Yakult bets on Myanmar market for further growth

Yakult, the Japan-headquartered probiotic drinks maker, has invested in a US$47 million factory in Myanmar’s Thilawa Special Economic Zone.

Yakult, which has factories in 39 countries around the world, now wants to expand into Myanmar, said Yakult Myanmar Co Ltd’s managing director Mr Hideki Kawasaki at a press conference at Yakult’s new factory in Thilawa SEZ on July 31.

In addition to Japan, Yakult has already established markets in China, US, UK, the European Union and Southeast Asia, where its products are currently available for sale.

Now, there are more than 40 million consumers of Yakult products in 40 countries including Myanmar and Yakult’s average sales per day is worth about US$40million, said Mr Kawasaki.

Built in September 2016, the factory will commence production and operations on August 1 in Myanmar and equipment installed will be aligned with Yakult’s other factories in US and EU. All stages of production will be in line with global production and quality control will also be ensured, he said.

Yakult’s probiotic drink contains more than 8000 LcS (lactobacillus casei strain stirota). These probiotic cultures reach the intestines and help preserve the balance of good and bad bacteria for a good digestive system.

The product also prevents constipation and diarrhea. Consumers can drink a carton and more daily at any age, said officials from Yakult.

In Myanmar, Yakult aims to cover 25pc of the country’s population. With the aim of providing job opportunities to Myanmar housewives, its “Yakult Ladies” will distribute products based on a door to door system, said Mr Kawasaki.

The business will start in Yangon and will expand to Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw, Taunggyi and Mawlamyine and it is expected to cover the whole country in five years, said Mr Kawasaki. Thilawa SEZ, with its infrastructure, power, machineries and one-stop service center, hase served to boost the confidence of Japanese investors wanting to expand in Myanmar, Mr Kawasaki added.

Yakult is not the only company distributing probiotic products in Myanmar. Singapore’s Vitagen also distributes its products in Myanmar last year.

Yakult’s founder Mr Minoru Shirota succeeded in experiment breeding of Lactobacillus casei strain Stirota (AKA) lactic acid culture, which benefits human health, in 1930 and started production of cutured milk under the “Yakult” brand in 1935.

At the end of March 2019, Yakult had around 27,000 staff in 39 countries and over 81,000 “Yakult Ladies” worldwide.

Source: Myanmar Times

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