International business in Thailand

Thailand is a popular holiday and shopping destination known for its exciting coastline, exotic scenes, bustling market places and mystical Buddhist temples and shrines. The country had been known for long as the world’s number one exporter of rice, until it recently fell behind Vietnam and India. Aside from rice, Thailand is also the World’s largest Rubber exporter and World’s third-largest exporter of seafood, mainly shrimp.

Its prime location in South East Asia, neighboured by Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and the Gulf of Thailand places the nation in a highly approachable and strategic spot. After Indonesia, Thailand is the second largest economy of any South East Asia country. Thailand shares maritime boundaries with Vietnam, Indonesia and India.

Thailand is spread over 53,120 square kilometres with a population of 70 million who are mostly Tai in ethnicity. Bangkok holds a majority of Thailand’s political, business, cultural and industrial sectors and is its capital.

Thailand’s vital data points (as of 2019)

 Population (million) 70
GDP (billion USD) 544
GDP per capita (USD) 7,806
GDP per capita PPP (USD) 19,277
Purchasing power per dollar, compared to the USA 264%
Surface area (sq km) 513,120
% of population living in urban areas 51%
% of GDP added by agriculture – industry – services 8% – 33.4% – 58.59%
Ease of doing business index (1 = best, 180 = lowest) 21

What is Thailand’s business index?

Thailand ranks 21st in the world for ease in launching a New Business while in the area of Trading across Borders it stands 62nd. This rank is out of 189 world economies.

According to a recent study conducted by the World Bank, Thailand’s business scenario has improved considerably since 2013 and has been rated the second most promising economy in East Asia. It is also a major export destination.

What are Thailand’s most productive business sectors?

  • Tourism
  • Textiles and garments
  • Agricultural processing
  • Beverages
  • Tobacco
  • Cement
  • Light manufacturing – jewellery, electrical appliances

What are Thailand’s top export commodities?

  • Agricultural produce
  • Automobiles and parts
  • Computers and parts
  • Jewellery and precious stones
  • Polymers of ethylene in primary form
  • Refined fuels
  • Electronic integrated circuits
  • Chemical products

Thailand’s political reforms

A recent coup in May 2014 has seen some interesting political activity in the country. Thailand’s rule changed from a constitutional monarchy to a military driven one with the National Council For Peace and Order taking over all national administration. The people believe this move to be a positive step towards liberating the country from the jaws of populist authoritarianism.

In September 2015 a junta-backed council raised their voices against a new constitution which may result in the next elections occurring only in 2017.

The ASEAN economic community

Thailand is one of the ten Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, aimed at creating a single market and production base, which enables the free flow of goods, investments, labour and capital within the community. The ASEAN Economic Community has the potential to emerge as one of the largest transactional markets in the world.

Thai national holidays 2016

Holiday Date
New Year’s Day January 1
Makha Bucha February 22
Chakri Day April 6
Songkran April 13, 14, 15
Labour Day May 1
Labour Day observed May 2
Coronation Day May 5, 6
Visakha Bucha May 20
Mid-Year Bank Holiday July 1
Extra Holiday July 18
Asalaha Bucha July 19
The Queen’s Birthday April 12
Mother’s Day August 12
Chulalongkorn Day October 23
Chulalongkom Day observed October 24
New Year’s Eve December 31

Thailand’s promising side

Due to Thailand’s reputation as a hospitable business and travel locale, it hosts numerous trade shows, especially in the machinery, garment, and automobile industries.

Though Thailand is troubled with political and social issues, its local industry continues to expand. As it relentlessly transforms its economy from an agricultural to a modern industrial one, it continues to act as a favoured production base for many companies.

Modern, innovative Thailand is a hotspot for foreign investment while the tourism industry is growing each year. As the banking and infrastructure sectors in Thailand evolve in a steady manner, Alliance Experts researched a good business strategy since Bangkok is emerging as a strong contender as a top business and trade destination.

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