Sportswear giant Nike Inc plans to produce up to 20 per cent more goods in Thailand this year than last in a move which will see the value of its orders hit $600 million, it was reported on Monday.

The company is poised to increase the value of its footwear orders by 16 per cent to $350 million, with that rise meaning Thai-made Nike shoes would account for 18 per cent of Nike's overall shoes production, according to a report in the Bangkok Post.

The paper quoted Narong Chokwatana, an adviser to the Pan Group, which makes shoes for Nike, Marks & Spencer and Clarks, as saying that Nike is expected to order 1.9 million pairs of shoes in 2002 compared to a million pairs in 2001.

He added: "Although the price of Thai-made shoes is twice as high as those from competitors such as China and Indonesia, the demand for Thai-made sporting goods persists because of product quality and efficient management.

"Our wages are double those in Indonesia and China, but we can sell the products at the same price and still gain a profit."

The Pan Group produces around 75 per cent of the total amount of shoes made in Thailand for Nike.