Thailand’s Central Group banks on ecommerce

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Camellia Aebischer

BY CAMELLIA AEBISCHER

Thailand’s Central Group banks on ecommerce

A rapid expansion for the retail conglomerate is planned ahead of JD.com’s arrival in Thailand

Thailand’s Central Group banks on ecommerce

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Beating JD.com to the punch, Thai retail conglomerate Central Group is banking on a rapid expansion into ecommerce.

Tos Chirathivat, chief executive of Central Group, is hoping increase online sales for the company to 4 per cent in 2018 – double their 2017 revenue.

Nikkei Asian Review reported that in the second quarter of the year JD.com is expected to come online in Thailand, shaking up the ecommerce landscape.

“We have the advantage of using our extensive offline presence to support our transition into the online world,” said Chirathivat.

At the beginning of 2018, Central Group launched Central on Demand – an online chat service that enables customers to communicate with shop clerks throughout 22 of its department stores.

Consumers are able to request home delivery, check stock of items or seek shopping advice.

Since Chirathivat’s arrival at the company in 2013 sales have increased by around 11 per cent each year, attributable to an abundance of mergers and acquisitions.

He told Nikkei Asian Review of a potential deal in either logistics or finance, which are areas the company are looking to expand on, in line with their planned ecommerce expansion.

"We have to maintain the level of excellence of what we are already good at and at the same time try new things, such as e-logistics and e-finance or whatever the new 'e-conomy' brings with the online opportunities," said Chirathivat.

Central Group aims to generate 15 per cent of its revenue from online sales by 2021.

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