Changing Gears

The brands owner Watawala Plantations Ltd., the biggest exporter of Ceylon Tea to Malaysia, has held detailed discussions with Sri Lankas High Commissioner designate to that country and former Mrs. World Rosy Senanayake on this initiative.

Plans announced this week by Watawala include the setting up of Zesta shops modeled on the prototype at Colombos Taj Samudra hotel, in up-market shopping malls and hotels in Malaysia.

Watawala Plantations Director Dushy Ratnasingham said the companys successful marketing of Zesta in many export markets had earned it a US$ 30,000 (about Rs. 2.9 mn) incentive from the Sri Lanka Tea Board, and these funds would be invested in further promoting the brand as well as Ceylon Tea in general.

He said Mrs. Senanayake, who has also been involved in tea promotion in the early part of her career, had been briefed in detail about the companys plans for Malaysia, and the support it would need.

According to Watawala Plantations, the companys flagship brand Zesta is the highest selling Ceylon Tea brand in Malaysia, accounting for 32 percent of all Ceylon Tea in the value-added (predominantly tea bags) segment in that country.

In terms of total exports too, Watawala is the biggest player in Malaysia, with a 16 per cent share of total Ceylon Tea exports.

Watawala Plantations also exports Zesta to discerning and diverse markets like Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, India, Syria and the Maldives. The brand has also been accorded exclusive status on all Air India flights.

Malaysia is to be the focus of a major marketing drive for Ceylon Tea by Zesta, one of the countrys key value-added tea brands.