Pepsi, The No.1 Soda In Thailand, Just Had Its Market Share Wiped Out By A Lookalike Brand as market share plunged from 48% to 15%

Pepsi, The No.1 Soda In Thailand, Just Had Its Market Share Wiped Out By A Lookalike Brand

Jim Edwards | Mar. 11, 2013, 10:42 AM | 2,602 | 4

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For years, Pepsi was the No.1 soda in Thailand, with a 48 percent market share. Coke was only the second most popular drink there, with 42 percent.

But all that changed late last year when PepsiCo failed to renew a distribution contract. Pepsi’s main retail distributor withdrew all Pepsi products from its shelves and replaced them with “Est,” its own Pepsi-lookalike brand.

By the end of the year, it became difficult to find Pepsi in Thailand, Reuters reports.

Now, Pepsi has only a 15 percent share of the market. Coke is No.1. Est is probably the No.2 brand, with a 19 percent share, and something called “Big Cola” had a 16 percent share at the end of 2012, according to the Bangkok Post.

The catastrophe happened because PepsiCo tried, and failed, to take over the distributor, Serm Suk. When the contract ended, Serm Suk launched Est in Pepsi’s place.

The screwup occurred during a time of turmoil for PepsiCo’s drinks divisions. The company has lost 30 senior brand managers since 2008. Revenue In PepsiCo’s Asia, Middle East and Africa unit declined in 2012 from $7.4 billion to $6.6 billion.

Pepsi is building its own $170 million bottling plant in Rayong, and has partnered with DHL for national delivery.

But many Thais still can’t find Pepsi in a store near them:

“It’s pretty much impossible to find a bottle of Pepsi these days,” said Itiporn Lakarnchua who works for an English-language radio station in Bangkok.

“I still prefer Pepsi to Est,” says Ramet Rattanakansang, “but I couldn’t find any Pepsi cans so I have to switch to Est for the moment.”

One analyst expects Est to solidify it status as the No.2 brand by the end of the year.

Not helping the situation: Pepsi switched from glass bottles to plastic ones. In Thailand, many people believe glass helps soda keep its fizz longer. Est comes in glass bottles.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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