SMEs urged to invest in ASEAN

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BANGKOK, 25 June 2012 – The Industry Ministry is urging SME entrepreneurs to explore investment opportunities in ASEAN countries in preparation for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC); to be formed in 2015. 

The Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI) is currently devising investment promotion measures to encourage overseas investment among Thai SME entrepreneurs. The ministry plans to pilot the scheme with medium-sized enterprises at the initial stage as they possess more readiness and potentials than small-scale businesses.

During the past 10 years, Thai entrepreneurs have altogether invested 5 billion dollars in the ASEAN region, making Thai the second largest investor in ASEAN, only after Singapore.

Studies have shown that Indonesia is the most convenient country to invest in. The archipelago possesses a population of over 200 million and boasts a large market. Moreover, the labour wage in Indonesia is moderate while workers possess the necessary skills. However, employees may have some difficulties hiring local Indonesian workers might during Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting.

Myanmar is also an interesting investment destination in the ASEAN region. With the longstanding tie between Thailand and Myanmar, the BOI believes that early investment in the neighbouring country will give Thailand a head start on other countries in finding new markets. Even though Myanmar’s infrastructure is still in need of improvement, the country possesses abundant natural resources.

Meanwhile, with over 100 billion baht already invested in Vietnam during the past 20 years, the Industry Ministry is aiming to increase the volume of Thai investment in Vietnam in industries, such as textile and garment.