In a groundbreaking move that underscores shifting dynamics in the Asia Pacific retail market, Thailand’s leading supermarket chain, Big C Supercenter, has made its mark on Hong Kong’s retail scene. The retail behemoth has acquired Hong Kong’s renowned retail chain, AbouThai, setting the stage for an ambitious expansion plan.
- Strategic Acquisition: Big C Supercenter assimilates AbouThai, transitioning all its physical outlets under the “Big C” brand.
- Dual Listing Agenda: Big C’s holding firm eyes dual listings in both Hong Kong and Bangkok, potentially by the fourth quarter.
- Rapid Expansion: Aswin Techajareonvikul, CEO of Big C Supercenter, unveils plans to invest HK$158 million in three years, aiming to inaugurate 99 stores by 2026.
- Job Creation: The expansion will usher in employment opportunities, with 500 new roles on the horizon.
- Significance for Hong Kong: This move marks Big C’s maiden venture outside Southeast Asian nations, highlighting Hong Kong’s swift pandemic recovery and its pivotal financial role in Asia.
As the top executive of Big C Supercenter, Techajareonvikul outlined the company’s strategic roadmap in an interaction with SCMP. However, he chose to remain tight-lipped about the acquisition’s financial specifics. In a proactive stride, the company has already initiated the process for a dual listing, having submitted an application to The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) for Big C Retail Corporation, which is the holding entity for Big C Supercenter.
While the company eyes a listing by the year’s end, Techajareonvikul has also been in dialogues with key financial stakeholders in Hong Kong, underscoring the importance of this move.
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The entry of Big C in Hong Kong is particularly notable. Currently operating approximately 2,000 outlets across countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, this is Big C’s debut outside its comfort zone in Southeast Asia. Techajareonvikul expressed confidence in Hong Kong, citing its resilience during the pandemic and its indispensable role as a financial nexus connecting Southeast Asian markets with mainland China.
A brief look at AbouThai reveals its essence. Founded in 2015 and symbolizing “About Thailand,” AbouThai has carved its niche by directly importing a diverse range of Thai products, spanning from herbal solutions and edibles to furniture and beauty essentials. Until the acquisition, AbouThai had been steadily growing its footprint, with 25 active branches and the inception of the “ABT Convenience Store.