May 21, 2014 00:00 By Kwanchai Rungfapaisarn
Japan-based Uni-Charm, a major manufacturer of baby diapers under the well-known "MamyPoko" brand, is aiming to be the leader in all the Asian markets it competes in.
“Asia has posted the highest double-digit growth in the consumption of baby diapers and sanitary napkins in the world, thanks to its lower consumption per capita compared to some developed markets such as Japan,” Takumi Terakawa, managing director of Uni-Charm (Thailand), said yesterday.
“In Thailand for instance, the consumption of baby diapers is as high as 60 pieces per head per month compared to 150 pieces per month in Japan,” he said.
In Thailand, Uni-Charm targets increasing its dominant share of the Bt10-billion baby diaper market from 61 per cent to 70 per cent within two years.
In Myanmar, the company acquired a diaper company called MyCare last year.
In Vietnam, it bought a diaper company in 2011.
In Cambodia, it has set its sights at improving its market share in baby diapers from 30 per cent to 40 per cent this year, and in sanitary napkins from single digit to about 30 per cent by 2016.
Thailand’s operation was supporting other countries in the Mekong region, comprising Cambodia and Laos. The company also runs sales and manufacturing operations in three other major countries in the region – Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar.
“The setting-up and acquiring of business operations in potential countries in the region is part of the key strategy set by our Japanese headquarters to grow our diaper and sanitary napkin business in Asia, particular in emerging markets.
“We want to be the No 1 player in all the markets we are in,” he said.
Sanitary napkins and diapers are bulky products, so opening manufacturing facilities in countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar would help save on transportation costs.
It would also allow the company to stay close to the market and learn about individual consumers. The company would also offer employment opportunities and return its profit to society.
Uni-Charm’s plants in Thailand would play a central role in facilitating growth in key markets, especially in Asean. The company ships 25-30 per cent of the baby diapers and sanitary napkins produced by its Thai operations to 18 countries in Asia.