Thailand’s most critical economic sector was hard-hit by flooding in 2011 that inundated industrial estates northeast of Bangkok, but recovery has been faster than anticipated. Moreover, factories resuming production now face a build-up of latent demand that has allowed them to make up lost ground. The industrial sector is led by electronics and electrical manufacturing, which accounts for some 23% of exports, followed by the automotive and petrochemicals industries. Manufacturers who base their production in Thailand benefit from strong cluster effects, inexpensive labour, and attractive investment incentives. Still, Thailand is hoping to shift its economy to more value-added growth, and the government is pushing reforms such as an increase to the minimum wage as a catalyst for this transformation.
This chapter has interviews with MR Pongsvas Svasti, Minister of Industry; Boonchai Chokwatana, Chairman, President & CEO, Saha Pathanapibul (Sahapat); and Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, President & CEO, Thai Beverage Public Company (ThaiBev).