News Bites: March
Poipot border town to see Big C Supercenter
Big C Super Center Plc. will invest US$6.8 million to build a Big C Supercenter in Poipot, a town that shares its border with Thailand. The Supercenter was approved by the Council for Development Cambodia on 20th February 2019.
Country’s first subway allocated room for 16 retail outlets
Indonesia’s first subway system, PT Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Jakarta, allocated space in 5 of its stations for 16 small and medium sized enterprise outlets. Of the 16 outlets, 8 are designated food outlets, supported by 5 fashion outlets and three handcraft shops.
American pretzel franchise launches first outlet in Myanmar
Auntie Anne’s, a popular American Pretzel chain, opens its first outlet in Myanmar in Junction City Mall in Yangon. The master franchise partner for Auntie Anne’s in Myanmar is granted to Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd. The company said in a press release that the decision to bring in Auntie Anne’s under baked goods category was made after an in-depth study of dining preference of resident consumers.
Rakhine opens new beaches for hotel investments
Several beaches along the state of Rakhine coast will be open to new hotel projects to draw in tourism investments, according to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism and the Rakhine State Government. The Ministry has designated the Gyite Taw, Maw Yone and Maung Shwe Lay beaches in Southern Rakhine as new hotel destinations due to their proximity to existing popular beaches such as Ngapali beach.
Central Bank to implement QR code system this year
Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) is set to implement QR (Quick Response) code payment system this year. CBM is currently in talks with international payment firms to coordinate a standardized national standard QR codes to be used within the country.
Jewel Changi Airport opens on 17th April
Jewel Changi Airport, a S$1.7 billion (US$1.25 billion) lifestyle and retail development, will officially be open for business on 17th April this year. The development boasts of 280 retail outlets, lush greenery, two walking trails, and the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. Several F&B brands that will be launching their first outlet in the country with the opening of the Jewel, including Swiss Chocolatier Laderach, Norwegian seafood restaurant Pink Fish, London’s Burger and Lobster, and American Shake Shack.
Singapore to develop new Agri-food Innovation Park
Singapore will build a new Agri-food Innovation Park to develop the country’s food and agri-tech sector. The first phase of the 18-hectare park will be completed from the second quarter of 2021.
MOH to ban partially hydrogenated oils
Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on 6th March 2019 that it is planning to ban the use of partially hydrogenated oils (PHO). Fats and oils on sale in Singapore are currently allowed to contain up to 2% of trans fat. The new ban will also apply to packaged food such as noodles and biscuits.
GSB to extend B5 billion in loans to food vendors
State-owned Government Savings Bank (GSB) will strive to extend B5 billion (US$157.6 million) of loans to street food vendors this year at a rate of 0.5-0.85% a month. Street food hawkers may apply for B100,000 (US$3,151) loan. Food truck vendors may apply for B500,000 (US$15,758) loan. In 2018, GSB extended B3 billion (US$94.5) in loans to street vendors.
Erawan Group to launch 3 new budget hotels
Erawan Group will launch three new budget hotels in Bangkok this year. The new hotels, Hop Inn Chaengwattana, Hop Inn Rangsit and Mercure Ibis Sukhumvit 24, will cater to both local and international customers. The group will be investing B3 billion (US$94.5) in refurbishing existing hotels and new hotels this year.
AOT approve guidelines to auction retail licenses for Suvarnabhumi Airport
State-owned Airports of Thailand Pcl (AOT) approved guidelines on Wednesday 20th February to open retail space at Bangkok's international Suvarnabhumi Airport to new players. King Power whose sole license for duty-free retail, commercial activity at all of Thailand's major airports is set to expire next year.
Taiwanese Louisa Coffee launched first store in Bangkok
Louisa Coffee, a Taiwanese chain, launched its first store in Amarin Plaza Bangkok in March 2019, capitalizing on rising popularity of coffee in the country. Coffee consumption in Thailand amounted to 70,000-80,000 tons annually in the past 3-5 years. Consumption is expected to grow to more than 300,000 tons a year within the next three years.
First Taco Bell outlet opens in Bangkok
Taco Bell opened its first outlet in Thailand on 24th January this year. Flavors and spice levels in the corn-based snack being sold in Bangkok were ramped up to appeal to Thai palates. Taco Bell Group said in a press release that the company plans to open 40 branches in Thailand over the next 5 years.
Franchise business to grow 10% in 2019
Gnosis Co, a franchise consultancy, told local media that the number of new franchise brands in Thailand is expected to grow by 10% to 630 brands. Gnosis said that currently there are more than 50 food and services chains looking into opportunities in Thailand this year. The Thai franchise business is estimated to be worth about B250-300 billion (US$7.9-9.5 billion).
Hyatt Hotels to build hotel on Phu Quoc Island
Hyatt Hotels Corporation entered an agreement with Vietnamese BIM Group which participates in tourism development and real estate to develop the Park Hyatt Hotel on Phu Quoc Island which is a 30 min drive from Phu Quoc International Airport. The hotel is expected to open in 2022.
Wyndham opens first hotel in Hanoi
Wyndham Hotel & Resorts, the world’s largest hotel franchising company, launched its first hotel in Hanoi. Wyndham Garden Hanoi is an upper-midscale hotel developed by PPC An Thịnh Investment and Infrastructure Development JSC (PPCAT). Wyndham Garden Hanoi is Wyndham’s second property in Vietnam after Wyndham Legend Halong. Wyndham Soleil Danang, a third project, is scheduled to commence operations later this year.