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Nissin Foods mulls rejig of Asean output

Masahiro Fukai, managing director of Nissin Foods (Thailand)

Masahiro Fukai, managing director of Nissin Foods (Thailand)

NISSIN FOODS, Japan's leading producer of instant noodles, is considering a reshuffle of its Asean manufacturing strategy in preparation for the new challenges presented by regional market liberalisation when the Asean Economic Community becomes effective next year.

Meanwhile, the company recently signed a three-year global sponsorship deal with English Premier League (EPL) football giants Manchester United in a move aimed at raising its global awareness.

Nissin Foods also plans to launch its instant-noodle brand in the UK market this year.

Masahiro Fukai, managing director of Nissin Foods (Thailand), yesterday said the company's research and development centre in Singapore was conducting a study of its manufacturing facilities in countries throughout the region, investigating their strengths and weakness in order to decide which factory will perform best for which particular goods.

With a share of more than 50 per cent of the instant-noodle market in Japan, Nissin Foods currently operates factories in 19 countries around the world.

In Asia, the company has facilities in the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, India, China and Hong Kong.

The Asean-wide study is looking at whether one particular instant-noodle factory should take responsibility for producing one particular product for the whole region, in order to raise Nissin's economy of scale and cost-effectiveness, said Fukai.

"We're studying the possibility of sharing regional information and pooling the assortment and purchase of raw materials and ingredients in the region," he said.

"Thailand, however, could play a major role in supplying seasoning ingredients to the company's other instant-noodle facilities in the region," he added.

Nissin Foods (Thailand) last year opened a new factory for pack-type noodles at its complex in Navanakorn Industrial Estate in Pathum Thani, built at a cost of Bt1.2 billion.

Since its formation in 1994, the Thai unit has developed business mainly in the cup-type category of noodles, using high-quality Japanese processing technology.

The pack-type category, however, accounts for 90 per cent of Thailand's Bt15-billion total instant-noodle market.

As to the sponsorship deal with Manchester United, Fukai said: "We're strongly confident that the alliance with Manchester United will bring about immense market opportunity and successfully elevate Nissin from a Japanese brand to a global brand."

Manchester United has up to 659 million fans around the world.

Initially, Nissin has redesigned its product packaging by incorporating the image of Manchester United's players into the packaging of its pack and cup instant noodles - a move that will please consumers in Thailand, where the EPL club has a huge following.

The company also plans to release advertising through all types of media, including TV commercials.

"We expect the sponsorship deal with Manchester United to help increase the share of Nissin instant noodles in the Thai market from 4 per cent currently to about 10 per cent within the next three years, and to challenge the No-3 player in the near future," he said.




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