Implications for policy makers
Thailand will likely host a general election in 2019. Several major projects initiated under the military government will need the support of civilian leaders if they are to drive long-term growth. Priority areas for the next government include supporting and expediting many industrial sectors such as telecommunication, education, health services, public services, science, technology and innovation as well as the digital economy.
Government support is key to driving forward a digital agenda for the private sector. So in coming years, civilian leaders will have a lot to do in terms of building the required infrastructure for the digital business environment, setting adequate laws and regulations for e-business and e-commerce platforms, as well as improving the digital talent pipeline through training STEM professionals. The private sector is very advanced in terms of technology, and the digital industry is very dynamic. Policy makers, on the other hand, need to keep pace with the private sector. They’ll also need to raise awareness among international investors that Thailand is moving to a high-tech, innovative and digital society.
- Thailand’s medium- and long-term economic outlook remains bright. But external unpredictability and a protracted US-China trade dispute could slow Thailand’s exports and increase inflation as supply chains are disrupted, which could impact the nation’s growth. It’s time for Thailand to expedite its domestic consumption, reinforce infrastructure projects by establishing a set of attractive investor incentives and strategies, and revamp the education system to ensure a steady supply of skilled labour.
Implications for businesses
The trade war between the US and China may result in a positive impact on Thailand, as it may be considered an alternative to China for supply chains in sectors like robotics, aviation parts, automobiles, computer parts and electronics. Thai companies could benefit from a windfall from the imposition of tariffs between these two countries due to a rise in the demand for Thai products as substitutes.
Digital transformation is vital to driving competiveness in businesses. When it comes to successful digital transformation, people are a major factor. Businesses can harness the full benefit of technology adoption only by encouraging buy-in from all levels of the organisation, and from all people involved. A clear digitisation strategy is a key to a speedy and effective digital transformation.
Thailand faces a shortage of graduates in technology-related subjects due to a limited pool of talent. Businesses must be alert to investing in employees who have expertise and knowledge in the digital sector. Skilled employees are more likely to be drawn to large organisations where incentives and benefits are typically higher. So, it’s important that firms maintain the skills and technical expertise required for the digital 4.0 vision in which innovation will be the main driver of the organisation’s growth.