Panasonic aims for higher ranking in Thai refrigerator market

BANGKOK, NNA - Japan's Panasonic Corp. is making all-out efforts to move up through the rankings in the Thai refrigerator market by launching 12 models of locally made refrigerators.

Takeshi Nomoto, managing director of local sales unit Panasonic A.P. Sales (Thailand) Co., says the Japanese electronics company is widening its customer base to cover middle- to high-income customers in a bid to move up the rankings from current fifth place to one of the market's top three brands in 2020.

At present, Hitachi Ltd., Samsung Electronics Co. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. lead the southeast Asian market.

Panasonic, which generally focuses on high-end refrigerators priced over 30,000 baht ($880), recently unveiled the 12 new models, including top-freezer and bottom-freezer designs, with prices ranging from 14,190 baht to 31,990 baht.

Panasonic expects its refrigerator sales to grow more than 10 percent this year and hopes its share in the Thai market will rise by 1 to 2 percentage points.

Nomoto noted that Thailand's electrical appliances industry slowed down last year due to weak consumption, causing the refrigerator market to shrink 4 percent from 13.3 billion baht to 12.8 billion baht. But he anticipates that Thailand's economic rebound would lead the refrigerator market to grow 3 percent to 13.2 billion baht this year. (NNA/Kyodo)

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