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Key to cracking Thai consumer market: unique products

Cambodia should seek to enlarge its market share of the Thai consumer market by focusing on the export of unique items, a visiting Thai trade promoter said during a workshop in Phnom Penh yesterday.

Sanit Karunyawanij, director of Thai Exhibition Association, said that Cambodian products are “rare” in Thai markets as they cannot compete on price and quality with similar local goods.

However, he said there are a number of products from Cambodia that Thai consumers are keen to purchase, and Cambodian small- and medium-size enterprise (SME) owners should identify these opportunities and capitalise on them.

“Producers should begin with something unique,” he said.

“For instance, dry fish in Cambodia is very famous, and many people come from Bangkok to buy the dry fish here, which is not cheap.”

Sanit said if producers can identify the type of products in demand they could repackage them for export.

“After the unique items see success, producers can expand to other products,” he said.

The Cambodian government is hoping to reduce the imbalance of trade between Cambodia and Thailand.

The Kingdom exported $290 million in goods to Thailand during the first quarter of the year, while importing more than $1 billion worth of Thai goods, according to data provided by the Royal Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh.

Kou Rithy, secretary of the Cambodia Freight Forwarders Association, expressed scepticism on opportunities for Cambodian products to penetrate the Thai market.

“For now at least, I don’t expect Cambodia can have much success selling its products in Thailand,” he said. “But they can partner with Thai companies to import products from Thailand.”

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