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04
Dec

The South East Asian Probiotics Market Is On The Cusp Of Breaking The Fuck Higher

This is already a developed market in Europe, Japan, China, India, and North America worth $40+ billion. The exact market size is irrelevant but just know it is gargantuan. In South East Asia, surprisingly, it has only started developing. The market size is still small and not many are interested in investing in this space. In addition, governments have yet to catch up with regulation surrounding the handling of live organisms in pharma, making it somewhat a grey area.

The current market in Indonesia, a country of 250 million+ people is estimated by credible sources around me to be around $30 million USD. $30 million is peanuts, a mere drop in the big ocean of opportunity, and if you look at Malaysia, it is even less – around $20 million. In Thailand, that number is a paltry $2-3 million, which is a little confusing since Thailand is quite advanced, but on the plus side this signals a big opportunity.

These South East Asian numbers are rounding errors, and big pharma has no interest in getting involved just yet. Few companies are taking this space seriously, but overseas the probiotic market is developing and growing fast. For the life of me, the reason that the Thai probiotic market has not yet developed remains a mystery to me, but without question, it will catch up, and quickly.

Other areas in this region, such as Indonesia, are plagued with poor government policies hindering the growth of this industry. Probiotics are only allowed to be manufactured in a specified area cordoned off from other factories and in addition they need 3rd party studies to be done locally in order to get their product approved. That makes little sense to anyone, including the ones who implemented those policies, but nevertheless is the path they chose to take.

In Thailand, fortunately, regulators choose not to partake in any of that drivel. Laws surrounding the manufacturing of probiotics are surprisingly lax. Although the market has not gained much traction, my partners that deal with hospitals regularly are seeing a lot of demand from doctors for probiotics – a curious observation, which served as the backbone reasoning for our experimentation in this market.

There are many thousands of probiotics strains being researched intensively and developed as we speak. Each arguably has its own advantage and can be backed by years of clinical studies, and each come with their own chain of suppliers. To work with all of them would be unfeasible and downright confusing.

Rather than choosing a strain based on accessibility, we decided to go with the demand. There is one particular strain, owned by a Danish company, that is considered here to be the best and is sought after by most doctors. Supply is almost non-existent so doctors simply bypass it for other solutions for treating similar symptoms, such as yeast-based products, which is an equally effective alternative. They are, however, ready willing to list probiotics into their hospitals, and getting jump started with customers shouldn’t be too difficult after we launch.

Ultimately, this project is still a venture, albeit a more attractive and focused one since the barriers of entry for competition is much higher. I don’t expect it to come into fruition within the next 6 or even 12 months, but rather 2-10 years later. The market will take time to develop, but god willing when it does, there will be monstrous gains to be had.