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About Thailand

With a GDP of US$ 406.8 billion, Thailand is the world’s 32nd largest economy and the second largest economy in South East Asia. Its economy expanded by 3.2% in 2016, and the government estimates that growth in 2017 will be between 3.3 and 3.8%. The economy is expected to be driven by government spending and improved exports in 2017.

Thailand’s economy is well diversified and competitive. The country offers a favorable business environment owing to its open, market-oriented economy, efficient regulatory system, relatively low tax rates, and open policies towards investment and trade.

Population: 68.2 million
Inflation Rate: 0.2%
Currency: Thai Baht (THB)
Ave Exchange Rate: THB 35.4 : US$ 1
Imports: US$ 194.7 billion
Exports: US$ 215.3 billion
GDP: US$ 406.8 billion
GDP per capita (PPP) US$ 16,800
Real GDP Growth 3.2%
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INDUSTRY REPORTS

This report is designed to provide an overview of the medical technologies sector in Thailand. The sector is expanding, thanks to a combination of rising income, aging population, nationwide health care access, and a foreign-friendly regulatory environment. Thanks to the government’s ass...

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This report is designed to provide an overview of the smart cities sector in Thailand. The country has been making strides in its pursuit to develop smart cities with the launch of its “Thailand 4.0” national policy that will play a key role in driving the government’s econom...

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Thailand Country Profile

The report offers a wide range of data and information collected from various sources that were built together in order to provide not just facts but deeper insights about the country. Unlike other country reports that focus more on macro-economic data, we think that the most valuable part of ...

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Thailand faces many challenges in the water and wastewater sector. Potable water accessibility is a critical issue in Thailand. Less than half of urban households have properly piped water source, while 62% of the rural population obtain untreated water from rivers, canals, ponds or sometimes ...

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ECONOMIC NEWS

Thailand Seeking Chinese Investment For EEC

Thailand  -  January 2019

Under the Thai government’s economic agenda, Rayong, and two other neighbouring provinces, Chonburi and Chachoengsao will form the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). Stretching a total area of 13,000 square kilometres, it is expected that the EEC will be an arterial node for trade, investment, and regional transportation, besides also serving as a strategic gateway to this region. The EEC is slated to attract approcimately USD 46 billion in investments which is projected to push Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth by five percent annually by 2020.

To ensure the success of the EEC, Bangkok is relying heavily on foreign direct investments, in particular those from China, and public-private partnerships, and it is relaxing certain laws and regulations to facilitate and encourage foreign investors looking to invest in the EEC’s initiatives. In November, the Deputy Prime Minister led government officials and 65 Thai private companies to Shanghai to promote the EEC. 

In January 2019 it was revealed that the total amount of investment promotion application in 2018 exceeded the original target by 25%. Investment applications in the EEC accounted for more than THB 680 billion (USD 21 billion). Largest-scale investment projects have been in the areas of petrochemical and electrical vehicle (EV) production. In 2018, the BOI received 1,626 investment applications projects with a total value of THB 902 billion (USD 28 billion). Both the application number and the investment value were higher than those in 2017, by 3% and 43%, respectively.

(Sources: Board of Investment of Thailand; China Dialogue; The ASEAN Post)

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ICT

Digital ID In Thailand Entering Test Phase

Thailand  -  January 2019

Thailand's national digital ID service is expected to be available to the public in the next 3-5 months after undergoing testing. The system is intended to enhance digital security to facilitate online transactions, and enable greater access to bank accounts and lending.

It provides banks with facial recognition and blockchain-powered identity authentication technology. The ID is expected to boost availability of loans at attractive interest rates, based on borrowers' risk profiles assessed using data analytics. 

The Digital Government Development Agency, the Bank of Thailand, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Revenue Department have all worked with a national ID team on the system, and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission has also begun working with the team.

Tthe initial phase will need monitoring to prevent fraud, but if there is more collaboration among government agencies, the Provincial Administration Department in particular, the system will be strengthened. 

(Sources: Bangkok Post; Biometrics Research)

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ENERGY

Greater Reliance On Natural Gas in Thailand's Latest Power Plan

Thailand  -  January 2019

Thailand’s government has reconfirmed its commitment to gas in its new Power Development Plan (PDP), which sets a target for gas to generate 53% of the country’s power in 2037. This is an increase from 30-40% in the previous PDP published in 2015, and indicates the country will become increasingly reliant on imported gas, as domestic production declines. Consequently, the Electricity Generating Authority Thailand (EGAT) has turned its back on coal-fired power plants in southern Thailand.

EGAT would instead focus more on power plants that burn natural gas, with Surat Thani named as the site for construction of two such facilities. Each of these would generate 700 megawatts of electricity into the national grid system, the first in 2027 and the second by 2029.

The just-released draft 2018 Power Development Plan (PDP) calls for the government to invite the private sector to invest in a 1,000-megawatt “independent power producer” (IPP) project that would start generating electricity in 2034.

Energy experts believe southern Thailand should have at least one major coal-fired power plant so that there is diversity among fuels used for generating electricity, which would favourably affect prices and help guarantee power security.

(Sources: Interfax; The Nation)

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MEDICAL

Thailand May Become the Worlds Powerhouse of Medical Marijuana

Thailand  -  January 2019

Thailand is on the brink of becoming the first Southeast Asian nation to legalize medical marijuana, hoping to become a powerhouse in a globally exploding market. In the global rush to legalize marijuana, cannabis companies are looking for less expensive locations to mass-produce the cash crop. With its good growing climate and as a hub for shipping and medicine, Thailand is viewed as a suitable low-cost place to produce marijuana and then export it.

In October 2018 Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly proposed amendments to the Health Ministry that would legalize marijuana production and establish licenses for possession and distribution. Thai narcotics officials are telling their counterparts that the process to fully legalize marijuana for medical uses is expected by May 2019. 

Foreign firms, however, will have to wait as the government seeks to first award the rights to produce, extract and research the plant to Thai companies.

(Sources: Bloomberg; Chiang Rai Times)

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ENVIRONMENT

B.Grimm Starts Operations At 30.8 MW Of Thai Solar Parks

Thailand  -  January 2019

Thai company, B.Grimm, has launched commercial operations at seven solar photovoltaic (PV) parks at home with a combined capacity of 30.83 MW. Four of the plants are supplying power to the Metropolitan Electricity Authority under a 25-year power purchase agreement. They are located in Bangkok, Samut Prakan and Nonthaburi.

With the latest addition from those seven solar farms, the SET-listed firm closed 2018 with combined capacity equity to 2,076 MWs, up by 26% from the previous year, and strengthening BGRIM’s position as one of Thailand’s leading private power producers. Meanwhile, B. Grimm's on-going solar energy projects in Vietnam, with a total installed capacity of 677 MWs, are making satisfactory progress in construction. 

BGRIM currently operates an aggregate of 36 power stations comprising 15 co-generation plants, 18 solar farms, two hydropower plants, and one diesel generator in Thailand and abroad.

(Sources: Renewables Now; Thai Visa)

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INFRASTRUCTURE

SRT Assessing Bids For High-Speed Rail Linking Three Airports

Thailand  -  January 2019

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) is still considering bids for a high-speed railway project connecting three major airports. So far the Charoen Pokphand Group (CP)-led consortium has offered the most competitive bid. 

The CP-led consortium comprises CP, Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc, China Railway Construction Corporation Ltd, Ch Karnchang Plc, and Italian-Thai Development Plc. The other group is BSR Joint Venture which is made up of Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Plc, and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc.

When the bidding was announced, 31 potential investors bought the terms of reference document. Based on technical qualifications and track record, only two groups are qualified to bid for the rail link project connecting Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports in Bangkok with U-Tapao airport in the eastern province of Rayong. The other group bidding is BSR Joint Venture which includes Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Plc, and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc. 

The build-operate-transfer project, which is a key part of the planned Eastern Economic Corridor, is valued at USD 7 billion and comes with a 50-year concession. The bid winner will be awarded a 50-year contract, consisting ot five years for design and construction of the rail link project and 45 years for operations. 

(Sources: Bangkok Post; The Nation)

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Factory inside steel

MANUFACTURING

Prinx Chengshan Investing USD 25 Million In New Tire Factory In Thailand

Thailand  -  January 2019

Chinese company, Prinx Chengshan, announced in January 2018 that it will invest 19 million GBP in a new tire factory in Thailand. The factory will be located across three sites located at Tambon Nong Suea Chang, Amphur Nong Yai, and Tambon Klong-Kew, Amphur Ban-Bung, Chonburi province..

The tire maker believes that the Thai site offers low costs for raw materials and transportation, while also avoiding international trade barriers. Other benefits include local preferential policies on areas such as taxes and human resources.

The Chinese company has also opted to have a plant located overseas in order to create a more global image for its products, which it believes will improve the positioning and enhance the competitiveness of its products.

(Sources: Rubber & Plastics News; Morjan Media)

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DEFENSE / AEROSPACE / AVIATION

Draft Bill In Thailand To Allow 100% Foreign Ownership In Selected Aerospace Sectors

Thailand  -  January 2019

In December 2018 Thailand approved a draft bill for the air navigation law that lets foreign investors who win Board of Investment (BoI) promotional privileges to own up to 100% of shares. Aircraft manufacturing, aircraft parts manufacturing, and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) for aircraft, are three areas where Thailand will allow 100% foreign ownership. So far, the Air Navigation Act of 1954 requires Thai companies to hold a 51% share in the three categories.

The move aims to attract foreign investors to the aviation industry, which is one of the targeted industries the government is promoting for its flagship Eastern Economic Corridor project. 

Currently, the Royal Thai Navy is in the process of opening bids for the first phase of the U-tapao aviation city project. The first phase covers 6,500 rai (10.4 sq km) and includes the third terminal, a second runway, a commercial gateway, the second phase of the MRO hub, a cargo village or free-trade zone, and a human resources training centre. The aviation city is expected to be able to accommodate 60 million passengers annually, putting it on a par with Suvarnabhumi, and to yield economic returns worth THB 189 billion (USD 6 billion) every year.

(Source: Aviation Pros)

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RETAIL / FMCG

Taco Bell Debuts In Thailand

Thailand  -  January 2019

American company Taco Bell will partner with Siam Taco Co Ltd to bring its Mexican-inspired cuisine to Thailand for the first time. 

Early in 2019, Taco Bell will open its first Thailand location on the first floor of Mercuryville mall in central Bangkok. The upcoming Mercuryville Taco Bell will feature an urban-concept design that embodies the business and shopping community of the Chidlom area in Bangkok. Ideal for office workers and shoppers, the 60-seat restaurant will feature an open kitchen and modern design benches, making it an ideal spot to catch up with friends or take a break from shopping

Thai fans can look forward to a selection of Taco Bell’s famous Mexican-inspired food, including the Crunchwrap Supreme, Grilled Stuft Burrito and the trademark Crunchy Taco, as well as speciality items developed specifically for the Thai market.

(Sources: The Nation)

Companies

1   customized agent   distributor search

Customized Agent/ Distributor/Reseller Search

Having completed over 1000 customized agent/distributor/reseller searches for our clients over the years, this is one of the most popular trade services that we offer to potential clients. Typic...

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5   sourcing services

Sourcing Services

There is a growing interest in sourcing for products from South East Asia for strategic and competitive reasons. Companies from around the world are looking for suppliers in Malaysia, Thailand, ...

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Business Incorporation/ Site Selection

We counsel businesses on where to locate their office and industrial operations and what the optimal business structure should be to meet local government and tax requirements. Some of the quest...

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3   market research

Market Research

To successfully export your products or services, you need to learn about your customers, your competitors and your industry. Our market research process starts off with brainstorming effective ...

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2   trade show support

Trade Show Support

Many companies participate in trade shows hoping to find customers or local agents or distributors. However, they come away from these events with less than desired results. But with our trade s...

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Additional Services

Based on past experience in helping companies that are looking to grow their exports to one or more markets in South East Asia, we have found that some of these additional services that we offer...

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Economic Development Agencies & Trade Associations

7   trade mission organization

Trade Mission Organization

Visiting a market to meet with prospective customers or partners is essential as business is built on developing personal connections and understanding the local culture. Traveling ...

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2   trade show support

Trade Show Support

Trade shows can be an excellent option for companies and trade organizations to make key business and industry connections overseas. But to maximize the benefit of participating in ...

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8   trade representation

Trade Representation

With over 20 years of experience providing dedicated representation in South East Asia to economic development organizations (EDOs) from North America and Europe, we offer EDOs the ...

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3   market research

Market Research

Our strong track record in performing a targeted analysis of specific industry sectors in multiple markets has helped many economic development organizations (EDOs) to develop strat...

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9   investment attraction

Investment Attraction

Attracting investment from overseas can mean new or retained jobs in your area. Our investment attraction support services will position your economic development organization (EDO)...

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Additional Services

Having worked with government agencies and trade associations for over 20 years, we also provide a range of additional services customized to the requirements of these organizations...

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COMPANIES SEEKING AGENTS/DISTRIBUTORS/RESELLERS IN Thailand

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Crown Hardwood Co., Inc.

USA
Furniture & Wood
Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
US Hardwood Logs: Cherry, Hickory, Hard Maple, Poplar, Wa...
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Visual Software Inc.

USA
Education; Medical; Others
Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam
We create, market and support products that allow various...
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Firefly Pan-Asia Trading Pte Ltd

Singapore
Consumer Goods; Medical
Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam
Viviscal® Professional supplement is only available exclu...
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eSentire

Canada
Others
Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
eSentire delivers Managed Detection and Response (MDR) wh...
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Leonovus Inc.

Canada
Others
Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
Leonovus is the cloud solutions software developer of a b...
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nanopay

Canada
Infocomm Technologies (ICT); Others
Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
nanopay’s technology improves methods for speed, cost, se...
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