Thai expat in Dubai works to boost Mideast trade with Asean
To cash in on the coming Asean Economic Community, Akavut Tangsilikusonwong wants to present the region to the Middle East market through his own exhibition and event organisation. Named Vega Intertrade & Exhibition, the company was set up by Akavut, who relocated from Thailand to Dubai in 1999.
Vega Intertrade & Exhibition is known in Dubai as a specialist in international trade exhibitions and events.
"We provide the infrastructure for Thai retailers and manufacturers to introduce their products to overseas customers, while offering logistical support to achieve maximum benefits," Akavut said.
As a pioneer in organising trade activities in Dubai, Akavut, 41, has successfully brought together entrepreneurs from Thailand and neighbouring countries who want to establish their businesses in the Middle East.
"At that time , entrepreneurs were quite dispersed in Dubai as they had no place to gather. I myself wanted to do something 'blue ocean', as nobody else did," he said.
Akavut graduated in engineering from Chulalongkorn University. He worked as an engineer at Siam Ratchathanee for more than a year before deciding to resign and look for a way to go into business for himself.
"I wanted to do something by myself at that time. I decided to go to the Middle East to look for new business opportunities," he said.
"When I went to Dubai, Thai businesspeople were quite dispersed. The Middle East was a market little known by Thai entrepreneurs, and individual consumers in the Middle East knew very little about Thai products and services," he said.
As Thailand promotes its tourism industry well, the country started to become better known by people in the Middle East. Last year, more than 150,000 tourists from the United Arab Emirates travelled to Thailand.
Middle Eastern consumers have strong purchasing power and they have started to recognise products and services from Thailand, thanks to their unique style and low prices. Major Thai products and services, such fashion apparel, ornaments, home decorative products, restaurants, spas and massage have enjoyed dramatic growth in Dubai at more than 25 per cent annually.
Akavut and his company started to organise the Thai Pavilion at Global Village fair in Dubai between January 15 and February 15, 2003, and about 41 Thai enterprises joined the fair to exhibit their products.
"However, more than 115 businesses from Thailand joined Global Village Dubai this year, which began on October 21 and runs until March 30 this year. The Thai Pavilion has a huge exhibition space of about 2,465 square metres," he said.
He added that in addition to the Thai Pavilion, his company had built exhibition pavilions for other countries, including the Philippines with 880sqm, Vietnam with 660sm, and China with 3,510sqm.
"What I want to do is to bring entrepreneurs from Asean to this region to cash in on new business opportunities in the Middle East," Akavut said.
He also plans to build an Asean Pavilion in Dubai's Global Village fair in the near future.
Akavut, who is also the chairman of Thai Business Council in Dubai, said the council had been set up in August 2010 with about 80 members.
Its mission is to gather Thai entrepreneurs who have businesses in Dubai. The council now has about 150 members.