Daewoo eyes 10 markets in S.E. Asia

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Daewoo eyes 10 markets in S.E. Asia

Daewoo Electronics will further expand into Southeast Asian markets next year, the company said yesterday.

It is exporting 3,000 washing machines to Singapore and the Philippines this month and has plans to ship refrigerators and microwaves to the same countries next year, officials said.

“The size of the market for home appliances in the Southeast Asia region is growing rapidly,” said an official at Daewoo Electronics. “We will accelerate our efforts to penetrate into these markets.”

Daewoo’s electronic goods will be sold in 10 countries in the region next year including Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, he added.

The company has been aggressively targeting these countries as a free trade agreement among Asean members, including Korea, will start eliminating tariffs on member countries’ products this year.

“As we currently pay tariffs of up to 30 percent, we expect the FTA deal will dramatically lower the prices of our products in the future,” the official explained.

According to industry sources, markets in Southeast Asian countries have been traditionally dominated by Japanese electronics goods makers such as Toshiba, Hitachi and Sharp, but Daewoo said it saw an opportunity to boost its brand power as its Japanese rivals battle with a stronger yen.

“Our products are 10 percent to 15 percent cheaper than our Japanese rivals,” the official said.

Daewoo plans to start selling products that suit the habits of local people, it said. In hot and humid Vietnam, it will sell indirect-cooling refrigerators that keep food fresh and cool rather than another kind that freezes food quickly.

In Malaysia, where the per capita income is relatively low, the company will sell top-loading washing machines instead of more expensive drum type versions.

“The Southeast Asian region is a strategic market where Daewoo has lots of strengths,” said Lee Kang-hoon, who is in charge of overseas sales.

“We will also move to expand our market shares of emerging premium home appliances, such as drum type washing machines and new kinds of refrigerators,” he added.

By Kim Ki-hwan [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

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