80th Anniversary of success, “Hong Thong Rice” spread its wings to be a leading global rice supplier
"Hong Thong Rice" or "Golden Phoenix" celebrates its 80th anniversary, from small rice mill to spreading its wings to be a leading global rice supplier. Proactive marketing together with strengthening its brand to engage with consumers, and honestly conducting business to deliver high quality products to consumers, according to its motto "Quality-led, fair price, serve honestly", the company currently distributes its products nationwide and across the world : in Asia, Europe, America, Africa, Australia. The company boasts its turnover of high-quality 100% jasmine rice at 15% growth to 250,000 tonnes in 2017. From the current production capacity of 300,000 tonnes per year, the company is expecting the sales volume of 400,000 tonnes per year in the next 5 years. The company recently launched the new product "Zuper Rice" with 6 times higher anthocynanin than what is found in typical brown rice to attract those health-conscious consumers. In 3nd quarter, the company will launch the new rice for fluffy and tender rice lovers at a reasonable price, which is good for current rice market situation with the total market share of 50,000 million Baht.
Mr. Vallop Manathanya, the Chairman of Bangsue Chia Meng Rice Mill Company Limited (BSCM) announces that "Hong Thong" brand has started its business 80 years ago by his grandfather, Mr. Bualim Saekow – the ancestor of "Manathanya" family, who left his starvation in mainland China and migrated into Thailand, then began the milled rice trading business at Sam Yan area. His grandfather's 2 sons, Mr. Kosol and Mr. Kamol, who assisted him to do the trading business always dreamed of having their own rice mill. In 1937 that both Mr. Kosol and Mr. Kamol leased a vacant rice mill located in Bangsue district from Phraya Manavarajasevi (also known as Thaan Chao Khun Maan); it was earmarked as the first year of the Manathanya family's rice business.
Mr. Kosol and Mr. Kamol, as the key persons of all works, devoted themselves mostly to their business, hence they barely had time to go to school. Once rice was milled, the 10 tonnes milled rice would be loaded into a wooden boat with canopy, then transported to the marketplace around Tewet canal and Makkawan bridge for sales. The rice sales took 5-6 days each round. Phraya Manavarajasevi admired their great perseverance, he gave their family name as "Manathanya" which means the family of those who show their perseverance in working with grains, i.e. rice. In 1956 Phraya Manavarajasevi sold his land where the rice mill was located to Mr. Kosol and Mr. Kamol with 115,000 Baht in exchange.
"We started our business from trading "milled rice", then we developed and expanded our business by trading rice both in the domestic and international markets. Our philosophy of doing business is to maintain high quality of goods, to keep our words and promises, and to conduct our business honestly. These mindsets have encouraged the business growth for 80 years and it is continuously happening in the future too. Additionally, taking good care of our upstream and downstream partners (suppliers, customers, farmers, rice mills, financial institutions, packaging manufacturers), and our international distributors in many countries such as United States of America, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Guam, Japan, etc. as well as great support receiving from sector are the very important factors behind our success.", Mr. Vallop said.
Mr. Vallop added that the company's sales volume in 2017 was 250,000 tonnes or 15% growth compared with year 2016; however, the sales value slightly went downwards because the rice price decreased. Most of the sale was generated from selling the company's own brand – Hong Thong or Golden Phoenix; it was more than 85% of total sales volume. 95% of our products sold was jasmine rice and the rest of sale volume was from the company's 3 other brands. As most of the sales was generated from the products with the company's own brand, it ensured the company's high degree of stability.
In the next 5 years, the company projects the export volume at 400,000 tonnes or at 10% growth per annum, with the targeted export value at 9,000 – 10,000 million Baht. With the company owned rice mills in Nonthaburi, Si Saket, Roi Et, and Suphanburi which are the points of rice purchase and the production plants of white rice and fragrant rice, the company's total production capacity reaches 300,000 tonnes per year.
In order to develop and maintain the high quality of the company's products, the company introduces farmers to the cost-cutting rice growing method that produces higher yield with the project named "Hong Thong Rice Drop" (a method of growing rice by way of rainfed agriculture) in Si Saket and Ubon Ratchathani. Up till now 2,000 farmers with total paddy field area of 40,000 Rai have joined the group. This rice drop method saves 20% of the rice growing cost when compares with the original rice growing method, and results in 20% higher yield. Consequently the farmers' profit is about 3,000 Baht per Rai. Not only does the project gain reputation among the farmers, but also be admired by all sectors. The project is selected as one of the Pracharat's pilot projects on rice farming in Thailand.
Additionally, the company emphasizes the importance of all employees' quality of life and believes that human resources are of the highest value because it affects the company's turnover. Therefore, the company invests a lot in capacity building, job training, and employees' healthcare. To help the employees maintains their wealth, the company establishes Hong Thong Rice saving cooperative, and encourages the employees to pay up all their debt owed to loan sharks, and introduces the employees to the finance services offered by the saving cooperative to bring stability to their lives such as finance for children's education, for parents expenses, for housing, for vehicle buying.
Mrs. Sopan Manathanya, the Managing Director of Chia Meng Marketing Company Limited, the manufacturer and distributor of "Hong Thong" rice talked about domestic market strategy that in 2018 the company has planned for new strategy to enter the digital era. The online marketing on social networks such as website, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube will become an important channel. Currently there are more than 200,000 active members of the company's fan page. E-commerce currently takes place on Marketplace Platform : Lazada, 11street, Shopee, Weloveshopping and we are making it happen on JD Central. The company aims that the activities and transactions on these channels will grow more than 100% in 2018 and more than 200% in 2019.
"Even though we are relentlessly developing online store, but we do not leave the retails behind. At this moment, we operate 3 Hong Thong Rice retail stores named "Hong Thong Health Station". We recently bought 4 healthcare shops named "Bai Miang". We are certain that consumers can definitely reach our product", Mrs. Sopan added.
For 80th anniversary of Hong Thong Rice, Mrs. Sopan announced that "We invented and developed new products as an alternative for consumer. The new product already available in the market is called "Zuper Rice" which is the combination of 3 kinds of super brown rice and the antioxidant found in them is 6 times higher than what is found in typical brown rice. Another product will be launched in 3rd quarter. It is the rice for fluffy and tender rice lovers at a reasonable price – good for current rice market situation. We conduct special activities to attract consumers throughout this year, including selling our products at special prices at leading hypermarket such as Big C or Tesco Lotus. Those activities are conducted to let consumers celebrate our 80th anniversary with us, and make them feel like they are one of Hong Thong Rice members."
"Apart from making the consumers our Hong Thong Rice family member, the company have been maintaining high quality of goods, and conducting our business with honesty, keeping our words, establishing and maintaining our reputation, according to the company's motto "Quality-led, fair price, serve honestly". This is Hong Thong Rice's business philosophy that we have maintained throughout 80 years", Mrs. Sophanclosed.