Australian businesses thriving in Thailand due to manufacturing boom

Due to a manufacturing boom on Thailand’s eastern seaboard, Australian companies in Thailand are performing well, according to a recent study titled “Australian Business in Thailand”.

At a time when Australian manufacturers are fighting to stay onshore, this may be discouraging news for some, while being welcome news for others currently operating in the Southeast Asian nation.

The following are some key findings from the report.

The study, conducted by the Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce (AustCham) found that while there are only about 3,500 Australian business people in Thailand, there were a “disproportionately high” number who are in leadership roles in multinational companies.

Thailand is Australia’s seventh largest trading partner in terms of merchandise, while Australia ranked sixth in terms of exports for Thailand. When measured in actual dollars, Australia’s exports to Thailand were valued at A$6.9 for 2010-2011; imports from Thailand were valued at A$9.1 billion.

Australia has become the production base in Thailand for a multitude of household names, according to online Thai news website The Nation. AustCham president John Anderson desribes the Thai automotive industry as a “powerhouse”. “Its production of 1.5 million vehicles last year dwarfed Australia's 225,000,” Anderson said.

Some of the reasons cited for the current strength of manufacturing in Thailand were the nation’s strategic position as a hub for East and Southeast Asia and the strong regional and local consumer demand.

Two looming problems that could hinder the future success of Australian businesses in Thailand are a projected labour shortage, as well as the Australian business community’s focus on China and India when it comes to assessing the commercial potential of doing business abroad.

The purpose of the Australian Business in Thailand study was to learn more about the gaps in the Australian-Thai business relationship and how they could be overcome, in addition to providing a baseline by which to measure changes over time.

[Image source: AEC Group]

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