Southeast Asia set high expectation for 2013 despite the global crisis, but it was Thailand that caught my attention.  The country’s economy is expected to grow 5.7% in the coming year.  One cause is the substantial increase in public investment for higher quality infrastructure, education, energy and health.  Furthermore, there has been an flood of foreign ventures by not only large corporations, but also small business on Thailand’s resources, technology, and human capital.  This stream of assets has, in turn, created a new consumer base and multinational companies that are quietly looking outward.

Leading the acquisition of foreign assets is the country’s food and beverage industry.  Seafood, rice, cassava, sugarcane and soy are leading products being not only grown, but also processed in large quantities then exported.  But why has it taken so long to notice the global advances of Thailand’s other industry leaders?  The answer comes in two parts. (1) Focus has always been on China or India or Japan, the other Asian economic powerhouses.  Shifted attention has caused the world not to recognize how much the Thai Bhat has appreciated.  And (2) none of those companies have not had cash leverage until now.  Their level of caution high due to the political imbalance made them cash-rich, but only by keeping costs low and executing exceptional supply-chain tactics can the corporations sustain the sure rise their own profitability, but also the standard of living for the population.

With landmark increases in exports, Thailand is slowly (but surely) rising to its place in the world market.  But this optimistic prospective of 5% growth is wholly dependent on the country’s ability to sustain a stable political backdrop so that discrepancies in external, fiscal, and monetary accounts do not emerge.  Creating more transparency in government and business is one way method of to assure durability that they might want to consider.

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