch a web-site to promote sales in overseas markets. (TNA)
Accor joins ECPAT
and TAT to protect children
Accor has joined ECPAT and the Tourism Authority of
Thailand (TAT) to protect children and combat commercial sexual exploitation
of children. ECPAT International is a Bangkok-based, non-governmental
organization established in 1990 and dedicated to the elimination of child
prostitution, child pornography, and the trafficking of children for sexual
purposes. The ECPAT network consists of groups and individuals working in
over 50 countries around the world.
Together they have launched a training program for Accor
hotel general managers and certified trainers in Thailand that will be
extended to all properties in the country. Accor will then enlarge the
campaign to other destinations where Accor hotels are located in
co-operation with ECPAT and the respective National Tourism Organization in
The employee-training program will focus on educating
existing staff on how to deal with situations involving child prostitution
as they arise. Accor is developing a brochure on commercial sexual
exploitation of children that will be put into the welcome packets for all
Accor has also printed a poster that will be prominently
displayed in all hotels aimed at educating guests on its commitment to
protecting children, sustainable tourism and protecting the environment.
This will include communicating information to customers
to raise awareness regarding commercial sexual exploitation of children,
while educating tourists on each country’s legal code regarding child
prostitution and the penalties for unlawful behavior.
Accor vice president of human resources - Asia, Fabrice
Tessier said the company’s commitment to working with ECPAT and protecting
children started at Accor’s Paris head office with its subsidiary Carlson
Wagonlit Travel giving brochures to tourists.
Tessier said, “Accor is deeply committed to responsible
tourism and protecting children wherever we do business. We need to educate
both our staff and our customers on these important issues and working with
ECPAT is an important step towards realizing this goal.”
ECPAT International Tourism Coordinator, Sendrine Fabie,
said it was important for ECPAT to have good tourism partners like Accor and
the TAT to help address and reduce the problem. “It is a significant step
for ECPAT to have greater alliances with the private sector.”
Fabie said, “We have been quite successful in working
with governments over the past decade, the next step is trying to work with
business involved. Accor is amongst the very first hotel groups to join
forces with ECPAT and I hope we can replicate this model further.”
“Front line staff is usually approached first - it is
at that level where you have to empower employees. If they don’t feel free
to speak with management, or think that management will not support them,
they are more likely to turn a blind eye to what is happening,” Fabie
TAT director of the tourism services development
department, Vunsadej Thavarasukha agreed, “The Thai government is
committed to protecting children from commercial sexual exploitation.
Working with ECPAT and Accor will help raise awareness on what needs to be
done to solve this problem,” he said.
Local girl makes it big on the coast
Wannapa Rakkeo appointed director of
marketing communications for Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya
Chiang Mai University graduate Wannapa Rakkeo was just
appointed director of marketing communications for the Hard Rock Hotel in
Pattaya. Andrew Khoo, general manager of the Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya,
announced the appointment.
Wannapa holds a bachelor’s degree from the faculty of
humanities, Chiang Mai University.
After her graduation, she served as an editorial
assistant for the ‘Manager’, an English language magazine and later
joined Cathay Pacific as a flight attendant, based in Hong Kong. She also
spent three years in New Delhi, India, where her father was the Naval Attach้
to the Royal Thai Embassy.
Wannapa returned to Thailand and embarked on a career in
public relations, starting with the Montien group of hotels. Her career
moves included a stint with the President Park Group, The Waste Management
Co. Ltd and prior to joining the Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya she was group
director of public relations for the Marriott Resort & Spa (Thailand).
Her crowning achievement prior to her departure has been helping the
Bangkok Marriott Resort & Spa win the Award of Outstanding Performance,
City Hotel category, in Bangkok, as part of the Thailand Tourism Awards