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KUALA LUMPUR: The Red Devils are helping Mamee Double- Decker (M) Bhd (MDD) boost its sales abroad.

Barely a year after it signed the Manchester United (MU) sponsorship deal, the snack maker is reaping the benefits. Its potato chip sales alone have registered 20% to 25% growth since the launch of the sponsorship.

Group general manager of sales and marketing Pierre Pang said the next phase of growth for MDD is in Asean, and the MU sponsorship will give the company a platform.

Pierre said MDD is a strong market leader with 35% to 36% market share particularly led by the two key brands, Mister Potato and Mamee Monster, at home. However, the company is now aiming to grow its presence outside Malaysia.

“MU has an audited fan base of 659 million worldwide, of which half is in Asia. Southeast Asia has a very strong following for the English Premier League as well as MU as a club. With that we identify them as a strong opportunity,” Pierre said.

Through the MU endorsement, MDD’s digital branding is able to reach 1.17 billion households worldwide during all home matches along with the access to the players for commercial collaborations.

“The core focus for us is to use MU to help us penetrate further into Asean markets such as Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia,” said Pierre.

Vuitton Pang, general manager of finance, said: “With the MU platform, we ... have a branded product that elevates [our] brand, and puts [it] into people’s minds, which makes it easier to sell.

“Currently, our export sales represent about 35% of our overall revenue and our ambition is to grow export sales to about 50% by 2015, which is what motivated us to invest heavily in MU.”

MDD has invested RM80 million in a new production facility to support the future growth of exports.

The company’s top five export markets — Australia, Singapore, the Netherlands, Russia and the Maldives — are expected to change drastically within the next three years since Mamee is expanding further into Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan.

Vuitton said MDD would add more production lines in the new plant in Melaka.

The new, automated plant will increase its capacity by 1.5 times. The volume growth is expected to lower costs in the long run by reducing the reliance on labour as well as ensuring the products are consistent and free of any contamination.

“We are officially launching the factory at the end of this year, and we will open the doors for school visits early next year,” said Pierre.

Visits to the factory will allow people to experience the brand and to have a first-hand view of how something they consume is processed.

“This contributes to our overall brand strategy which is to be close and more transparent to the consumer,” Pierre said.

The facility, which was completed in June, produces noodles, the Monster snack and Mister Potato chips. The company plans to expand into other segments, and this facility will be able to cater to the demand.

The company’s investment in the new facility allows it to take care of the marketing side of things as well by allowing visitors to view it.

“In the middle of the new plant, there is an air-conditioned viewing gallery where visitors can watch the entire process of how Mamee instant noodles are processed or how Mamee Monsters are manufactured,” said Pierre.

He reasoned that this strategy will “open our doors, and [allow us] to be transparent with consumers and to showcase the level of processing and quality that we go through to ensure that every MDD product [is] the best quality possible.”

MDD is also setting up a Mamee museum in Jonker Street, which will open before Chinese New Year.

This article appeared in The Edge Financial Daily on September 24, 2012.

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