In this edition of Target we are in Thailand. Number 18 in the Doing Business rankings, the country attracts not only tourists, but investors from all over the globe, particularly in the area of information technology and communications.
Euronews reporter Serge Rombi takes up the story: “The IT and communications sector is expanding here in Thailand and with the expertise of a highly qualified workforce and an exceptional geographical position in the heart of Southeast Asia, Thailand is primed for success.
Labour costs and the highly qualified workforce are the country’s strengths. The engineers develop applications, computer software and smartphones for neighbouring emerging countries where demand is enormous.
Sampan Silapanad, the President of the Electronic Computer Employers’ Association, said: “Today, the electronic and computer sector in Thailand has the highest export value. It represents 20 percent of Thailand’s global exports, and provides jobs for almost 200,000 people in the country.”
Another advantage for Thailand is its strategic position at the heart of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations whose 10 members will next year forge an economic community, based on the same principals as the EU. This free trade area will bring together 700 million people, making it an attractive hub for global investers.
Harry Yang, the Managing Director of ACER Thailand, told euronews: “Thailand has the best infrastructure among these countries. So, I think Thailand is a regional hub to support nearby countries like Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.”
The biggest names in the IT sector have their regional headquarters in Thailand as well as two giant hard drive companies, Western Digital and Seagate.
Sampan Silapanad from the Electronic Computer Employers’ Association says the importance of those companies to the country is not lost on him: “Between them they have 80 percent of the global hard drive market and today 50 percent of investments made by Western Digital and Seagate are made in Thailand.
Thailand has gone through a number of setbacks in recent times, which slowed economic activity in the short-term, but the medium- to long-term activity has been unaffected.
Global investors in information technology and communications continue to flow into Thailand. Assisted by government incentives, the single business port, simplifies selling and administration procedures. Help is also available to locate production sites or business partners. Add to that a wide range of tax breaks and duty exemptions and everything is in place to keep investors happy.