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Single code offered to halt pricey data roaming charges

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission on December 1 launched a consumer service to avoid massive data roaming costs.

All mobile phone users can call *106# to close all data roaming services before travelling.

Secretary-general Takorn Tantasit said yesterday that the NBTC had been flooded with complaints about exorbitant bills for international roaming, especially for data.

The NBTC and the big three mobile operators - Advanced Info Service, Total Access Communication (DTAC) and True Move H - have joined to offer the single-code service for all users.

Global sugar surplus to exceed forecast

The global sugar surplus will be 8.3 per cent bigger than forecast as output expands in leading producers Brazil and Thailand, according to Green Pool Commodity Specialists.

Supplies will be 5.05 million tonnes higher than demand in the 2013-14 season that started on October 1 in most countries, said the Brisbane, Australia-based researcher. That is up from a September forecast of 4.66 million tonnes.

Global sugar production will be 180.97 million tonnes in 2013-14, an increase of 765,000 tonnes from the previous forecast and down from 182.5 million tonnes a year earlier, according to Green Pool.

Consumption is forecast at 174.8 million tonnes, 277,000 tonnes above forecast and 2.1 per cent higher than in 2012-13. London-based Czarnikow Group forecasts that demand will gain 2.5 per cent this season and Kingsman in Lausanne, Switzerland, estimates usage growth at 1.5 per cent.

Sugar output in Thailand will rise to 11 million tonnes, up from the forecast of 10.8 million tonnes and last year's output of 10 million tonnes, the researcher estimated.

India, the world's second-biggest producer, will make 24.7 million tonnes, unchanged from the forecast.

Chinese stockpiles will probably rise 21 per cent to 7.3 million tonnes at the end of the season if imports of 2.9 million tonnes materialise. - Bloomberg

Apostrophy to distribute Cherokee products

Apostrophy, a subsidiary of Singapore firm Connectin Asia, has recently received a licence to distribute Cherokee products in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Myanmar. Cherokee is a US provider of footwear, clothing and other "lifestyle" items.

"We are particularly excited about our recent expansion of Liz Lange Maternity in India with Mahindra's Mom & Me Stores, and are happy to announce today a new brand licence agreement for the Cherokee brand with speciality and free-standing stores in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Myanmar with Apostrophy Inc, a subsidiary of Connectin Asia," Cherokee CEO Henry Stupp said.

"In addition, our current progress with our namesake Cherokee brand in South America has contributed to our overall success.

"With just over a month and a half remaining in the fiscal year, we remain confident that our brand initiatives, marketing efforts and increased support and collaboration with our key partners positions the Cherokee Group well for the future.

"Going forward, we will continue to evaluate ways to expand and enhance our current roster of brands as well as acquire additional brands to generate value for both our shareholders and retail partners," Stupp said.

Asean to taste Koh-Kae snacks

Mae-Ruay Snack Food Factory Co plans to introduce its Koh-Kae peanut snacks to Southeast Asian markets in preparation for the Asean Economic Community.

"We are near to being the king of nuts now. Making Koh-Kae an international brand in five years is our target," vice president Kritsada Ruayjaroensap said yesterday.

The company also expects to increase export volume from 20 per cent to 50 per cent and believes that its sales will grow by 10 per cent this year.

Car sales target missed this year but 2.55m eyed

The automobile industry expects to sell around 2.55 million vehicles next year despite missing its 2013 target because of lower domestic consumption.

Surapong Paisitpatnapong, spokesman for the Federation of Thai Industries' Automotive Industry Club, said 2.3 million vehicles had been sold so far this year.

"If we can sell 200,000 more by the end of the year, that would only amount to 2.5 million, which is 500,000 fewer than we had expected to sell this year," he said.

Next year the club expects to meet the target that was for this year thanks to a global economic recovery.



JAS Asset to open lifestyle malls

JAS Asset Co, an affiliate of Jaymart, has set aside an investment budget Bt1 billion to develop two lifestyle malls called The JAS. The first one will open in Wang Hin next year followed by the second in Lad Pla Kao in 2015.

Jaymart CEO Adisak Sukhumvitaya said The JAS would be a neighbourhood lifestyle mall with comprehensive facilities to appeal to younger shoppers.

"We are confident that with our experience in business of more than 13 years and consultant sales team with expertise in real estate for more than 20 years will make the two The JAS projects successful. From the success of IT Junction and J Market, the company plans to raise capital in the stock market in late 2014," he said.



Central Restaurants plans expansion

Central Restaurants Group plans to invest between Bt500 million and Bt1 billion in business expansion next year, including possible acquisition of two new restaurant brands.

The company yesterday revealed it had obtained the local franchise rights to the Japanese tempura-restaurant brand Tenya, to cash in on the booming trend of Japanese restaurants in Thailand. The total market for Japanese restaurants in Thailand is worth about Bt17 billion with an annual growth rate of about 15 per cent.Thiradej Chirathivat, CEO of Central Restaurants Group, said the company had opened about 90 new restaurants this year, including 15 KFC restaurants, 30 Mister Donut outlets, 30 Auntie Anne's, bring the total number of its restaurants to about 740. It plans to open another 90 next year.



Dusit premium brand in China and India

Dusit International is ending the year in style with the launch of a premium hotel brand - Dusit Devarana.

Dusit Devarana Dianchi Lake was unveiled in Kunming, China, after the first one in New Delhi, India.

Devaranas in the island province of Hainan in southern China and in Jaipur, capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan, are in the planning stage.

The new brand caters to those looking for a truly "multi-sensory experience" across all touch points with a design that goes beyond the visual and service that goes beyond the extra mile, Gerrit Kruger, director of branding and loyalty marketing, said yesterday.

"The brand is highly localised and service-driven. In fact, this is the common theme across all Dusit brands - gracious hospitality rooted in Thai traditions."

Rustom Vickers, director of development, said the new brand complemented the existing core brands.

"Dusit Thani hotels and resorts typically have extensive facilities with larger room inventories, and dusitD2 hotels are typically modern, boutique-style products aimed towards those looking for affordable luxury.






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