THOMAS HONGPAKDEE, chief executive of the company behind Anitech-branded consumer electronic products, has unveiled the firm's ambition plan to become the leading Asean player in the segment.
“Our regional market plan started two years ago and we have already covered CLMV [Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam],” the Smart ID Group Ltd boss said.
“Our strategy is to localise marketing activities to fit with each country and work with local partners to achieve the success.”
Under the business plan, the company expects to significantly increase its sales contribution from international markets, particularly Asean, from currently only 5 per cent to about 20 per cent by the end of next year and up to 50 per cent in 2018.
Smart ID has appointed locals as the marketing manager in each country it operates and has personnel in those markets who have experience in the industry.
The company has set up a special unit to work with the local marketing managers in each country to deliver its policies, strategies, action plans and try to ensure all decisions are made fast and correctly.
Hongpakdee said that in line with their strategy the work done with local distributors would be fast |and brand concept would be maintained.
He said the company’s marketing team was working hard in Indonesia and the Philippines and the goal was to have a presence in all major Asean Economic Community countries by 2018.
“My aim is to see Asean people live life with quality products that are created by Asian people and which are tailored to suit their lifestyles … money is my secondary objective,” he said.
“It is important to ensure that people appreciate our products and what we provide to them.
“With the appreciation they give to us, we are sure that all our stakeholders will be happy and I can deliver this spirit and passion to my next generation [of customers].”
Hongpakdee started the business 15 years ago with two partners after graduating from college.
His first business involved designing a chipset that modify gaming devices like PlayStation and Xbox and turned them into devices that can unlock many hidden abilities.
People called his product “Modchip”, which came from Modify Chip. The product was sold and distributed around the world through e-commerce with his website while all the payments were conducted online via Asia Bank’s network.
At the time, the company was only the second business in Thailand offering e-commerce-based activities, he said.
Having specialised in the design and develop of electronic products, the firm was approached by many global brands such as HP, Acer, Lenovo, Toshiba, Dell and Asus to deliver IT products for them via original equipment manufacturing.
The company supplied many products to those global brands for many years while halting its Modchip business because it did not have enough time to focus on it.
After years of working with those international IT companies, the company saw that competition was becoming stiffer, resulting in a smaller budget to create new products.
“We then decided to create our own brand and dedicate our R&D [research and development] budget and time to create our own products,” he said.
“At that time there were not so many players in the industry so we hit Bt100 million in sales revenue in only three years after establishing our own branded business.”
He said consumer electronics was seen as a growing industry.
“Today consumer lifestyle is going to be more techno-based behaviour. We never say we are in IT industry, but we are in consumer electronics industry which can diversify to a limitless business model that can create sustainable profits,” he said.
“The AEC region does not have a clear market leader so we set our course to become the clear market leader in the AEC region.
“We have been delivering more than one million pieces of consumer electronics products per year to the market. We are involved with millions of people today and according to our research, we found that more than half of our customers carry more than one piece of our Anitech branded products.”
Smart ID has set up its own production facility in Thailand at the Bang Bon district in Bangkok with a capacity to produce up to 100,000 pieces of consumer electronics products per annum.
Having been approved by the Board of Investment for investment privileges, the company plans to expand its facility from time to time to align with its market expansion plans, especially for this region.
“However, from my personal point of view AEC does not |really create a big impact and any urgency in the minds of people,” he said.
“Many business people are still working with local markets while AEC is a by-product market. For Smart ID Group, we have kicked off our AEC expansion many years ago and there were many difficulties we found.
“For us, the AEC is both an opportunity and threat. The market is opened not because of AEC policy but because of IT technology that connects people and information together.”
He said a positive about the AEC was that its many logistics facilities were now more developed.
He added that when people were more connected and aware that Asean was united, the company and other business operators facilitate the banking system, as more financial products and services would be in the regional market.
However, he said the unclear competition situation was a threat and more players would enter the consumer electronics market in Thailand, which was already ultra competitive with many big international players here.