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5 Key Potential Investment Sectors for Thai Investors


Author : Nattawin Phongsphetrarat, vice president of Thai Business Association of Myanmar (TBAM).

      One of the very famous questions that has always been asked by the Thai investors for Myanmar is what the high potential business sectors are for Thai business. There are many sectors that have high potential but TBAM committees have analyzed that these 5 sectors are the key potential areas as follow.

A) IT and Digital Economy : With the current digital disruption, Thailand is coping quite well in both public and private sectors. We trusted that the experience that Thai private sectors have will definitely benefit to Myanmar since we share a lot of similarities in many aspects. Thai government has recently formed a new Ministry of Digital Economy to govern and drive Thailand economy digitally and private sectors have successfully geared into the digital world as we can see from many examples in Thailand such as
     i) Banking sector : Big change in the way banks use the latest technology to run the business to satisfy the customers at the much lower cost.
    ii) Wholesale and Retail Business : The collaboration of Global and national players help shape the business platform and supply chain landscape. There will be more business opportunities for SMEs to leverage on these new platforms.
    iii) Logistics sector : The big wave of e-commerce has totally change the consumer behavior and create big demand in logistics industry. A lot of new players both global and regional have entered into Thailand and create a lot of jobs for individual by using their platform such as Kerry, Lalamove, Grab, etc
These three sectors are only some of the examples of the change. The three are related closely in the new business platform which will give opportunities for SMEs to have access to finance for their operation then give them access through the new distribution platform and give them mean to deliver their products to the customers.

B) Manufacturing sector : Thailand’s manufacturing sector is facing a lot of challenging issues at the moment such as Shortage of labor force, High labor cost, Loss of trade privileges in major markets and etc. We believe that Myanmar is the best choice for Thai investors to start expanding their production base since many Thai companies already have their products in the market. At the same time it will support the Myanmar government policy on encouraging the domestic production to substitute the imports. By combining the Thai strength in term of Knowledge, Knowhow and Technology, Clientele network, Financial capacity and Human Resources will perfectly match with the key strength of Myanmar that Thais lack of.
However, we will need more support from Thai and Myanmar governments to help private sector to overcome several difficulties at the moment such as Infrastructure, Logistics, Banking support, Distribution network, and etc.

C) Agriculture, Seafood and Food processing sector : Agriculture, Seafood and Food processing sectors have been the key strong sectors that drive the Thailand’s export revenue for the past three decades. It is now the time that Thais need to work closely together with Myanmar to create a new partnership so that both parties can utilize the strength to maintain the leadership in these sectors. Thai strategy of being kitchen of the world is a great position and with the strength of Myanmar in term of strategic location as the heart of Asia, rich of natural resources, plenty of land, abundant of young labor force, and the trade privileges from major markets will certainly benefit both countries.

D) Infrastructure sector : In the past 2 decades Thailand has been investing in a lot of major infrastructure investment and it helps create many good Thai developers and contractors who specialize in this sector. We believe that Thai companies are very experience and ready to come and support the development of Myanmar such as Construction companies, Mass transit operators, Power generation developers, Port facility developers, Developers of utility for public services, and so on. However, one of the key challenges is the financing structure due to the stability of Myanmar Kyat.

E) Tourism sector : We see a lot of potential in Tourism development between the two countries. Thailand has great expertise in the tourism industry and it will create big synergy if we successfully integrate the strength of what Myanmar has to offer. However, the tourism industry development needs a lot of involvement from government and private sector from both countries. There are a lot of key stakeholders in the tourism industry such as Hotel developers, Hotel operators, Airlines, Tour operators, Event organizers, Service Industry operators, Banks, Media owners and etc, that we need to get them to work together  to help develop this industry.  And for Myanmar government, Tourism industry is considered as one of the low hanging fruit industries that the government is focusing to develop now.  We believe that there are great opportunities in this area where the Thai investors can play important role and be successful.

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