A Chinese e-cigarette maker wants to attract at least 1.5 million users in the Philippines in five years even as the Duterte administration moves to further tighten its grip on the growing industry.
RELXTech launched its e-cigarette brand in the Philippines on Friday as it aims to convince adult smokers to make the switch to the allegedly safer smoking alternative.
The company, which claims to be the top e-cigarette brand in Asia, is even considering to put up a manufacturing site in Southeast Asia, its first outside of China. A top official said the Philippines was a potential candidate for this site.
Di Yang, RELX director for Southeast Asia, told reporters on the sideline of the launch that the Beijing-based company wanted to eventually attract 10 to 20 percent of the 15 million tobacco users in the Philippines.
This is under the assumption that the number of tobacco users remains at 15 million in the next few years.
The company has so far enjoyed enormous success since being founded in January last year. In just less than two years, Yang said the company, which sells in more than 50 countries, already had eight million users worldwide.
Apart from launching its product, it also partnered with a business process outsourcing company in the Philippines to provide customer support for its English-speaking market. Yang did not give the name of the BPO firm.
Here in the Philippines, it has already partnered with chain retailers Lighters Galore and Fuma, which both have more than a hundred outlets in the country. It is also in talks with convenience stores 7-Eleven and Family Mart, which could spike its reach with the addition of more than 2,000 outlets.
In the Philippines, its standard e-cigarette is sold at a retail price of P1,599, with more variants to be introduced depending on how the market would respond.
“[The e-cigarettes] are all manufactured in China right now, but we are also actively looking to manufacture them in Southeast Asia as well,” he said.
When asked if the Philippines is also a candidate for their manufacturing site, he said this “depends on regulation because regulation decides the growth pace.”
The Chinese brand is entering the Philippine market at a time when the government is poised to regulate the e-cigarette industry, from slapping taxes to banning diverse flavors.