Japan to help Thai SMEs

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Japan and Thailand on Friday signed an agreement in Bangkok for Japan to help develop Thai small- and medium-sized enterprises and boost revenue between  5-10 per cent beginning next year.

The agreement was signed by Industry Permanent Secretary Witoon Simachokedee and Hirochi Takada, president of Japan’s Organization for Small and Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation.

Under the agreement, both sides will exchange vital information for developing their SME businesses, so that Thai SMEs would become stronger and have higher revenue of 5-10 per cent next year.

Thailand now has about 2.7 million SMEs, some 98.5 per cent of total enterprises, with total revenue at Bt1.76 trillion annually.

Japan’s SMEs represent more than 99.7 per cent of all enterprises while their revenues are more than 484 billion yen annually.

Mr Takada said some 700,000 Japanese SMEs of a total 3.7 million are making profits and there are plans to further support the service sector in future.

Japan attaches great importance to Thailand in this region. It’s policy encourages about 10,000 Japanese SMEs to invest overseas, with Thailand considered the foremost country for investment followed by Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar — all members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Mr Takada said Japanese investors are keen to invest in auto parts, followed by electrical appliances and electronics, food processing and the service sector.

He said 20 Thai firms would be invited to visit Japan next January and if possible to agree on “business matching” with 400 Japanese investors.

Thai investors have visited Japan three times since the beginning of this year, with 40 able to conduct businesses with more than 200 Japanese investors involving a combined business value of over two billion baht.

Asked whether Japanese investors are confident in investing in Thailand with its new government, Mr Takada replied: “Japanese  investors have always considered Thailand as the centre of ASEAN, regardless which government administers the country.”