Thailand's first distribution centre focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises, amongst which many will be food and beverage companies, is scheduled to open in June.
The 100-million-baht centre (€2.6million), located in Sahaviriya City, Bangkok, is scheduled for full commercial operations by the end of this year. Thai Small & Medium Enterpises Distribution Centre (TSMEDC) pools the efforts of the Industrial Promotion Department and Wise Power International Co, which founded the centre.
''We hope the centre will be a promotional channel for SMEs. It was designed to display products made by small businesses and the One Tambon, One Product scheme,'' said Eric Lai, chairman and major shareholder of Wise Power International.
Lai added that the centre - which consists of four floors, four exhibition halls, two souvenir shops and a silk products section including a museum - had a total capacity to serve up to 1,000 booths in a space that covers 20,000 square metres.
''This could be regarded as a city landmark for exporting Thai products worldwide,'' he claimed.
Furnishing of the 30-million-baht first phase, consisting of one of the four planned exhibition halls, has almost been completed. The hall can accommodate 100 display booths. So far, about 40 companies have booked spaces.
''We expect to attract 400 companies by the end of this year, at which time the company should break even,'' he said.
Mr Lai said the centre could help Thai firms that lacked a marketing and distribution network and needed help with trade deals and product designs. The Industrial Promotion Department would provide assistance with promotions, advertisements and export information.
The centre charges a membership fee of 5,000 baht per month for one display booth, plus distribution charges ranging from ten to 15 per cent of the revenue generated through the centre.
''We expect to generate more than 50 million baht in export value from the centre per year,'' he said.
The company is working closely with the Industrial Promotion Department to launch an advertising campaign to promote the centre. About 15 million baht has been earmarked for marketing this year.''The centre expects success in helping Thai firms which have failed to win enough business overseas,'' he said.