Thailand manufacturing industry: growth and export opportunities

Thailand, a richly cultured South-east Asian country has been known to contribute to the world market in numerous ways. It’s a popular destination for local and international business ventures. With its steady growth, the country has proven itself worthy of investments and has been doing an impressive job in the commercial field.

From the fields of automobiles, electronics to those involved in food processing are promising investment areas in Thailand.

Auto Sector

According to market research, the automotive industry is the largest in Southeast Asia, and Thailand leads among all of the countries in the region. Being the largest manufacturer of automotive parts and accessories, the steadfast growth of Thailand is not immune to the aftermath of such success. Since 90% of manufacturing of complete knock-down kits (CKD) of cars are made in the country alone, solutions for energy efficiency, environmental technology and fuel efficiency are needed to enhance quality and safety for the labor of parts and tools.

Electronics Market

Thailand has no local manufacturing figures to talk about in this sector as almost all of the electronics here are sourced from other countries. Major imported products include hard disk drives, integrated circuits, semiconductors, compressors and equipment for mobile phones.

Local production does take place but it largely involves assembly and testing of HDDS, ICs and other electronic components meant for export. The equipment used for these production processes is also imported.

Electrical Appliances Market

Production of electrical appliances in Thailand is measured according to export value. In 2014, the total export value was USD 32.3 billion. In the area of air conditioning units and refrigerators, Thailand is among the top 5 globally. Product segments such as washing machines and digital cameras are also key to this genre.

The biggest names in the appliance market are present in Thailand. These include the likes of Canon, Sony, Nikon and Electrolux.

Domestic supply for this sector is in abundance. However, due to a rise in labour costs, there is a need for automation. Apart from which there is a high demand for machines and tools for metal work, energy efficient equipment and robots.

Food Processing

Hailed as the largest food exporter in the SEA, with 1,500 medium to large companies, Thailand’s growing economy is also in need of solutions to keep this field at large.

Tough import requirements on food safety drive the demand for automation products. Refrigerating and freezing equipment, machinery and laboratory paraphernalia for treating materials and machinery for food containers are some of the areas that need aid from businesses to maintain the growth of the field.


Though there is a need for automation in Thailand’s manufacturing set up, there is low awareness among its industry on the benefits of automation. The majority of Tier 1 to Tier 3 businesses are conservative and family driven. At the same time the need to maintain quality, ensure environmentally efficient process, safety, ways to deal with rising labour costs are all reasons to turn towards automation.

New policies introduced in 2015 will influence companies to utilise high-tech manufacturing processes, and advanced R&D practices towards accelerating the automation across the industry.

Hence, Thailand’s business landscape consists of opportunities for those wishing to export their products into this market or invest in the existing manufacturing facilities, with support from latest policies. For details on specific business opportunities in each manufacturing sector, obtain in-depth market research to facilitate your entry into this market.

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