Otsuka Pharmaceutical gears up health drink business in Thailand

BANGKOK, NNA - Japan's Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. is gearing up its health drink business in Thailand by establishing a local sales arm and launching an aggressive marketing campaign.

Otsuka Nutraceutical (Thailand) Co., a joint venture with local consumer goods conglomerate Saha Group, will carry out promotional activities by spending 100 million baht ($3 million) or more to leverage sales of its "Pocari Sweat" health drink by 30 percent this year.

"There is a growing sense of awareness about health in Thailand, creating big potential in the health drink and food markets," Takayuki Kushida, managing director of the joint venture, said at a recent inaugural event.

Otsuka Nutraceutical is capitalized at 300 million baht, of which the Otsuka group holds 95 percent and Saha Group the remaining 5 percent.

The joint venture for now focuses only on sales of Pocari Sweat imported from a factory in Indonesia but aims to broaden its product range in the future.

Otsuka plans to beef up sales of the nutrition drink through convenience stores such as 7-Eleven, in addition to its existing channel of Japanese supermarkets.

The sales campaign includes digital marketing and targets consumers aged 25 to 44 who are active in sports and highly conscious about health.

"There is a possibility to build a local factory if annual sales of the health drink top 50 million units," Kushida said without elaboration.