Thailand's economy is projected to expand by 3.9% in 2023 according to the World Bank, driven by recovering tourism, robust private consumption and government infrastructure projects. Tourism arrivals are forecast to reach 28.5 million, 84% of 2019 levels. This steady growth demonstrates the underlying strength of the Thai economy.
The government has also implemented policies to boost investor confidence. Fiscal stimulus, reforms to incentivize priority sectors created a supportive business environment, and pushed Thailand up 5 places, to be ranked 21st, in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business ranking.
Thailand offers several compelling benefits for industrial investors:
Thailand's highly skilled and educated workforce provides a key advantage for industrial investors. With a literacy rate exceeding 93%, Thailand offers manufacturers a capable talent pool to staff their operations. The country's focus on STEM education produces over 100,000 engineering and technical graduates yearly through programs aligned with industry needs.
Thailand scores well on the World Economic Forum's Human Capital Index schooling metrics, which correlate to workforce competencies. Major investments to upgrade skills and digital literacy ensure Thailand's workforce is future-ready. The availability of qualified labor at competitive wages makes Thailand stand out versus regional peers.
Expected years of school circa 2020, relative to GDP per capita
Source: World Bank calculations based on the 2020 update of the Human Capital Index (HCI)
For companies planning Thailand operations, the deep pool of skilled production workers, technicians and engineers eases talent recruitment and training. Thailand's exemplary human capital provides investors vital access to qualified manpower needed to drive industrial success.
With its prime location at the heart of Southeast Asia, Thailand offers an ideal strategic base for export-focused manufacturing. The country provides easy access to major emerging Asian markets with its central positioning and extensive transportation infrastructure.
Thailand has 6 international airports and 5 deep sea ports to efficiently move products to regional and global destinations. Over 60 double tax treaties enhance Thailand's competitiveness as an export hub.
For manufacturers targeting ASEAN's 660 million consumers, Thailand delivers a potent combination of regional access, world-class logistics infrastructure, and favorable tax policies. The country's connectivity via air, sea and land routes make it a true gateway to Asia. Thailand’s strategic location, export-friendly tax regime and leading trade infrastructure enable manufacturers to serve regional and global supply chains efficiently. For exporters seeking a competitive Asian base, Thailand checks all the boxes.
Thailand's strong fundamentals, investor-friendly policies, and position as a manufacturing powerhouse for industries from cars to computers make it the premier destination for industrial investment in the region in 2023. Companies looking to expand in Southeast Asia would do well to take a close look at the opportunities Thailand has to offer, especially in particular sectors such as:
With over 1.8 million vehicles rolling off assembly lines in 2022, up 11.7% over the previous year, Thailand has clearly emerged as a major global hub for automotive manufacturing. Leading car companies including Toyota, Honda, Nissan, GM and BMW operate large-scale production facilities across Thailand to serve booming demand in Asian markets.
The country's skilled engineers and technicians, along with its ideal location at the crossroads of Southeast Asia, have attracted heavy investment from auto giants, furthermore through continued development of its world-class automotive ecosystem, Thailand has ambitious goals to be a leading global manufacturer of EVs , by 2030.
For car manufacturers, Thailand offers an unbeatable platform with its strong supply chains, export infrastructure and favorable investment policies. The future looks bright for Thailand to consolidate its position as a global powerhouse for auto production in Asia.
Thailand has established itself as a global leader in electronics and appliances manufacturing. The country is the world's largest producer of HDDs and second largest exporter of electronics overall.
Thailand provides an ideal manufacturing base for electronics giants like Samsung, Seagate, Panasonic, Canon and Nikon. With its highly skilled engineers and strategic location at the heart of Asian supply chains, Thailand aims to achieve global leadership in next-generation industries including electric vehicles, solar equipment and digital appliances. The government offers attractive incentives for high-tech manufacturers along with infrastructure upgrades like 5G networks.
For electronics companies seeking skilled talent and regional access, Thailand is the premier choice in Southeast Asia. With continued innovation and investment in advanced technologies, Thailand is set to bolster its position as a global electronics center.
With over $42 billion in exports in 2021, Thailand has built globally competitive strengths in seafood, canned fruits, frozen meals and other processed foods.
Thailand's strategic location, excellent infrastructure and competitive labor costs have attracted leading food processors. Companies like Charoen Pokphand Foods, Thai Union and Osotspa operate major manufacturing hubs serving rising demand across Asia. As incomes grow across emerging Asian markets, Thailand is ideally positioned to capitalize on the huge opportunities in processed foods. Attractive government incentives for the food processing sector reinforce Thailand's competitive advantages.
For international food companies seeking regional expansion, Thailand provides an unrivaled platform with its iconic food heritage, developed supply chains and connectivity to high-growth markets. Thailand is poised to consolidate its status as Asia's premier food processing hub.
Thailand’s strategic location at the heart of Southeast Asia has led it to develop into a leading regional logistics and distribution hub. The country ranks 34th on the Global Logistics Performance Index (LPI) for 2023.
The country provides an efficient base to distribute products across fast-growing ASEAN markets. Thailand's network of major ports, airports and highways enables seamless connectivity. Ongoing upgrades like high-speed rail and cold chain infrastructure reinforce Thailand's advantages. Government promotion of the Eastern Economic Corridor as a regional trading hub furthers investment and development.
For logistics firms and shippers, Thailand offers unmatched accessibility to a population of over 660 million people across Southeast Asia. With continued infrastructure building and policy support, Thailand is strengthening its position as the premier logistics gateway to the region.
With its skilled workers, leading infrastructure, and supportive government policies, Thailand has emerged as the clear frontrunner for industrial investment in Southeast Asia. For manufacturers and logistic companies alike, Thailand provides the ideal base to produce and distribute products competitively across fast-growing Asian markets. The Thailand Board of Investment's red carpet welcome for priority sectors underscores the country's commitment to attracting foreign investors. Companies looking to expand in the region should act now to benefit from Thailand's strong investment fundamentals.