The firms will spend BT300 million (€6.1m) on launching Kirin's Namacha brand green tea, with the aim of capturing a 10 per cent share in the local market in its first year, reported the Bangkok Post.
Green tea is the fastest growing non-alcoholic drink in Thailand, rising from sales of just US$650,000 in 2001 to $150 million in 2004. A report for the US Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) estimated that sales last year would reach some $250 million, although growth is expected to decline.
Kirin and Osotspa set up Siam Kirin Beverage Co in May last year to market the Namacha brand - already successful in Japan - in this new growth market. It will initially offer the tea in two flavours - original and low sweet - and target fashionable young women using a major TV and outdoor advertising campaign that kicks off this week.
The company, which will change its name to Osotspa Kirin Beverage, is 49 per cent-owned by Kirin, while Osotspa holds a 49.5 per cent share.
Akira Sato, the marketing director of Kirin Beverage, told the paper that his company intended to become a leading player in Thailand's beverage industry within three years.
It will compete with Unif, which held a 45 per cent market share in 2004, as well as Nestle, Oishi, Tipco and Ajinomoto's Sencha brand.
The authors of the FAS report expect however to see contraction in this segment with consolidation and slower growth.
Kirin will however be hoping to repeat it strong base at home, where it sold 35 million cases of the Namacha brand last year.