Thailand looks to Middle East for air-con exports

Thai commerce minister sees big potential in the Gulf

Bitwise MD K. Somyos at the Thailand factory, which manufactures Coolwave air-con units for export to the Middle East
Bitwise MD K. Somyos at the Thailand factory, which manufactures Coolwave air-con units for export to the Middle East

Thailand, a major global manufacturer of air-con equipment, is looking to the Middle East to bolster its local exports.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the seventh Bangkok Refrigeration, Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (RHVAC) 2009 expo at the Impact Convention Centre in Muang Thong, Thailand Commerce Minister Mrs Porntiva Nakasai said: “The Thai Royal government has classified air-conditioners and their spare parts as one of the country’s strategic economic products. As a result, Thailand managed to obtain a substantial income of US$2.5 million (AED9.5 million) in 2008.”

Some of these products exported to the UAE include Coolwave air-conditioners manufactured by one of Thailand’s largest manufacturers, Bitwise. Thailand’s burgeoning role as a major exporter has resulted in Bangkok RHVAC emerging as a critical global showcase of the latest energy-efficiency and ‘green’ trends.

Thailand’s first air-conditioner company, Bitwise began manufacturing ceiling/floor-mounted units in 1989. Today it exports as far afield as South and Central America, the Middle East, Asia, South Africa, Russia and Australia under such brand names as Tasaki and Coolwave.

Sales manager Somphong Srisura says the economic downturn, which has impacted significantly on local exports, has since seen the company diversify into manufacturing lighting accessories, electronic controllers and a range of mechanical and electrical products according to customer specifications.

“Increasing public awareness among consumers around the world towards climate change, global warming and the greenhouse effect have signaled manufacturers in every industry to promptly steer their products and services towards being more environment friendly,” commented Nakasi.

As a result of this ‘green’ drive, export volumes for the last half of 2009 are expected to be higher compared to the beginning of the year. “The expected growth will be driven by increased demand from emerging markets, including the Middle East, Asia, Russia and Eastern Europe,” said Nakasi.

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