Thailand viewed as the gateway to ASEAN's markets

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Thailand viewed as the gateway to ASEAN's markets

Related tags Asean economic community Asean

Japan’s small and medium-sized enterprises see Thailand as the hub of ASEAN’s markets and are currently investing in partnerships as a result.

Japanese companies are favouring Thailand due to its rising economic growth as well as supply-chain industries, thanks to larger Japanese companies already based there.

In 2014, the Ministry of Thailand reported more than 10 Japanese SMEs from cosmetics, pharmaceutical and food industries to have partnered up with a local business or to have planted roots in the country.

According to industry representative Chakramon Phasukavanich, the Japanese government is looking at revising the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement, and wants at least 10,000 SMEs to begin operating abroad over the next three years because of the country's economic-growth slowdown.

"To facilitate investment, the ministry is aiming to match 500 SMEs with ​Thai partners," ​he told The China Post.

Thailand's beauty sector is becoming a force to be reckoned with

Thailand's beauty industry is growing, fuelled by increasingly sophisticated consumers, including the men's market which is proving to be particularly lucrative.

With 70 million potential consumers, the luxury goods segment continues to boom with a 24% increase in year-on-year sales. The top product categories include perfumes and cosmetics.

There are many opportunities for both international as well as domestic companies in this vibrant market, which values new and innovative products.

"A wealth of natural resources, low-cost skilled labour and regional economic integration with the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015 have attracted businesses keen to explore the vibrant new domestic markets that are emerging in ASEAN countries," ​says the president of the Thai Cosmetic Manufacturers Association, Ketmanee Lertkitcha.

A recent reduction in import duties in Thailand is also believed by the government to be attracting more foreign shoppers, as well as increasing domestic spending on cosmetics.

As a result, the Authority is planning to improve cross-border trade, and is eyeing a series of initiatives which will ideally give more funding to border activities and provide greater convenience for multi-country transactions.

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