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Tesco Lotus expands online shopping services

“Click and Collect” allows buyers to pickup in store

Tesco Lotus announces its new online shopping service and Click and Collect which allows Chiang Mai shoppers to order online and pick up in-store.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Tesco Lotus is expanding its popular online shopping service upcountry, starting with Pattaya and Chiang Mai. The retailer is enabling shoppers to order online and pick up from the local store with its new “Click and Collect” option.
“Customers in Bangkok love the Tesco Lotus Online Shopping service we started 6 months ago,” said Tesco Lotus Marketing Director Wanna Swuddigul. “They have told us Tesco Lotus Online Shopping service makes their lives more convenient and saves them time and money on travel. Customers also enjoy a wide range of fresh food and grocery products available for them to choose online at Tesco Lotus prices.”
“With the positive feedback we have continued to add our Online Shopping service capacity in Bangkok and are now expanding the service upcountry, starting with Pattaya and Chiang Mai before rolling out to other big cities in Thailand soon.”
Tesco Lotus Online Shopping is the premier destination for fresh food and grocery shopping in Thailand with over 20,000 product lines on offer. Tesco Lotus remains the only retailer in the country that offers online ordering and delivery of fresh food. It uses specially designed vans with separate compartments for frozen products, chilled products and non-perishable groceries for delivery to customers’ doorsteps.
After choosing products online, the customer can pick one of six delivery timeslots available from 10 am to 10 pm, 7 days a week. For customers who would like to pick up their shopping by themselves, Click and Collect service will be available from 6 November 2013 starting at Extra Ramindra store.
“All online shopping orders are sorted by our professionally trained Personal Shoppers who seek out the freshest produce and longest expiry dates just like our customers would do. The shopping will then be delivered to customers’ doorsteps based on the specified time slot or customers can collect the items at selected Tesco Lotus store,” said Khun Wanna.
Tesco Group now offers Online Shopping service in 10 countries, including South Korea, Malaysia, China, Ireland, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, the UK and Thailand which have together grown sales by 54% over the last six months.
“Online Shopping is a part of Tesco Lotus strategy to grow our business through multi-formats. Apart from online service expansion we continue on our plan to open around 300 new stores this year across all formats including Extra, Hypermarket, Department Store, Talad and Express. Our comprehensive set of store formats will help us meet the needs of various consumer groups and changing lifestyles,” concluded Khun Wanna.


Wine Connection continues to grow in Chiang Mai

New bistro in Central Festival

Shana Kongmun
A plethora of Japanese and Korean restaurants in Central Festival makes Wine Connection’s new Bistro style restaurant on the 1st floor one of the few truly Western restaurants there. The bistro is offering pasta, pizzas, and mains such as steaks, pork chops, lamb and more. As part of the grand opening they are offering specials such as Australian sirloin for 249 baht every day from 5 p.m., pizza and a coke or pasta and a coke for 149 baht valid until 6 p.m. daily. Additionally you can order off their wine menu or get a bottle from the shop (minimum price 500 baht) to drink with your meal.
Wine Connection has two shops, one at Nim City and another at Meechoke Plaza as well as a deli and wine shop at Promenada Resort Mall. The Central Festival bistro takes after their Bangkok style bistros that have proved very popular. The reasonably priced menu, casual comfortable restaurant and outdoor dining make the restaurant unusual in Central Festival, said Marketing Manager Noppawan Somchit. She noted that while they still cannot sell alcohol between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. guests are welcome to order and pay for their wine before 2 p.m.
K. Noppawan also added that the bistro offers take home cheeses to go with a large selection of wine, noting that the staff can also offer wine recommendations for customers. The new bistro is open daily during mall hours; 11:00 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.


4th Chiang Mai Jazz in the City Festival brings in tourists

The 4th Annual Chiang Mai Jazz Festival will be held January 18 and 19, 2014 at Nim City Daily, attracting tourists to the city for the event.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The 4th Annual Chiang Mai Jazz in the City Festival, in cooperation with Nim City Daily and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce, the Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association, AIA Limited Company and AIS, will be held on January 18 and 19, 2014 at Nim City Daily.
The Festival aims to promote tourism to Chiang Mai by promoting the cultural and musical advantages of the city as well as raise funds for charity and sustainable development. The event, which plays a key role in the TAT calendar, attracts jazz musicians from around the world. This year 1,500 people are expected to bring Jazz Bacanus, Del Ritmo, Terdthai Chainiyom, Koh Mr.Saxman, and Ben Chalatit will play January18 while Hug Jazz, Kai Pannipa, Deep O Sea and Two Popetorn will perform on January 19.


Technology access for the disabled, disadvantaged and elderly from NBTC

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) held their last in a series of public seminars at the Empress Hotel on December 12, 2013 to receive comments and suggestions on promoting and supporting facilities for technology access for the disabled, elderly and disadvantaged. Thakorn Tantasit, NBTC Secretary General, presided over the seminar which was organized in two other provinces to assess services for the disadvantaged and protect their rights as consumers.


Suvarnabhumi Airport ticket sales moved to 6th floor

Suvarnabhumi Airport has relocated its airline ticket sales counters to the 6th floor in order to allow more space inside the departure terminal. Suvarnabhumi Airport General Manager Rawewan Netrakavesna said that airline ticket sales booths have been moved from the 4th to the 6th floor in a bid to increase space in the departure hall of the terminal building.
Ms Rawewan said the relocation will allow an extra 900 square metres of space for the increasing number of passengers using the airport, a passenger density which tends to be as high as 130,000 persons a day during the annual peak season between October and March.
Up to 54 airline ticket vendors including Emirates, Japan Airlines, China Airlines, Bangkok Airways and many more are now located on upper floor following the relocation. (MCOT online news)


The Top 10 Hidden Costs of Living in Thailand as an Expat

By Don Freeman
Living in Thailand as an expatriate may turn out to be more costly than you think if your budget, savings and investment plan don’t factor in all of the hidden costs you may encounter. With that in mind, here are the top 10 hidden costs of living in Thailand as an expatriate:
1. Maintaining a Western Living Standard. If you are not accustomed to living in the tropics or in a still developing country, you will likely need to use the air conditioning every day while western food (like breakfast cereal) will inevitably cost more in Thailand than in your home country. Moreover, most restaurants in Thailand don’t serve “western sized” portions (if they do, you will probably pay western sized prices) and unless you have learned how to speak Thai, you will probably want cable or satellite TV. In other words, maintaining a western or even a middle class living standard in Thailand can be expensive.
2. The Cost of Socializing. Unless you intend to stay at home all the time, you will likely be socializing with other expatriates in venues frequented by expatriates or tourists where you will be paying “farang” prices that can quickly add up.
3. Exchange Rate Fluctuations. From 1981 until 2013, US Dollar to Thai Baht exchange rate has averaged 32.60 while reaching an all time high of 55.50 in January of 1998 and a record low of 20.36 in July of 1981. However and over the last decade, the Thai Baht has appreciated against most major western currencies (and especially against the GBP) – a trend that’s likely to continue.
4. Inflation. From 2000 until 2012, inflation in Thailand has averaged 2.66%, but it has also ranged from an all time high of 9.2% for the month of July 2008 to a record low of negative 4.4% in July 2009. However, official inflation rates don’t fully take into account that the cost of maintaining at least a middle class living standard in Thailand is rising as the country’s economy grows while the annual influx of foreign tourists and expatriates brings its own set of inflation for “farang” prices.
5. Banking Fees. Except for a few ATMs owned by AEON and Citibank, Thai ATMs will charge a 150 baht fee per foreign transaction. Then there are the fees charged by your overseas bank for using an ATM outside of their network, currency transaction costs and daily withdraw restrictions (typically $500 per day for most banks) that can quickly eat into the funds you transfer in to live on.
6. Visa Costs. Thailand offers various visas for retirees, investors and those married to Thai citizens, but you need to remember that there are fees and other requirements for these visas that could change at any time. And if you don’t intend to obtain some kind of long-term resident visa for Thailand, the costs of doing frequent visa runs (even if you live near a border) will also need to be factored in.
7. Medical Insurance. Expatriates in Thailand have access to excellent and mostly affordable healthcare, but it’s also important to remember that most government health care programs for retirees or pensioners (e.g. Medicare for Americans) will not cover citizens living abroad while expatriate health insurance can be expensive. Moreover, you will likely need to buy some kind of health or travel insurance to cover any visits outside of Thailand or to your home country.
8. Trips “Home.” Even if you intend to more or less live permanently in Thailand, you will probably want to make trips “home” to visit children or grandchildren – especially around the holidays (at the height of Thailand’s peak travel season). Since you will likely be booking a round trip beginning and ending in Thailand, the airline you use may also charge your fare in Thai Baht – potentially adding to the costs of your ticket.
9. Emergencies. Ideally, you will need to tie up extra cash that can easily be accessed for emergencies, like medical expenses that may need to be paid up front in cash or a trip “home” to deal with a family emergency. With interest at record lows for savings accounts in many western countries, there will be an opportunity cost associated with keeping extra cash tied up.
10. Competent Financial Advice. Living in Thailand as an expatriate will complicate your investment, insurance and tax situation considerably and you will need to seek out professionals who are experts in such matters for expatriates. And while expert professional advice is never without a cost, getting bad advice will end up being more costly over the long-term.
Don Freeman is president of Freeman Capital Management, a Registered Investment Advisor with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), based in Phuket, Thailand. He has over 15 years experience and provides personal financial planning and wealth management to expatriates. Specializing in UK and US pension transfers. Call 089-970-5795 or email: [email protected]


TRUEGIF IPO sells out raising over 58 billion baht

Noppadol Dej-Udom, Group Chief Financial Officer, True Corporation Public Company Limited announced the sale of TRUEGIF shares in Asia – Pacific’s fourth largest IPO.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
TRUE Telecommunications announced the sale of shares in TRUE Growth Infrastructure Fund (TRUEGIF) between December 9 – 16, 2013 at a press conference held at the Holiday Inn Hotel on December 12. TRUEGIF shares were snapped up by investors, despite the economic uncertainty, selling 58.08 billion baht in shares in the fourth largest initial public offering (IPO) in the Asia – Pacific this year. Retail investors received a ten year tax break on the sale.
TRUEGIF owns or has the right to receive revenues from assets such as a fiber optic grid, last – mile cables in upcountry regions for high speed internet, and eventually 12,000 telecom towers nationwide.
Noppadol Dej-Udom, Group Chief Financial Officer, True Corporation Public Company Limited said that TRUE Telecommunications Growth Infrastructure Fund (TRUEGIF) is the 1st Telecommunications Growth Infrastructure Fund in Thailand. It was established in order to comply with governmental policy and also provides the public the opportunity to earn good dividends as part owners. And its power will drive the growth of Thailand’s telecom business in the future. The IPO price was set at 10.00 baht and 2,381.28 million shares were on offer to the public. It is expected that units can be traded on the Stock Exchange of Thailand by December 26, 2013.


AIS launches Central Festival branch to provide shoppers expert help

AIS launched their latest customer service center and Shop branch at Central Festival Chiang Mai with Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo and President of the Chiang Mai Culture Council Chao Duangduan na Chiang Mai on December 13, 2013. The new center will offer not only customer service but a team of experts to provide advise on smartphones, FAST LANE and the Serenade Room. Vilasinee Puddhikarant, Chief Customer Officer of AIS, said that AIS will extend 3G technology to all major cities of all 77 provinces.


Gold predicted to follow a downward trend

The price of gold price will continue to be on the downtrend next year, predictably moving at from US$1,175-1,450 per ounce or Bt18,000-22,500 per baht weight, a leading gold trader said today.
Chitti Tangsitthipakdi, president of the Gold Traders Association, said gold price should reach its peak in February – the deadline for US debt ceiling expansion — which will psychologically contribute to price speculations. He said investors who bought gold at exorbitant prices should cut their losses for reinvestment.
Mr Chitti said it is improbable that gold price in overseas markets will plunge to US$1,050 per ounce, reasoning that the capital price is at US$1,100-1,200 per ounce.
Recommending short-term investment, he said it is rather impossible that the gold price will surge to its previous peak at US$1,920 per ounce or Bt27,100 per baht weight unless there is a war or act of terrorism.
Tanarat Pasawong, chief executive officer of Hua Seng Heng Gold Futures, predicted a downward trend for the price of gold which he said should move at around US$1,050-1,530 per ounce given the US action on quantitative easing. Gold prices should surge back in 2015 when the global interest rate moves up, he said.
The baht depreciation also has an impact on domestic gold price, he said, adding that the Thai currency weakened 3 per cent this year and will continue to depreciate next year. The gold price can possibly plummet to its lowest at Bt17,500 per baht weight, he said. (MCOT online news)


Leading French cosmeceuticals company launches flagship store in Chiang Mai

Leading French cosmetics companies La Roche – Posay and Vichy launched their flagship store at the Ground floor of the Sripat Medical Building at Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital in December 4, 2013. Here Assoc. Prof. Somsak Chaowisitseree, Director of Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital cuts the ribbon for the new store. Vichy and La Roche – Posay are two subsidiaries of L’Oreal Cosmetics offering high end skin care products.


Tourism association concerned over prolonged protests

The Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) expressed concern that Thai tourism industry could be hit in the first quarter of next year if political demonstrations are prolonged in a statement released December 22, 2013.

ATTA president Sisdivachr Cheewarattanporn called for peaceful dialogue to solve the current political crisis.

ATTA president Sisdivachr Cheewarattanporn said he has closely monitored the Sunday protests with the huge turnout of demonstrators. He admitted that the people have rights to express their voice under democratic system. But he raised concerns over foreign media coverage of the situation that could affect foreign tourists who are deciding whether to visit Thailand in the first quarter of next year, which coincides with the Chinese New Year celebration.
Under normal situations, he said, there would be a large number of tourists from China and other countries coming to celebrate the festival in Thailand.
Mr Sisdivachr said peaceful dialogue is the only solution to end the crisis and each side should take a step back, even if only a small one.
If all concerned parties insist on continuing with the situation like this, the country will be affected, given that as of now 39 countries have already issued travel advisories for their citizens. (MCOT online news)


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Tesco Lotus expands online shopping services

Wine Connection continues to grow in Chiang Mai

4th Chiang Mai Jazz in the City Festival brings in tourists

Technology access for the disabled, disadvantaged and elderly from NBTC

Suvarnabhumi Airport ticket sales moved to 6th floor

The Top 10 Hidden Costs of Living in Thailand as an Expat

TRUEGIF IPO sells out raising over 58 billion baht

AIS launches Central Festival branch to provide shoppers expert help

Gold predicted to follow a downward trend

Leading French cosmeceuticals company launches flagship store in Chiang Mai

Tourism association concerned over prolonged protests