The Thailand Developer Asian Property Development will be renamed AP (Thailand) so that the company can focus on the corporate AP brand and pursue business expansion across the country, having kicked off its first provincial residential project in Udon Thani.
Executive vice president Vitakarn Jantavimol said the listed developer's board had approved the renaming of the company last week. It will be proposed to shareholders at their annual meeting on April 30.
"Assuming our shareholders give their approval, we will use AP (Thailand) to support our business strategy to build the corporate brand and expand our investment in Bangkok and the provinces," he said.
Branding is necessary for property firms, as it supports their sustainable growth in the long term, he added.
"After changing the corporate name, it will be easier to communicate with customers. Our current corporate name could be related to other businesses, sometimes confusing customers about our products and brand," he said.
AP (Thailand) has also developed a sales process to match the marketing strategy to support expansion from Bangkok and the suburbs out into the provinces, said chief commercial officer Marote Wananan.
This will support business expansion to all market segments, and its long-term goal of reaching all provinces."Before we expand our business into the provinces, we will study customers' behaviour [in each province], and especially what they demand," he said.
For example, the company's launch of the Bt705-million Aspire Udon Thani followed a study of its potential customer base in the province and matched the design of the project to meet their requirements.
This is why more than 70% of the project was sold before its grand opening, he added.
However, the company is being cautious in expanding its business in the provinces because the provincial market is now what he termed a "speed game". That is, whichever developer arrives first will also be first to get customers in that area.
As a result, when the company selects a province in which to launch a project, it has to be the first player in that particular area, he said.
Following the success of the Udon Thani venture, the company now plans to launch two further projects in the northern and central parts of the country. Chiang Rai and Phitsanulok are among the provinces being studied. The projects will form part of 23 new residential projects worth Bt24.74 billion that will be launched in 2013, Marote said.
Initial focus on provincial condos
Chief financial officer Pumipat Sinacharoen said the company planned to launch three to five projects per year in the provinces, with an initial focus on condominiums.
"We are expanding our investment into the provinces following the government's policy to spend Bt2 trillion on infrastructure, which will increase the number of residential locations from Bangkok to neighbouring provinces, and also to provinces far from the capital. This is a challenge for property firms to expand their provincial investment," he said.
However, the company will focus on locations where there is less competition, as highly competitive places such as Phuket, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin and Khon Kaen already have more than enough supply from both local and listed property firms, he added.
Given its provincial expansion in 2013, the company targets growth of 17% on the back of total revenue coming in at Bt20 billion.
Half of the income will be from condominiums, and the other half from detached housing and townhouses. The company's 2013 presales target is between Bt23 billion and Bt25 billion, Pumipat said.