By Khine Kyaw
Asia News Network
Aung Nay Lin Htun Co, a Myanmar firm that is well known for its premium brand, Genius Coffee, has planned to significantly increase its production from 10 tonnes of coffee last year to 150 tonnes this year.
Lay Lay Myint, the firm’s managing director, said in an exclusive interview that rising demand from local and foreign merchants had driven the substantial growth of its coffee production over the past few months.
“Like other businesses, our production largely depends on the quality of our products. We are now trying to boost the sales of our products locally and regionally,” she said.
She said Genius Coffee had taken some market share in Cambodia soon after the firm opened its first foreign branch in Siem Reap. The company also has plans to expand to Phnom Penh, thanks to the rising demand.
She said the company usually participated at coffee fairs in Bangkok, and the brand has received some positive results in the Thai market.
“We are now thinking of opening a shop in Bangkok to promote our coffee in Thailand. At the same time, we will ensure our coffee reaches nationwide by the end of this year,” she said.
The firm plans to become one of the most famous coffee brands in the region by 2020. In this regard, it exports its products to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, Canada, Australia, the United States, and European countries.
“Recently, we showcased our products in premium coffee fairs in Thailand and Germany upon their invitation. For that, we hired Japanese technicians to improve the standards of our coffee,” she said.
Lay Lay Myint is proud to be the first Myanmar coffee brand recognised by specialty coffee associations in Europe and America. It is also a member of Myanmar Coffee Association.
“We promote direct trade, specialty coffee, organic farming and local job opportunities. We actively engage with all the stakeholders in coffee production, such as farmers, estate owners, millers, exporters, warehouses, roasters, coffee houses, bakeries, trainers and machine suppliers,” she said.
The firm started as a family business in 2012, and its products were already well-recognised in the market within three years. It started to export in 2015, and now has a workforce of 19 permanent staff and creates a lot of indirect jobs for local people.
“Our aim is to help improve the life of farmers, particularly those living in Shan State. Most of our coffee originally comes from Ywa Ngan village but we also buy quality seeds and raw materials from Mogoke, Pyin Oo Lwin, Phel Khone and Naung Cho. We have a coffee stand at Citymart Marketplace to provide visitors an opportunity to try different tastes of coffee from different parts of Myanmar,” she said.
In order to attract different types of coffee lovers, the firm now has nine different products under three major brands: Genius, Bluepond and Oh Si. Prices range from 1,000 kyat (Bt24) to more than 10,000 kyat per prodฌuct.
Ninety per cent of its products are Arabica coffee. This year, the firm managed to improve the capacity of its production thanks to its expansion of storage in its own factory, Lay Lay Myint said.
She foresees a brighter future for the cofฌfee business in Myanmar, as many local coffee estates are now trying to vie for the market with better quality and more attractive packaging. Yet, she considers finance and locals’ passion for instant coffee as major obstacles for Myanmar’s coffee producers.
“Whenever I look at the coffee stand at a supermarket, it is a pity to see that the majority of products are imported instant coffee. They will remain popular in the future due to their price competitiveness,” she said.
“Yet, I believe we have a lot of rooms for improvement in the near future. The more we can produce, the more market share we will gain.”
The firm has partnered with more than 50 farms to improve its investment in coffee business. It paid the tax of over 30 million kyats to the government last year and spent 10 per cent of net profits for community development, she said.