Mr Oba (centre) joins other traders at a press conference for Toyotsu Japan Festival 2018, to be held at Siam Paragon from June 29 to July 1. PITSINEE JITPLEECHEEP

Japanese firms ranging from food industry players to jewellery makers are marching to Thailand to cash in on the growing popularity of their products.

Kiyoyoshi Oba, president of Toyota Tsusho Thailand, one of the leading Japanese trading companies in Thailand, said the country remains attractive for Japanese companies because Thais welcome all aspects of Japanese culture.

The number of Japanese firms participating in Toyotsu Japan Festival 2018, the biggest festival for lifestyle products from Japan, to be held at Royal Paragon Hall from June 29 to July 1, rose to 80 this year from 70 last year, Mr Oba said.

At the event, about 40% of the offerings will be Japanese food products, with the rest constituting lifestyle products.

Japanese brands and goods include Amaya ice cream, luxury bedding company Nichikawa, Q-Pot jewellery and accessories, Yamanaka frozen food, Wa Theatre and Japanese premium fruit items.

Mr Oba said Tsusho Thailand also plans to import more Japanese products this year. They include Cogy specially designed wheelchairs produced by Tsusho in collaboration with Tohoku University, intended to ease elderly people’s lives.

Other products for the elderly are also in the pipeline to cash in on Thailand’s ageing society.

The company has imported more than 100 items to sell in Thailand via authorised distributors.

In a related development, the company is also scheduled to debut Nishikawa brand bedding products in Thailand this year.

The first Nishikawa bedding shop will open in October at the Takashimaya luxury department store in the Iconsiam complex.

Toyota Tsusho Thailand has been trading for more than six decades.

Some 80% of the company’s wares are automotive products and the rest are non-automotive products, such as uniforms for manufacturing workers, insurance broker services, chemical additives and plastic resins, steel bars, and frozen seafood.

The company plans to increase the revenue portion from its non-automotive business to 30% over the next 5-10 years.

Last year, revenue fell 6% to 100 billion baht. The company has targeted 10% revenue growth this year to 110 billion baht.

The company’s overall performance for the first half is satisfactory compared with the same period last year, executives said. Total revenue from January to May increased by 4% to 32.5 billion baht.

Toshiyuki Azeo, executive vice-president of global parts and logistics management, said that in addition to importing more products, the company is interested in operating an international airport in Thailand.

Anujtha Jaovisidha, general manager for the corporate planning department, said the firm has allocated 20 million baht to arrange Toyotsu Japan Festival 2018.



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