Saturday, November 6, 2010

Coke's Investment in Malaysia

I received an invitation to attend the HELP University College Inter-College Toastmasters meeting this afternoon, and I turned up. It was a good turnout – altogether 32 Toastmasters came. The bulk of them were members of HUC and Taylor’s University, a handful from Sunway and token representation by Universiti Malaya and HICT (Yep, you guessed it – I was their sole representative!). In addition, visiting Toastmasters from D’Utama and Speecom came too. If I may say so, there was entertainment when not a few HUC Toastmasters were demonstrating Jason Moi’s famed theatrics – and I suppose that alone is worth the trip to Pusat Bandar Damansara, KL. There was a newbie speaker – Isabell from Taylor’s – who acquitted herself very well in the Table Topics session as well as when she delivered her maiden Ice-breaker speech. She will definitely go far and yes, I was suitably impressed. My only complaint was that the meeting started 32 minutes late, and my hands had to grip my chair because otherwise, I would have walked out. I’m a stickler for punctuality, so starting late is not something that I can endure. Yes, I did tell them off as diplomatically as I can, but really, I don’t believe in the soft approach. Still, an enjoyable meeting!

“Annual per capita consumption of Coca-Cola drinks in Malaysia is still relatively low but the population is growing and people are becoming more middle-class and adopting urban lifestyles; we will grow with that,” The Coca-Cola Company chairman and chief executive officer Muhtar Kent who was on his first trip to Malaysia said during an interview session here on Thursday. As I read this news in today's Star (p SBW17), I shook my head because his assessment of Malaysia was so quaint, so whimsical, so dated. I think Coke has already missed the boat. And I don’t think the beverage giant will do very well in this market. I am a Coke drinker but even now, I alternate between different beverages. There was a time not too long ago when I drank at least two cans of Coke a day – today, it is a wonder if I even drink a can a day! Still, good luck to Coke on their RM1 billion investment committed here over the next five years! They will need lots of luck! And marketing efficacy too!

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