DPU: Thai SMEs least competitive among 5 ASEAN nations

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BANGKOK, 29 May 2012  – A recent survey conducted by Dhurakij Pundit University Research Center (DPURC) found that Thai SMEs’ competitiveness has dropped to the last place among five ASEAN nations due to the minimum wage hike and entrepreneurs’ unpreparedness for the ASEAN integration. 

DPURC Director Kiatanantha Lounkaew explained that the center has ranked the competitiveness of ASEAN member countries based on the World Bank’s Enterprise Survey Data from 2006 to 2009 of 3,161 enterprises from five countries, namely Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia. The study found that the 300-baht minimum wage hike in Thailand sent production cost skyrocketing and, thus, dragging Thailand’s status down from the second place to the lowest spot amongst its neighbours, while Vietnam has become the region’s most competitive country.

The center’s Director suggested that the government should rush to enhance the skills of workers and carefully study measures to appropriately establish clear development strategies for each industry in order to bring Thailand back in the game.

Additionally, the center also revealed the result of a survey conducted on 1,073 SME entrepreneurs from 18 provinces nationwide on their preparation for the upcoming ASEAN integration. The study found that one-fourth of the respondents already have clear preparation measures, while the remaining are not sure about how they should adapt to the integration.