Golden Place, the Thai retailer of eco-friendly fruit and vegetables partly owned by the King, is courting local investors to open further branches. The produce is not necessarily organic, but has been deemed "chemically safe".

The company currently operates five branches, four of which are in the capital city, Bangkok. Sources close to the company said turnover totalled Bt150m (US$3.4m), generating an approximately 20% profit margin.

The potential investors will be able to become acquainted with the operation of the existing Golden Place outlets. They will be asked to fulfil certain criteria but will not have to pay a franchise fee. They will however need to provide capital of at least Bt3m and find empty buildings at suitable locations. They will also have to commit to taking all their supplies from a central company, yet to be established.

So far, some 160 investors have indicated their interest.