Thailand is Southeast Asia’s second largest economy. The country’s GDP is, for example, larger than the nearby neighbors Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos together. Since the early 1980s, Thailand has had an impressive economic growth, with an average of 5.4 percent. This growth has taken the country from an agricultural country to an industrialized, middle-income country where the manufacturing sector contributes to a significant portion of its GDP. Other major contributors to the GDP are tourism and agriculture (especially rice and fishing). Thailand is an export-dependent country and export represents around 70 percent of their GDP today.
In the last five years, the growth has stalled due to unstable political conditions, stagnation of the global economy and a major flood that hit the country in the autumn of 2011. However, over a longer time-period Thailand’s economy has been strong. Despite financial crises, political demonstrations, natural disasters, the private sector generally has managed to do well. Therefore the country in certain contexts is called the “Teflon economy”.
The growth forecast for the next years look positive with an estimated growth of 3, 6 percent in 2015 followed by 4,1 percent in 2016. This, combined with a growing middle class with increased purchasing power and higher demands for quality products makes the country interesting for Swedish solutions. Business Sweden sees business opportunities for Swedish companies in medical, manufacturing industries (automotive, consumer electronics, and production of processed food) retail, renewable energy and ICT.
Sweden has a long trading tradition with Thailand, which stretches over a 100 years, and in 2014 Sweden exported approximately 3,9 billion SEK to Thailand. Swedish export consists primarily of engineering products, mostly of machinery and equipment, paper and paper products, and transport equipment. The modest export to Thailand means that there is great potential for growth. According to Business Sweden’s numbers around 70 Swedish companies or companies related to Sweden has some kind of presence in Thailand.
In 2014 imported goods from Thailand accounted for 3,8 billion SEK. The largest part of the imported goods is food, computers, electronic, optical products, motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers. The three largest groups accounts for about half of the imported goods from Thailand in 2014. Sweden also imports various machines, clothing and other manufactured goods from Thailand.
Business Sweden has been present in Thailand since 2008 and has together with the office in Hanoi, responsibility for the Mekong region (Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos). Our Bangkok office is centrally located near the Swedish Embassy, and is together with the team from Hanoi ten people. Over the years, we have built a strong and successful network of local business leaders and policy makers in order to promote Swedish competitiveness in the region.
Business Sweden has many years of experience in supporting Swedish companies in their growth on the Thai market. We have for example supported in evaluating market attractiveness, identifying high potential customer segments, key stakeholders and local partners, defining market entry and growth strategies, understanding the competitive and regulatory landscapes, provided consultation and support in setting up companies, and arranging meetings with local businesses and policy makers.
Contact us to find out more about Thailand as a market, and how we at Business Sweden can help your business to grow in Thailand.