The world-famous Pantip Plaza mall – the place to go for computer, software and digital gear for four decades – is no more.
The mall, located in the Pratunam area of Bangkok, isn’t being torn down, but is being converted into a food-wholesale center to be called “AEC Food Wholesale Pratunam”. It will be an integrated wholesale platform that will connect both online and offline wholesale experiences.
The project, which requires an investment of 10 billion baht, is being billed as an “integrated wholesale platform for non-stop opportunity”. According to Asset World Corp Plc., which owns the project, the new center will no longer focus on IT or use the name Pantip. IT will be limited to a corner, and its area will be gradually reduced.
Pantip Plaza opened in 1984 and became known as a place to buy IT products and computer software. During its boom, the place was known as a haven for people looking for pirated computer programs.
In 1987, TCC Group, which was founded by Thai tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, bought the property and turned it into an IT mall.
In 2021, with Pantip Plaza’s declining popularity as an IT mall, AWC, a subsidiary of TCC Group, rebranded it as “AEC Trade Center Pantip Pratunam”.
With the rise of e-commerce and online shopping – as well as the emergence of the Fortune Town IT-centric mall easily accessible via the MRT subway. Line – Pantip Plaza became less and less relevant. It no longer was the place where tourists and locals went to buy electronics, computer software and hardware at affordable prices.
Pantip Plaza’s popularity skyrocketed in the 1990s, becoming a destination for tech-savvy locals and tourists alike. It was known for selling both genuine and pirated products at bargain prices.
A walk through Pantip Plaza today proves that it’s no longer a major attraction for tourists visiting Bangkok. Where once it was a bustling shopping center, it’s now an empty shell, with closed and vacant stalls outnumbering occupied spaces by about 5-1.
It was once known for its culture of haggling, where customers could negotiate prices with vendors to get the best possible deals. Pantip was a cultural icon of Bangkok, and its transformation into a food wholesale center reflects the city’s changing economic landscape.
As AEC Food Wholesale Pratunam starts operations in June, the name Pantip will be gone 39 years after it came into existence.
Pantip Plaza Closing, Food Center Arrives in June
AWC CEO Wallapa Traisorat said that the reimagined mall would increase the potential for buyers and sellers to transact more conveniently, from product sourcing to delivery and payment.
Buyers and sellers of food products in the ASEAN Economic Community can engage in business negotiations offline at the premises on any day and via its online platform around the clock. The AEC Food Wholesale Pratunam, which covers a gross floor area of 67,000 sq. meters, will offer access to more than 600 leading operators of food products from around the world.
The Southeast Asia food market is estimated to be worth US$700 billion this year and is expected to expand by 30% within the next five years to $900 billion. Thailand’s food market is about 10% of the entire Southeast Asian region, worth about 2 trillion baht, and has seen strong growth.
Many state agencies and private businesses have been involved in the project. These include the Thai Commerce and Industry ministries, as well as the foreign chambers of commerce from the UK, China, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Spain. Several leading Thai food producers are also a part of the project, including Berli Jucker, CPF Global Food Solution, Thai Beverage, Thai Union, Betagro, and Tipco Foods.