British businesses eyeing more opportunities in Thailand


British businesses eyeing more opportunities in Thailand

Over the Christmas-New Year festive season the British Embassy supported what it termed a ‘Shopping is Great Britain’ promotion. The basic premise of the promotion was to encourage Thai people to purchase British-made goods from the fairly numerous British brands which are already established in Thailand.

The promotion also highlighted the fact that British companies, covering a wide range of industries and services, are increasingly interested in either expanding their already-existing positions in Thailand or are looking to enter this market. The Thai retail sector, for example, is ranked as the eight-largest in the Asia-Pacific region.

British fashion house Burberry recently gave its Siam Paragon outlet a makeover while Hackett London, a rising fashion label, will be setting up in business during 2016.

The expansion of broadband services across Thailand and the region in general is another sector attracting British companies towards establishing digital services.

The food and drink sector is another area which has attracted plenty of interest and investment in the local market from British-based firms. In recent times, more British beef and lamb has been making its way onto the menus of leading hotels and good quality restaurants, chiefly in Bangkok but also into other mainly tourist-oriented destinations.

However, it is in the far more expansive and important infrastructure development areas that British companies are looking to get involved.

The five major infrastructure projects outlined under the government’s public-private partnership (PPP) scheme have attracted great interest from British companies keen to link up with competent Thai partners.

Marcus Winsley, the trade and investment director at the British Embassy, is quoted as saying British companies feel the transport and infrastructure sectors hold a lot of potential for British businesses in Thailand.

Already there are a number of British companies in the transport and infrastructure sectors who have entered into partnership arrangements with major Thai construction and engineering companies.

As Winsley noted, there are British companies which specialize in tunneling and signaling and are keen to work alongside Thai companies on the five major infrastructure projects set up under the fast-track PPP scheme once these projects are opened for contract tendering.

The British companies offer genuinely world-class expertise in engineering, design and project management for big complexes and are keen to link up with local operations to tender for the rail, mass transit and port development projects which are to be rolled out over the next few years.

The start of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) should give Thailand a nudge towards completing the tender process for these infrastructure projects.