BANGKOK, NNA - Leading Japanese toilet maker Toto Ltd. has picked Thailand to build a plant for its strategic electronic toilet seat series called "Washlet" in a bid to cash in on its growing demand in Asia.
Toto (Thailand) Co., its wholly owned subsidiary, said it is planning to begin plant construction within this month and commercial production in April 2020 as part of the group's efforts to achieve a target of two million units a year in global Washlet shipments in 2022.
With 10.7 billion baht ($33.6 million) investment, Toto's third factory in the Southeast Asian country will have annual Washlet output capacity of 450,000 units, aiming to export the product to Japan and later sell it in the local market and the rest of Asia, according to the local unit.
The Washlet plant in Thailand is the fifth of its kind after two in Japan, one in China and one in Malaysia. Toto has selected Thailand for Washlet production as "a manufacturing cluster, including a number of high-tech electronics parts suppliers, is located" there, among other reasons, said Hiroyuki Suzuki, president of the local arm.
"Sales of Washlet are growing in Asia (in places) like China, Singapore and Thailand" as the number of five-star hotels and luxury condominium complexes in Thailand is increasing, he added.
Toto's overall sales in Thailand have been growing at an annual rate of 20 percent in recent years, according to Suzuki.
The new factory will be within the site of an existing ceramic sanitary ware factory in an industrial park in the central province of Saraburi, where Toto is building another plant to nearly double annual output capacity to about 960,000 units by April 2019.
After completion of the second plant, Thailand will be the fourth-largest manufacturing base for the Toto group after Japan, China and Vietnam, with exports accounting for 90 percent of total output. (NNA/Kyodo)