Thailand, formerly known as Siam, is the only nation in the region able to avoid colonization by foreign powers. Geographically, it is the second largest nation in Southeast Asia with an area covering over 200,000 square miles (over 500,000 sq. km.). It is also ASEAN’s second largest economy with GDP exceeding US$500B in 2021 representing 15% of the bloc’s total GDP.
Pro-investment government policies, both historical and current, continue to successfully attract foreign capital with ambitious initiatives to improve infrastructure and ease of doing business. Like Vietnam, Thailand is well-placed to pick up investment overflow from China should global politics dictate it, and as “China plus one”. With exports accounting for about 60% of its economy, the country relies heavily on international trade. Exports include electronics, agricultural products and processed foods, cars and vehicle parts. It also functions as an anchor economy for the neighbouring developing economies of Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.
Agriculture accounts for less than 10% of GDP but employs almost a third of the country’s labor force. Rice is the most important crop in the country with about 55% of arable land being used for production. It has long been one of the world’s leading exporters of rice. Tourism also plays a major role in its economy. It is the most visited country in Southeast Asia, welcoming as many as 40 million visitors pre pandemic. Tourism, including the indirect effects, is estimated to account for as much as 20% of the country’s GDP.
Let us know how ASEAN Business Partners can help you explore opportunities in Thailand.
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