On 3 June 2014, Danish-Thai Chamber of Commerce hold an exclusive joint chambers luncheon hosted by German-Thai Chamber of Commerce (GTCC) under the topic “The Economic Outlook 2015” at the Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok. The event featured high-rank keynote speaker and panelists from DAX and leading German companies with presence in Thailand, who shared their perspectives on economic trends toward 2015 with over 170 guests mainly from the German-Thai business community.
The event highlighted insights from some of the key economic sectors which included finance, automotive, chemical, pharmaceutics and energy.
Amid the on-going domestic political impasse, Frank Krings, Chief Country Officer, Thailand, and General Manager of Deutsche Bank, pointed out in his keynote, despite the current political situation, Thailand’s business environment remains in robust working order and markets are still functioning. Domestic GDP development should not be confused with the actual commercial outlook of companies operating in Thailand. The Kingdom’s history of business resilience despite political uncertainty points to a sound future after all.
On the mentioned outlook by Mr. Krings, Dr. Florian Kirschner, Managing Director and Country Head of Evonik Thailand further added that Thailand’s chemical industry plays an essential role for many other industries in Thailand and the region. The overall prospect is promising and the focus on sustainability is expected to be more emphasized.
Further to this, Alp Atay, General Manager of Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceutical
Thailand asserted thatThai pharmaceutical industry is expected to grow 2-5% annually from 2012 to 2016 based on the current total market value of 2.8 billion euros according to Business Monitor International, with the multinational companies showing a positive growth trend. For Bayer Thai, the outlook of itspharmaceutical business remains positive driven by breakthrough and innovative medicines to improve people’s life in Thailand.
In connection with sustainable growth, Steven de Jeu, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Fossil Power generation, Wind Power, Oil & Gas, Energy Service of Siemens Ltd., specified that Thailand needs continuous and long-term infrastructure planning and implementation. Siemens has had the privilege and opportunity to support Thailand in such infrastructure growth in the past decades, especially in Bangkok’s mass-transit rail system as well as healthcare and power generation and distribution in the kingdom. The company is committed to remain in Thailand to contribute its expertise and innovations to help Thailand position itself as an economical leader within the ASEAN region and beyond.
On the other hand, Thomas Chambers, Managing Director and Key Account Executive of Continental Automotive (Thailand) Co. Ltd. indicated nevertheless that automotive sales for the domestic market have decreased compared to 2013. The political crisis is not the only cause as the first car buyer scheme also inflated 2013 results. Despite lower sales, Thailand automotive exports have increased by 13% for the period January – March 2014 compared with the same period of 2013. However, other countries in ASEAN such as Indonesia or Vietnam may become more attractive to investors due to political uncertainty and economic slowdown in Thailand.
It can be said, however,that the overall perspective from the speakers regarding the economic outlook wasrather positive despite current or potential domestic disruptions. Further to this,based on the business and investment climate survey conducted during the panel discussion, Jörg Buck, Executive Director of German-Thai Chamber of Commerce, pointed outthat 57% of company representatives participating in the survey still foresee a revenue growth of more than 5% for the next 18 months, and out of this group 22% anticipate morethan 10% of revenue growth. At the same time, 35% of survey participants consider investmentas concretemeasures in their business planning toward AEC 2015, whereby 32% contemplate on business initiatives, and 39% consider neither investment nor businessinitiatives.
Mr. Buck further concluded that it is of great importance to have Thailand back as a driving engine within the region in view of the establishment of AEC. To achieve this, the most crucial economic issues that need to be addressed include the improvement of regional connectivity, competitiveness and innovation capability, and vocational education for more skilled labour to meet industrial demands.