Thailand Embraces New Economy
Businesses and investors in advanced and green industries are choosing Thailand for its ecosystem for success.
There was a time when Thailand was best known for exports of rice, garments and textiles, rubber products, electric appliances and combustion-engine vehicles. But times have changed. Today, the Kingdom of Thailand is increasingly recognized for biotechnology, cutting-edge medical equipment, electric vehicles, robotics and artificial intelligence, blockchain and financial technology.
Thailand is welcoming investment in high-technology and green industries, and investors in those industries are keen on the change taking place in the Kingdom.
This rapid and sweeping transformation is part of a 20-year national strategy, a blueprint for the future designed to foster innovation and creativity, research and development, advanced technologies and green industries. Businesses that are part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) are already emerging as strong drivers of the economy. Their contributions are among the reasons Thailand’s global rankings for competitiveness and sustainability are on the rise.
The Switzerland-based International Institute for Management Development (IMD) ranked Thailand 25th in its 2019 World Competitiveness Index, a five-rank rise. And the United Nations placed Thailand 40th in the world and first in Southeast Asia in its latest Sustainable Development Goals Report, an improvement of 19 places.
The government has also implemented supportive policies for advanced and green industries. Aside from generous investment incentives and privileges, the government has also enhanced the ecosystem for investment, including through an ongoing program of infrastructure building and upgrades. Thailand is providing comprehensive logistics and transport networks nationwide, supporting key industries essential to advanced development such as the bio-economy, digital technology, and comprehensive medical industries.
Thailand Board of Investment is providing investment incentives of up to 13 years of tax holidays to those who invest in those industries. In addition, Thailand offers facilitation for investors and talent through the SMART VISA program, a long-term visa granted maximum 4-year permission to stay and exemption from the work permit requirement.
Thailand is fertile ground for a growing bio-economy. The Kingdom’s lush landscapes and agricultural sector are a treasure trove of natural resources that feed bio-industry. Human resources in science and technology are also available.
More than 1,500 top-echelon experts and researchers in biotechnology are working in Thailand today, according to the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. Universities and technical schools are turning out roughly 100,000 graduates each year in the sciences, engineering, and health and medicine. A substantial number of these are specializing in fields such as Biomedical Sciences, Bioinnovation, Molecular Biology, and Biopharmaceutical Sciences.
Human resources were a significant factor that led China’s BGI Group to invest in Thailand. The world’s largest genome sequencing company, BGI participated in the Human Genome Project that concluded in 2003. In 2018, it established Bangkok Genomics Innovation (BGI local company).
In Thailand, BGI is specializing in genetic sequencing applications and machines. Its services address reproductive health, newborn screening, oncology, and testing for genetic disorders for clinical diagnosis. Across the region, BGI is conducting research in areas including agriculture and food science, and drug discovery.
For the average Thai, however, genetic testing is becoming easy and convenient thanks to Geneus Genetics, a local company founded in 2018. With one of the best healthcare systems in the world, Thailand’s comprehensive medical industries are advanced and highly competitive. Geneus Genetics, however, has found the perfect niche in which to succeed.
The Bangkok-based firm is producing home DNA testing kits. The tests are simple, and kits can be purchased at clinics, drug stores, or ordered directly from the company. Geneus Genetics partners with certified laboratories to determine results.
Thailand’s reliable postal and transport infrastructure played a role in convincing Geneus Genetics’s founders to launch their venture.
Samples can move from customer to Geneus Genetics to the labs safely, securely, and with plenty of time to spare. The Kingdom’s public health and research infrastructure also mean there are excellent facilities that can provide accurate and rapid results.
SUPERNAP International is at the forefront of digital data management. The company develops data center facilities worldwide based on the industry-renowned Tier IV Gold-rated Switch LAS VEGAS multi-tenant/colocation data centers in the United States.
In Thailand, SUPERNAP has chosen to locate in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), a three-province zone adjacent to Bangkok that is a showcase for Thailand’s advanced development, technological progress, and green industries.
Geneus Genetics is doing that by alerting clients about what illnesses or disorders they may be genetically predisposed to developing. The company offers advice from physicians about what changes to lifestyle, diet, nutrition, or exercise clients could make to reduce their risk and improve their health overall.
Data forms the genetic code of digital industries, which are booming in Thailand. In 2018, digital industries contributed about 17 percent to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product. Then it is expected to make up 25% of Thailand’s GDP by 2027. With the second-largest digital economy in Southeast Asia, Thailand is undergoing a digital revolution permeating processes, activities and transactions across almost every sector.
Demand for SUPERNAP’s services is so strong that Bottse said the company is aiming to build two more data centers in Thailand to manage data in the Kingdom and the region. Staffing those centers won’t be a problem.
“I can say with pride that we were able to attract skilled talent and about 95 percent of our employees are Thai. Not only are they skilled and talented, but they also go the extra mile and drive us to provide high-value products and services to our clients,” says Bottse.
When it comes to investing in Thailand, the data tells the story. The Kingdom’s new advanced industries are contributing to rising growth and investment figures, shaping the country’s future, and providing great opportunities for investors.