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World Cup

Tournament spurs Thai shirt exports

Influx of order hikes sales by 20%

Thai clothing manufacturers have cashed in on the Fifa World Cup and boosted their exports after an influx of orders for the colours of competing nations.

"Before the tournament began, we produced around 750,000 football shirts, and that helped boost our sales by 20 per cent," said Wallop Wittanakorn, chief executive of Hi-Tech Apparel.

Wallop, who is also vice chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said exports accounted for the bulk of his company's sales and helped it post revenue of Bt4.2 billion annually. According to Thavorn Kanokwaleewong, director of the Thai Garment Manufacturers' Association, Thailand's main export markets are the United States, Japan, Germany, Belgium and France.

He said Thailand was the world's 20th-biggest exporter of fashion products.

"Because of a rise in sport trends, as well as better productivity, mega sportswear retailers are receiving more and more orders, while small entrepreneurs are closing down," he said.

Sukij Kongpiyacharn, managing director of Hong Seng Knitting Company, said manufacturers should focus on users rather than buyers.

He said adding value through innovation helped a company differentiate itself from rivals.

"However, labour management, high minimum wages and being in a comfort zone are still threats that mean Thailand finds it more difficult to cope with problems," he said.

The Department of Industrial Promotion (DIP) has revealed its four strategic action plans to develop Thailand's fashion and industrial sectors with the aim to turn the country in the fashion hub of Asean.

The plans are creating enabling factors, increasing competence levels, enhancing promotional strategies, and creating a good perception towards the industry.

"Being one of the most dynamic sectors that enables value to be added to products, the fashion industry has made a significant contribution to the Thai economy with total exports of US$19 billion in 2013," said Atchaka Sriboonruang, DIP director at the Ministry of Industry.

Exports related to fashion include footwear and jewellery and accessories.

"Thailand aims to become a fashion hub of Asean," Atchaka said. "To achieve the goal, we need to buy Thai fashion products in the country as well as make them popular in the global market."

She said that even though Thailand's fashion industry was ranked lower than those of Europe and Japan, this country's sportswear segment had been surging thanks to the World Cup.


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