Thailand’s Ichitan foray into the Indonesian RTD tea market is by far one of the most interesting developments in the RTD tea industry.First, this is the first attempt by a Thai company to challenge Japanese and Indonesian in the RTD tea segment.
Second, Ichitan has partnered with Indonesian billionaire Djoko Susanto who owns Indonesia’s biggest minimart chain by revenue Alfamart, which will give Ichitan instant access to 9,276 outlets of Djoko’s retail empire as of the end of 2013. These comprise 583 Alfamidi outlets, 70 Alfa Express, 62 Lawson and 8,557 Alfamart.
Third, Ichitan’s founder Tan Passakornnatee is a marketing genius. Tan knows the pulse of the Thai consumer market.
Ichitan will be targeting the RTD tea in PET bottle, not RTD tea in carton, which is dominated by Teh Kotak (Ultrajaya), Sosro (Sinar Sosro) and Teh Gelas (OT Group)
Nielsen retail audit. Information obtained from Ultrajaya 2013 annual results presentation slides
For the PET segment, Ichitan is likely to take on players in the Japanese tea segment where Suntory and Asahi and their local partners are active. The Kiyora RTD tea of Ito-En-Ultrajaya is the latest product in the market. It is still too early to tell what sort of RTD tea will Ichitan launch for the Indonesian market. The most likely product will be Ichitan’s existing RTD tea but the sweetness must be increased to satisfy the Indonesian penchant for sweet drink. Even the supposedly green tea drink has to have the jasmine scent. A marketing blitz of the Tan Passakornnatee’s style may be in the offing too.