Why Expand to Thailand
Following the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the former Tiger Economy of Thailand had a rude awakening. Tiger Economy was a name for the Asian economies that experienced rapid year on year growth for the period leading up to 1997. The economic crisis led to a collapse of the Thai currency and mass unemployment. Since Thailand’s recovery, the country is keen to avoid repeating the financial mistakes of its past. With improved checks and balances in its banking system and an enterprising workforce, renowned for their high work ethic, Thailand is trying hard to attract business. British goods are welcomed in Thailand and labor costs are low.
Tesco, The Body Shop and Marks and Spencer are among the number of companies that have been lured by the country’s incentives. Despite the economy having again been badly affected by the current global economic crisis, with the government exploring a tariff free movement through the ASEAN region and a stimulus package in place, Thailand is fighting to emerge as an economic prospect. With good infrastructure, cheap start-up costs for new businesses and its geographical proximity to the Asian markets to consider, bedazzling Thailand starts to make sense. Licensing or incorporating a business in Thailand are also valuable options.
Main industrial Sectors
- Industry and Manufacturing – Thailand is the centre for automotive manufacturing in South East Asia, with brands like Ford and Toyota active in the country. Having acquired the ominous nickname of The Detroit of Asia, Thailand produces, cars, trucks and scooters. The subsequent sub-industries related to automotive production also exist in the country, with steel, parts and machinery produced. Thailand also manufactures light industry products, such as appliances, textiles and computers. However, with 60% of Thailands GDP reliant on exports, the global downturn has hit the country hard, with exports to the US falling and factory workers being laid off.
- Tourism – The Thai tourism industry is a large part of the economy, with visitors attracted to its tropical beaches and cultural monuments. However, tourism has been affected by the swine flu pandemic and political unrest, with visitor numbers down 20% to around 11million.
- Agriculture – Thailand is one of the worlds leading exporters of rice and shrimp and agriculture remains an important part of its economy. Thailand also has the most advanced food processing industry in South East Asia, worth around US$10billion annually.
Growth Sectors and main opportunity industries
- Consumer Goods – Although the Thai economy has been severely damaged by the economic downturn, a survey of consumer confidence showed an increased optimism in the figures, with the Thai economic stimulus package thought to be aiding the recovery.
- Medical/Health Products- Thailand is one of the worlds top destinations for medical tourism, with nearly 2 million foreign patients visiting each year for a range of competitively priced treatments and services. The market is advanced with procedures like stem cell treatment available. The domestic drugs and medical market is worth over US$1billion annually and there are openings in the market, particularly in the treatment of the elderly.
- Education and Training – With the Thais reputation as a highly motivated and dedicated population, with a high work ethic, as Thailand emerges from its current economic malaise, the prospects for UK training courses or education schemes are promising. With English language a key skill, and UK expertise highly regarded, there are encouraging signs.
- Light-infrastructure goods/services – With locations outside Bangkok receiving attractive government investment incentives, including an eight-year corporate tax exemption, there is scope for light infrastructure investment. In the long-term, industries such as telecommunications are potential growth markets with low operating costs.
The Omega project can assist your company on the local market:
- Multi-lingual website & e-commerce;
- Research and information;
- Discovery of a new brands / products;
- Other tasks.