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BANGKOK

BUSINESS BRIEF

Vol. No. 2, Issue No. 12

SPECIAL HOLIDAY ISSUE

Mid-November/December 2013

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Amusing Thailand? By Lotney Fratelli

Amazing Thailand, The Land of Smiles, and Miracle Thailand: All of these slogans have been used to market the Kingdom to international tourists in recent years. How successful these marketing

Inside General Interest 2 Government/Economy 3 Finance/Investment 4 Production 5 Real Estate 6 Retail/Services 8 Tourism 10 IT/Comms 11 The Calendar 14

campaigns have been is debatable, but there is no question that tourism in Thailand is booming, with the number of international tourists increasing significantly each of the past three years. And 2013 has already seen a 20% increase in the first six months of the year. But as Thailand enters its annual high season from November to February, many tourists, industry insiders, and even government officials are raising questions about safety standards, scams and crime, and an assortment of other issues that threaten to tarnish Thailand’s reputation as a premier tourist destination.

Tourism in Thailand has grown steadily since the 1960s when it became an international hub for airlines, a period that coincided with an influx of military personnel into the region. In 1967, there were 336,000 international visitors to Thailand (along with 54,000 soldiers on R&R from the Vietnam War). Fast-forward to 2012, when over 22 million tourists enjoyed Thailand’s beaches, cities, and cultural heritage. These numbers have made everyone involved in tourism in Thailand optimistic that even great heights can be achieved, with the government setting a target for 2014 of just over 28 million tourists. And so far this year, the numbers have

supported this optimism. In June 2013, Time magazine noted that, according to the 2013 Global Destination Cities Index, Bangkok is the most visited city in the world. Regional tourists top the list of visitors to Thailand with China, Malaysia, Japan, Russia, and South Korea comprising the top five, and with European, Australian, and American tourists also high on the list. But a recent spate of high-profile incidents involving tourists has shone an unflattering light on the Kingdom and a sector that accounts for approximately 7% of its annual GDP. Story continues on Page 12

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Charging you to get stuck in traffic

Bangkok made global headlines again recently when a BBC report put the city on a list of “10 monster traffic jams” along with Jakarta, Manila, Mumbai and six others. The report featured one man who spent about an hour travelling from Pathum Thani to central Bangkok via a commuter van on weekdays. Many people would say that’s fast. It seems like a fair observation that an average person spends about two hours a day going to and from work or school or on other trips. In other words, Bangkok commuters waste around 10% of their waking hours in traffic. A local academic has estimated that traffic jams incur economic losses _ as people normally would spend time on other activities than being stuck in cars _ of 10 billion baht a year, not to mention increased fuel expenses. That’s 0.1% of

To read the full article of a story brief, enter the short code at the end of the story into your browser: Thailand’s annual GDP. We believe the figure, based on a loss assumption of 100 to 120 baht per person per hour, might be significantly underestimated. The... Full story: http://goo.gl/cLTrVa

Six global firms team up to offer ‘emerging talent’ programme Heidrick & Struggles International, a professional-services firm, has partnered with five other international companies to launch an Emerging Talent Alliance Programme in Thailand. The programme is aimed at providing local high-potential employees with more exposure to dynamic work experience. Conceptualised by General Motors, the innovative talentexchange programme is being facilitated by Heidrick & Struggles, and supported by the senior business leaders of likeminded companies, namely BlueScope Steel, Dusit International, Maersk Line and McDonald’s. The five companies have jointly launched the one-year programme to offer their core expertise to emerging talent, with the objective of providing promising staff with a development opportunity through cross-... Full story: http://goo.gl/SyIBbH

...added that the company had set aside a significant investment budget of Bt200 million to Bt300 million for overseas expansion. Full story: http://goo.gl/bH6PF

Thailand ranks near bottom in English proficiency: survey Thailand ranks near the bottom in an English proficiency survey, showing the persistence of one of the key competitive weaknesses of the Thai economy. Out of 60 countries and territories where English is not their mother tongue, Thailand manages only 55th place – outdoing only Panama, Kazakhstan, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, according to the EF English Proficiency Index. The survey on adults was conducted by the global leader in international education, EF Education First, which is based in Zurich, Switzerland. Poor English skills indicate the small base of competent adult English speakers necessary for a globalised workforce. “Comparison of countries with their neighbours, trading partners and rivals provides a fascinating study in divergent national priorities and educational policies worldwide,” Christopher McCormick, head of EF’s Academic Affairs and Research Network, said. “We found that by engaging in a national dialogue about English, stakeholders can help align

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goals, improve incentives and focus on teaching English for communication. The economic impact of such a coordinated programme is clear.”... Full story: http://goo.gl/2kYk3c

Tackling corruption in Thailand If you look at Thailand’s competitiveness, the key constraint is the quality of government. The latest Global Competitiveness Index rates corruption as the most problematic factor for doing business in Thailand. Some of the detailed data in the GCI are depressing. For example, among 148 countries, Thailand ranks 101 in diversion of public funds, 127 in public trust in politicians, and 107 in wastefulness of public spending. Corruption is difficult to measure, of course. What can be done to reduce corruption? Here there is good news. Even in very corrupt settings, corruption can be reduced, leading to greater investment and public satisfaction. The success stories exhibit some common principles, regardless of cultural setting. The successes range from classic cases such as Singapore and Hong Kong to more recent ones such as the Republic... Full story: http://goo.gl/tNYQxU


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Economic deals expected to boost ties with China

Meetings to look at barter arrangement for Chinese role in high-speed train project: A number of agreements to strengthen Sino-Thai economic ties will be signed when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrives in Bangkok. One memorandum of understanding will be signed by the Board of Investment and China Development Bank Corporation to promote direct investment by both countries. The other concerns the partial payment for a Chinese rail system with Thai farm products. A joint working will be set up to discuss this matter further. Only a few Thai companies have made their presence felt in China, such as Charoen Pokphand Group, Bangkok Bank and Kasikornbank. However, some Chinese companies have established operations in Thailand. From 2007 to 2012, Chinese investors with 188 projects worth Bt177.7 billion applied for the BOI’s tax... Full story: http://goo.gl/BW628M

Thai-India FTA signing soon

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Thailand paving way towards innovationdriven economy

The three stages: The first stage involves establishing a leading production base within Asean. The particular industries to be targeted have yet to be specified, but they are likely to be those related to agricultural products, energy, automotives and electronics. In the second stage, Thailand will develop its own intellectual property and apply these innovations to improve production capabilities. In this way, it is hoped that Thailand can become a regional trade centre from where production can be effectively managed and serviced. Additionally, Thai brands will be promoted on an Asean level. The third stage involves the international... Full story: http://goo.gl/b0fovx

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Pridiyathorn sees export recovery in Q1 next year

Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Phuangrach said the Thai Cabinet recently approved the comprehensive pact covering trade in goods, services and investment, which he said should benefit Thai businesses greatly as India had agreed to open its services market to Thai investors. The agreement is expected to be signed by the two countries’ leaders at the WTO summit in Indonesia in December. The pact will be Thailand’s seven bilateral FTA, alongside those with Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, China and Chile.

Former deputy prime minister and finance minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula expects Thai exports to stage a recovery in the first quarter of 2014 on the back of the global economic recovery. Speaking at the ethical issue forum held by the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Pridiyathorn said that the global economy could improve if the United States sailed through its budget crisis, as the US economy was consistently improving with lower unemployment. The European economy had turned around to expand 1 per cent in the past two months with a lower unemployment rate. Japan grew 4 per cent in the previous quarter. China expanded 8.5 per cent in the third quarter, higher than the previous two quarters, after the state’s capital injection. In light of such external factors, Thai exports would likely improve in the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year, Pridiyathorn said.

Yanyong said Thailand should benefit greatly from India’s service-sector liberalisation, with many Thai enterprises having potential to expand their business in India to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the country’s huge... Full story: http://goo.gl/op6E1h

However, to promote the Thai economy, the government may need to rush disbursement of the budget for fiscal year 2013, he said. There may be no big investment in the manufacturing sector and investment may not expand as fast as in... Full story: http://goo.gl/wPRRbI

Thailand and India are scheduled to sign their long-awaited comprehensive freetrade agreement at the World Trade Organisation meeting after reaching an agreement on service-sector liberalisation. The agreement would see an increase in bilateral investment in the countries’ service businesses.

...added that the set aside a signi company had budget of Bt20 ficant investment million for over0 million to Bt300 seas expansion Full story at http: . //goo.gl/bH6PF

Nature and life in JuliusCaesar. 1997-98 wa are cyclical _ the impact of s a blessing, as the mains seasons of the yea 2008 would ha above the Europ the phases of the r, life and death, far worse ve been ean average. for the region, mo http://goo.gl/o on, the tides. ” Azman In Caught up in da zbNM India, China ily details, we eas Mokhtar, the managing and Thailand, ily forget that dir ect of or Kh Asia stands to rou aza ghly 12 percent nah the business wo of has cycles, too. rld told the CI Nasional of Malaysia, tion contribute to a the populaWe are all fam MB Asean Confe gain from W pension, while iliar with the econo rence. the we es t mi ak c ne bu sse sin s ess of cycle His com slowdown of expansion, con sion system are Thailand’s penments were... ... covery. Howe traction and re- Full story Full story at htt The shift of eco ver, other cyc at http://goo.gl/d nomic growth p:/ /goo.gl/rtpH3 lic ph al fu2 en u om ena affect... momentum to the Thailand near Preventing up numerous East has opened Full story at http://goo.gl/fJ to p opportunities olr of list of wor that Asian countries Bangkok from out, suggests an should not miss Panel: Asia bett weakest pensld’s sinking bigges economist. io off, not immun er n t systems: stud challenge Industry Minister Boonchaisuk The robustPrasert y from global cr e, econo Greece, India, Ch Land subsidence China and em mic growth of is es ina and Thailan erg caused by ing economies KU ALA LUMPUR recently reiterated government’s dewill open the : The Asian cri- are home to the weakest natio d water losses tops the list ground a new of na pension system Asian economi opportunity for sis in the late 1990s was a s in the world l lems that must be solved in probwa es to inc terminationwe to continue promoting the kecal up l rea for cri se Ba , the region that pp their alth from trade has turned eig led by a mix of acute sover- kok to mitigate the impact ngin ou go t to od of the s be n an de cli ser a d bt, young retire mate change on vices at a tim blessing in dis Thailand Creative Economy initiative. e States and Europ when the United nearly 15 years later, as the guise high ratios of pension ment ages, a study by multin flooding, says region’s ers an ers to worke are... ational agencies financial sector Full sto d poor pe . In an attempt tory atrally for abl Thaiis no http:/support /goo.gl/S65D6 e to sustain a w strong and study showed. nsion take-up, a The con clu cer sio tai n n de is gre contained in of shocks from e Growto land’s transition anh innovation-driven a rep wit ort the entitled “Clim fallout in the the flow Western He ate Ris The Allia and mi cycles on in Asian Co ks to a pa country, heofused rousing words such asnellist atsphaererec, enaccording sion SustanzinaGlbilobityal Investors Pen- MegacAditieapts”,ati astal joi ntl Ind t ‘There is a tid y As con ex, ean conferen ducte which Asian De tracks the rel e in the affair velopment Bank d by the ative sustaina “creative” me and “sustainable” tos ofdescribece. n, wh , ich, taken at the bil ity Japan of national pe the flood “Th nsion system International Cooperation leads on to for ere will be mo tune”, wrote Wi , 20-year re crises in the in 44 countries around the wo s and the World Bank in 201 Agency his latest strategy. A three-stage, l- future, an rld, 0. showed the nu d the Asian mber of crisis in tirees to people of wo Greek re- The report recom plan is now being drawn up, but it is not rking age reFull story at htt mended a... p://goo.gl/20yMD without its challenges.

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To read the full article of a story brief, enter the short code at the end of the story into your browser: Weidt Nuchjalearn, first senior executive vice president at KTB, said that the bank would focus more on small enterprises and supply chains with credit lines of up to Bt20 million, as these customers... Full story: http://goo.gl/dJs5TP

Building, maintaining Kingdom must credit a major cement role as challenge for SMEs The three main challenges for small and north Asean hub medium-sized enterprises in the globalisation era are how to build and maintain credit, how to access funding sources and how to manage operations, a seminar heard. Speaking at KTB’s seminar, president Vorapak Tanyawong said SMEs should know what they want to achieve in doing business – and the finance required to support their objectives. Credit-building is, therefore, the priority for this size of business. When building up their credit position, business operators must secure their credit as it is important to show banks that they have ability to repay debt when it comes to borrowing more. SMEs are a major focus for commercial banks, including KTB, as they are key drivers of both the corporate sector and the domestic economy, he added.

Kasikornbank foresees competition for foreign direct investment getting more intense under the Asean Economic Community, which means Thai enterprises should implement strategic moves now to maintain the country’s position as the centre of the region’s northern part. Songpol Chevapanyaroj, executive vice president of KBank, said that every member of ASEAN would compete to attract massive investments from overseas including Japan, China, Europe and the United States. Each ASEAN country has different advantages and levels of readiness. Thailand’s wage costs are lower only than Singapore’s, but the cost of office rental in Thailand is competitive when compared with Singapore, Myanmar and Vietnam,

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...added that the company had set aside a significant investment budget of Bt200 million to Bt300 million for overseas expansion. Full story: http://goo.gl/bH6PF

he said. FDI from outside ASEAN has been various industries, showing this region’s potential for accommodating entire production chains and becoming one of the world’s manufacturing hubs. Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Indonesia are crucial production bases and raw-material sources for foreign enterprises. Indonesia is the main rival of Thailand in attracting FDI even though that country is facing depreciation of its currency and soaring... Full story: http://goo.gl/s2wuBW

Streamlined process key in Myanmar Myanmar has shown positive developments, partly thanks to the Foreign Investment Law issued last November. However, the more significant change that has sped up business transactions is the predictable turnaround time of investment applications. In the year since KPMG reopened its office in Myanmar, the situation has improved. It was difficult in the past to plan when the Myanmar Investment Commission would respond to applications, but now businessmen can find that out within 90 days. Now that the approval process is clear and transpar-

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ent, investors can plan ahead with more confidence when setting themselves up. KPMG sees advances in areas covering infrastructure, real estate segments like... Full story: http://goo.gl/s7nfsa

Germans ‘keen to invest’ in Thailand German enterprises in Thailand said they are keen to invest and expand their businesses in this country, especially to take part in the Bt2-trillion infrastructure development project. However, they also maintained that corruption is unacceptable and should be seriously tackled under the law. Karl-Heinze Heckhausen, president of the German-Thai Chamber of Commerce, said as foreign investors in Thailand, German investors wanted to keep out of Thailand’s politics. He said investors are still confident of doing business and investing here. “I’ve no worries about the investment environment in Thailand, despite the recent protests,” said Heckhausen Asked about the corruption problem in Thailand, the GTCC president said that German investors do not accept it. They... Full story: http://goo.gl/Pf04Qq


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Ducati revs up for big expansion

Ducati Motor (Thailand), an Italian bigbike maker, invested 580 million baht to triple its Thai output to serve increasing demand across the globe. The assembly plant in Amata City Industrial Estate in Rayong is its sole production base outside its home in Bologna, Italy. Managing director Francesco Milicia said the parent company, Ducati Motor Holding SpA, spent 220 million baht to set up the Thai unit in November 2010 and has been churning out 5,000 motorcycles a year since 2011. The 7,000-square-metre plant will be extended by 25,000 sq m so that it can produce 15,000 motorcycles. Mr Milicia said models assembled here have engines sized from 800-1,000cc. “The Thai unit is aimed at serving demand for these models in the local market and for exports,” he said. About 60% of motorcycles are exported, with the focus on Asian emerging markets where... Full story: http://goo.gl/nRG8Zy

BMW revs up for Amata City plant BMW, the German luxury-car maker, will begin motorcycle assembly for BMW Motorrad at its Rayong plant in the first quarter of 2014. The BMW F800R is designated as the first model to be made at BMW’s plant in Amata City Industrial Estate, with production of over 100 units a year, said Peter Guenther Wolf, managing director of BMW Manufacturing Thailand. Local content will make up 40% of the new assembly line. “Manufacturing here will help cut retail prices for BMW Motorrad, and that will make it more competitive in the Thai market,” said Mr Wolf. “BMW needs to generate big-bike sales with an engine size of 650cc and above, while local manufacturing will help reduce customs tariffs now levied at as high as 60% for the segment.” An imported BMW F800R goes for about 750,000 baht. The exact retail price for the Thai-made bike and the plant’s investment costs are... Full story: http://goo.gl/h5tgno

Top destination The Asian market is growing rapidly and the region is important for Hitachi’s op-

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...added that the set aside a signi company had budget of Bt20 ficant investment million for over0 million to Bt300 seas expansion Full story at http: . //goo.gl/bH6PF

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F

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Hitachi’s core businesses in Thailand are home appliances, electric components and materials for the automobile industry. It also focuses on railways, power transmission, urban development (elevators, building IT management systems) and medical products. It supplies infrastructure systems to information and telecommunications systems, construction equipment, highly functional materials and components to automobile systems and financial services. The group consisted of 131 companies with 28,156 employees in Asean as of September. About 35 of those companies and 12,225 employees were in Thailand. There are many projects Hitachi is working on or exploring now in Thailand, including some major transportation... Full story: http://goo.gl/5jbtch

TSE takes to the rooftops Thai Solar Energy Co (TSE), the solarfarm operator controlled by Channel 3’s Maleenont family, is expanding into the increasingly popular solar rooftop business. TSE aims to install solar rooftops at 15 branches of the Mall Group and Home Product Center Plc, the operator of HomePro hardware stores, at a total cost of 975 million baht. With rented rooftop space from the two retailers, each site will generate one megawatt of power and revenue of 10 million baht, said chief operating officer Cathleen Maleenont. TSE will sell the electricity to state utilities for 6.16 baht per kilowatt-hour under the feed-in tariff system, compared with 3.75 baht for power from the existing grid. Mrs Cathleen said TSE applied for a solar rooftop licence for 39 MW under a scheme launched last month by the Energy Regulatory Commission. But the company was granted a licence for just 15 MW and is still awaiting an operating... Full story: http://goo.gl/OWxZpx


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Chinese spearhead Chiang Mai boom

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...added that the company had set aside a significant investment budget of Bt200 million to Bt300 million for overseas expansion. Full story: http://goo.gl/bH6PF

ists after the Lost in Thailand film was a... Full story: http://goo.gl/90cBzc

For example, CP Land is issuing the Bt... Full story: http://goo.gl/FBq5GY

Developers find a new way to raise capital

Failed EIAs kick condos to the kerb

Due to increasing demand from East Asian and Singaporean buyers for Chiang Mai property, a Singaporean investor plans to launch two residential projects worth a combined 1.1 billion baht in the next few months. Kloe Long, chief operating officer of property consultant Kingsfield Asia Consultants Group, said Chinese are the biggest property buyers among East Asian nationalities. “We see an increase of Chinese investors buying up lots of properties in bulk for a second holiday home or investment in Chiang Mai,” she said.

A number of leading developers plan to issue property funds worth more than Bt30 billion combined, in order to raise capital to support their business expansion over the remainder of this year and during 2014. When added to the property funds already issued this year, nearly Bt100 billion worth of such funds will have been issued in total. Raising funds via the capital market has the advantage of reducing developers’ financial costs when compared with borrowing from commercial banks or the issuance of debentures, according to a survey by The Nation and information from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The northern province was ranked 24th in a list of the most liveable global destinations by travel Dream GYM A5_c.pdf 1 27/3/2555 14:17:26 website TripAdvisor, while Bangkok stood at 13th among Thai destinations. Ms Long said Chinese investors are also investing in hotels in Chiang Mai due to the increase in Chinese tour-

This is why some developers have expanded their investment in rental-income businesses such as hotels, office buildings and retail, which are the sources for issuing property funds – to be upgraded to real-estate investment trusts next year – with a view to raising capital in the future.

A growing number of condo projects already launched for sale have failed to win environmental impact assessment approval, forcing developers to return booking money and revise project designs. The problem, which causes projects to be delayed or even scrapped entirely, was common a few years ago and has recently re-emerged in the booming condo sector. The condo developer Grand Unity Development Co, a subsidiary of the SETlisted Univentures Plc, for instance, sent a letter to customers this week saying its two condo projects had failed their EIAs. Neramit Srangiam, the developer’s managing director, said in the letter that the company will return all booking money and interest to customers as stated in the contract. The projects are U Delight @ Phaholyothin Station, an eight-storey building with 400 units, and Condo U @ Phaholyothin Station, two eight-storey buildings with 409 units. Both are on Phahon Yothin Soi 23, launched in... Full story: http://goo.gl/8H0cmw

Newcomer blesses On Nut with townhouse project Blessed Assets Group, a contractorturned-developer, has launched a townhouse project worth 500 million baht near On Nut skytrain station, adding to the large condo supply in the area. Managing director Somjit Norraluck said the first nine months of the year saw about 4,500 units of newly launched condo supply near skytrain stations between Sukhumvit Sois 3 and 103. Of this number, 2,000 units were launched on Soi On Nut at one project

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alone. Some 200 townhouses from two projects have also been launched near On Nut station this year. Condos in the On Nut area are priced at 100,000 baht a square metre on average, and units going for 6-10 million baht have recorded a good sales rate. To fill the void in townhouse supply, Blessed Assets launched Bless Town Sukhumvit 50 in July, with 56 3.5-storey townhouses priced between 8 and 12 million baht a unit. The project is on six rai of Sukhumvit Soi 50, 800 metres from... Full story: http://goo.gl/FceTOX

Northeast housing market overheating Despite an opportunity for healthy growth from upcoming Asean economic integration, the property market in major northeastern provinces should be more cautious, as property prices have risen too high too quickly in recent years, warns the Real Estate Information Center. Director-general Samma Kitsin said economic, trade and property development has been rapid, boosting economic growth in the Northeast. But at the same time, this has come with a rapid rise in land costs, with huge investment and speculation in land in many provinces, particularly in business zones in Muang districts. “Soaring land prices may become an obstacle to housing development, as locals will soon be unable to afford high-priced housing units,” warned Mr Samma. That in turn could lead to a slowdown in the housing market such as happened along the Eastern Seaboard 20 years ago. Other obstacles are the ongoing labour shortage and rising costs for both construction and development. Just like in Greater Bangkok, developers in the Northeast face a labour shortage... Full story: http://goo.gl/rAU4N8

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8

BANGKOK BUSINESS BRIEF

www.BBBrief.com

Mid-November/December 2013

Briefs Retail/Services

http://goo.gl/QyrTE

Chicken Seoul food comes to Thailand

Korean fried chicken is coming to Thailand courtesy of Fico Group. Subsidiary Evolution Capital Group has formed a joint venture with South Korea’s Kyochon F&B Co to operate the popular chicken restaurant chain here. Kyochon Thailand Co has a budget of 60 million baht to open 15 outlets next year. It will also expand the chain with a franchise format. Evolution Capital chief executive Sanjay Singh said fast food business in Thailand is huge with annual sales of more than 25 billion baht, of which 40% is from fried chicken. He said there is plenty of room for new players and he is confident the Asian taste will differentiate Kyochon from the fried chicken produced by international brands. Two Kyochon outlets already operate in Bangkok at Korean Town on Sukhumvit

To read the full article of a story brief, enter the short code at the end of the story into your browser: Soi 12 and at Fashion Island shopping centre. They have been operated by... Full story: http://goo.gl/bCTIuR

Thai Lion Air readies for take-off After securing an operating licence on Tuesday, Thai Lion Air, a strong new player in the competitive low-cost carrier market, has declared all systems go for a commercial blast-off on Dec 4. TLA, part of Indonesia’s giant Lion Air Group, was granted an air operator certificate from the Civil Aviation Department, clearing the last hurdle of the official approval process and essentially allowing TLA to use aircraft for commercial purposes. A TLA insider confirmed all preparations are in place to support inaugural flights on Dec 4 from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta _ three separate non-stop routes. Two brand-new B737900ER jets have been on standby at Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport, TLA’s home base, since last month, with some 380 employees, mostly Thai nationals, ready to go live. Current personnel include 22 cockpit staff, 60 cabin crew (all women)... Full story: http://goo.gl/ip3nVd

...added that the company had set aside a significant investment budget of Bt200 million to Bt300 million for overseas expansion. Full story: http://goo.gl/bH6PF

Rolling out superluxury chauffeurs

Owning a Rolls-Royce is considered an achievement for buyers anywhere in the world, but the complete experience also includes being chauffeured around by drivers who understand excellent driving etiquette and sound handling practices for this super-luxury marque. After paying close to a whopping Bt40 million for a Rolls-Royce Phantom Extended Wheelbase, one might wonder whether the chauffeur has what it takes. That’s why the esteemed British carmaker has introduced a pilot series of chauffeur workshops in the Asia-Pacific region. In Thailand the British marque is represented by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Bangkok. According to Rolls-Royce, the “White Glove Programme” is the first of its kind in this region, and comes as a complimentary package for the ultra-rich who purchase a new Rolls-Royce car. While many owners in the United States or the UK drive their Rolls, customers in Asia prefer to be chauffeur-driven... Full story: http://goo.gl/PoJv29

goo.gl/bH6PF

Alzheimer’s resort in pipeline

Vivo Bene AG, a Swiss nursing and personal care company, is investing 250 million baht to develop a nursing home project for Alzheimer’s patients in Doi Saket, Chiang Mai. The 22-rai resort is now under construction and scheduled to be completed by the end of January next year. The first patient will come to stay in early February, said president Bernhard Rutz. Vivo Bene Thailand was established to operate this project. The company got a special permit from the Board of Investment to acquire land and get work and residence permits for foreigners working to take care of foreign patients, mainly from Switzerland. The investment comes from Mr Rutz himself and a venture capital fund. The Vivo Bene resort has six Lanna-style buildings with 12 rooms each, a clubhouse, a nursing building, four villas for guests, and a staff house. It can care for up to 90 Alzheimer’s patients. Some land areas are reserved to build six more... Full story: http://goo.gl/MhdKvU


2

10

BANGKOK BUSINESS BRIEF

BANGKOK BU SINESS BRIEF

Briefs

December 20 11

Mid-November/December 2013 General Inte

liam Shakespe are Nature and life ar seasons of the yea the phases of the r http://goo.gl/o Caught up in da m zbNM ily ily forget that Asia stands to the has cycles, too. We gain from W with the econo mi slowdown est of expansion, con c tr cov ery. However, The shift of eco o no mentum to the mic growth mo- phenomena affect... up numerous East has opened Full story at http://g opportunities that Asian countries should not mi out, sugges ss Panel: Asia b Thai travel-related businesses are preparts an economist. off, not immu ing for an expected rise in the number The robust eco fr om global c nomic growth China and em of erging econo ALA LUMPUR of travellers wifrom next year – KU and ll openChina : Th a new opportu mies sis in nity for the late 1990s wa Asian economi es to they hope towe earn more tourism revenue. inc cal l rea for the region se their alth from trade tha t in goods and out to be a ble services at aplan ssing Some enterprises more time to employ States and Europ when the United nearly 15 years later, as e are... financial sector Full story at htt Mandarin-speaking staff, while expandis no p://goo.g l/S65D6 able to sustain a w certa of shocks from Growto ing their facilities serve more visitors. wit the h the flow Western fall Hemisphere, of cycles to a panellist at a rece ‘There is a tid conference. e in AkarapholmeChaimongkoltrakul, n, which, tak the affairs ofMD of leads on to for en at the flood, “There wi ll be more cri tun e”, wrote Wiand Samphran Elephant Ground Zoo, l- future , and the As s ian

Use the QR Code reader in your smartphone to see all the stories in a certain category.

http://goo.gl/fxE4d

Singapore, Malaysia tough rivals to Thailand’s quest to be medical hub Thailand should prove itself more if it wants to become a regional hub for medical tourism in the long term, competing with arch-rivals Singapore and Malaysia. One major barrier to this quest is politics. If political demonstrations become chaotic to the point of closing airports, this will undermine patients’ confidence, and they might decide to go elsewhere, said Pongsakorn Chindawatana, a professional doctor and also senior director of communication at Bangkok Dusit Medical Services. So far, there have been no cancellations of trips to the company’s hospitals. The political scenario at present is still considered acceptable. However, the company will have to keep monitoring the situation closely over the next few months, he said. He said Thailand was second to no other country in the region for the quality of its medical services. The country’s medical advancement is also internationally recognised for its high standards. It is essential for the government and private sectors to make a joint effort to promote this service on the global stage. It is already true Thailand is a hub, but only geographically. So far, there is no clear evidence... Full story: http://goo.gl/L8gaOT

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Travel firms gear up for Chinese visitors

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AEC strikes fear in Thai tour agents Local tour agents are worried that foreign operators will dominate the travel business when the AEC begins in late 2015. Jiraruss Montimanutt, managing director of Henry Around the World Co, said tour operators from Singapore will flood into Thailand because they have strong financial backup. Opening a tour agency in Thailand requires a bank guarantee of 200,000 baht, while Singapore demands an outlay 12 times higher. Setting up a tour agency takes about 370,000 baht in Laos, 800,000 baht in Brunei and 1.1 million baht in Malaysia. “This obviously shows that opening a tour company in Thailand is very easy,” Mr Jiraruss told a seminar on Thai tourism. He said that when more foreign tour agents enter the Thai market, local agents will finally lose... Full story: http://goo.gl/WI0Pgg

To re enter the st

said that because of the Chinese government’s policy to get rid of “zero-dollar tours”, Thai enterprises could expect Chinese visitors with more purchasing power to come to the Kingdom next year. Samphran is one of the businesses that will hire more Mandarin speakers. He foresees that with more “quality tourists” arriving from that country, his business should earn more income from Chinese visitors as the price of a Chinese tour to Thailand would increase from an average of Bt19,000 to more than Bt30,000. Dhwat Sommanobhat, head of marketing and public relations of Riverside Masterplan, operator of Asiatique, said it would launch a new Muay Thai show to draw more foreign visitors, particularly from Western countries and China. The... Full story: http://goo.gl/46EyY0

Theme park incentives urged The government is being asked to work out new tax incentives to promote investment in amusement and theme parks, as existing measures are proving inadequate to lure investors. “Thailand has set a lofty plan to boost tourism income to 2 trillion baht by 2015,” said Suwat Sidthilaw, the tourism and sports permanent secretary. “The government needs to improve in many areas including support for tourism-related facilities, easing visa extensions for long-stay visitors and better safety measures.” The Board of Investment now offers tax privileges to amusement park start-ups that invest more than 500 million baht. The privileges include import tariff waivers for machinery and a corporate tax exemption for five years in zone one (Greater Bangkok), seven years in zone two (12 other large provinces) and eight years in zone three (remote low-income areas). The private sector has long pressed the government to modify conditions for... Full story: http://goo.gl/j65ESW


2

BANGKOK BUSINESS BRIEF

BANGKOK BU SINESS BRIEF

Briefs 11

Mid-November/December 2013 General Inte

http://goo.gl/VwYn9

Baidu set to launch Thai search engine

Baidu Inc, China’s largest internet search engine company, will introduce a Thailanguage interactive search engine next year in a drive to capitalise on the growing online advertising market. Global marketing director Richard Lee said it chose Thailand and Indonesia as test beds for expanding abroad. Baidu believes Thailand’s internet business has high potential for growth, fuelled particularly by the availability of high-speed broadband service, he said. “We are committed to continue investing in Thailand with no concerns about the current political uncertainty,” Mr Lee said. Baidu set up its Thai subsidiary late last year, spending millions of US dollars to recruit staff and build a research and development facility serving local products. Mr Lee said it has spent almost three years developing a Thai-language search... Full story: http://goo.gl/MKRyP6

Urban youth in Northeast becoming more digital-savvy, survey finds

Marketing-solution agency McCann Worldgroup’s research unit has found that young rural residents of the Northeastern region are digital toddlers while those in urban areas have become more digital-savvy, with high consumption of digital content via social networks both from personal computers and budget smartphones. This trend is mainly driven by telecom giants’ aggressive roll-out of third-generation wireless broadband and public Wi-Fi hotspots across the Kingdom, the research report also suggested. The research unit aimed to take on the big questions of how burgeoning urbanisation and surging digitalisation have transformed rural culture and tradition in the Northeast, also known as Isaan. Varidda Varaakom, chief innovation officer at McCann Worldgroup and head of the research unit, said the findings could be used to help marketers communicate with youth in the Northeast, which would become a large customer base in the near future. She said most young people in Khon Kaen province consumed digital content via their laptops as they... Full story: http://goo.gl/dkvY3Q

rest

To read the fu ll article of a story brief, enter the shor t code at the end the story into your browser: of liam Shakespe are

...added that the set aside a signi company had budget of Bt20 ficant investment million for over0 million to Bt300 seas expansion Full story at http: . //goo.gl/bH6PF

goo.gl/bH6P

F

Nature and life in JuliusCaesar. 1997-98 wa are cyclical _ the impact of s a blessing, as the mains seasons of the yea 2008 would ha above the Europ the phases of the r, life and death, far worse ve been ean average. for the region, mo http://goo.gl/o on, the tides. ” Azman In Caught up in da zbNM India, China ily details, we eas Mokhtar, the managing and Thailand, ily forget that dir ect of or Kh Asia stands to rou aza ghly 12 percent nah the business wo of has cycles, too. rld told the CI Nasional of Malaysia, tion contribute to a the populaWe are all fam MB Asean Confe gain from W pension, while iliar with the econo rence. the we es t mi ak c ne bu sse sin s ess of cycle His com slowdown of expansion, con sion system are Thailand’s penments were... ... covery. Howe traction and re- Full story Full story at htt The shift of eco ver, other cyc at http://goo.gl/d nomic growth p:/ /goo.gl/rtpH3 lic ph al fu2 en u om ena affect... momentum to the Thailand near Preventing up numerous East has opened Full story at http://goo.gl/fJ to p opportunities olr of list of wor that Asian countries Bangkok from out, suggests an should not miss Panel: Asia bett weakest pensld’s sinking bigges economist. io off, not immun er n t systems: stud challenge The robust eco y from global cr e, no Greece, India, Ch Land subsidence China and em mic growth of is es ina and Thailan erg caused by ing economihas ALA LUMPUR In the past wi five Thailand unes KU ll opyears, en a new : The Asian cri- are home to the weakest natio d water losses tops the list ground of na pension system Asian economi opportunity for sis in the late 1990s was a s in the world l lems that must be solved in probwa es to increain dergone significant growth terms of kecal up l for cri se Ba , the region that pp their wealth from tra has turned eig led by a mix of acute sover- kok to mitigate the impact ngde in goods an out to be of the n de cli ser a d bt, young retire mate change on vices at aand blessing in dis digital penetration time social media usStates and Europ when the United nearly 15 years later, as the guise high ratios of pension ment ages, a study by multin flooding, says region’s ers an ers to worke are... ational agencies financial sector Full stoto d poor . age. From 2012 according to the is ry at2013, http://go o.gl/S65D6 able to sustain now strong and study showe pension take-up, a The conclusion is a d. cer tai n de gre contained in of sho e Gro cks from the fal research firm Socialbakers, in the w with the growth a rep ort entitled flow Western Hemisph lout in the The Allianz Gl and Adaptation “Climate Risks of cy ere, according ob es was 54% fortoTwitin Asian Coast total number ofcl users a panellist at sion Sustainabil al Investors Pen- Megacitie al a s”, rec ity en Ind t ‘There is a tid As ex, ean conference. which Asian De jointly conducted by the tracks the rel e in the air velopment Bank ative sustaina s of for Inter, 125% me forn, YouTube which, taken andaff163% , the bil ity - International Japan of national at the flood, leads on to for “There will be in 44 countries pension systems and the Wo Cooperation Agency tun e”, wrote Wihas more crises in around the wo rld Bank in 201 stagram. In addition, Bangkok l- futbeen the ure, and the 0. Asian crisis in showed the number of Greek rld, tirees to people re- The report declared the No. 1 Facebook user city of working age recommended re- Full story a... at http://goo.gl/2 0yMD in the world, with almost 10 million ac-

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IT / Comms

December 20 11

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Social business: Humanising business again

counts. These facts underline the unavoidable challenges that all businesses must face, such as the rise in the Voice of Customer, the demand for transparency in the workplace arising from the presence of Generation Y, or the socialisation of business processes whereby external holders are involved. To sustain competitive advantage in the digital era, companies need to embrace the use of social technologies and integrate a “social business model” into their core business. Some companies that have pioneered in the social business domain quickly start to realise the benefits, with an emphasis on three distinct advantages: - Social business can help foster collaboration among different stakeholders. This can reduce your company’s communication costs and time, as well as create... Full story: http://goo.gl/SZY40n

Is LinkedIn killing the recruitment industry? Many clients and candidates ask me how LinkedIn has affected our executive search business in the past few years. From LinkedIn’s demographics and statistics for last year, I notice that Thailand has 300,000 registered members of the online service. As of last December, we had a labour force of 40 million people, of whom 6 million come with a higher education, holding a diploma or a bachelor’s or master’s degree. In other words, Thailand’s 300,000 registered LinkedIn members represent only 5 per cent of the higher-trained people here. Now, combine that with the research from the US Bureau of Labour Statistics showing that at any given time only 16 per cent of us are actively looking for a new job. So how many are 16 per cent of the 5 per cent who by definition are active applicants and candidates? If we take the liberty of assuming that all 300,000... Full story: http://goo.gl/EbOZD6


12

Bangkok Business Brief www.BBBrief.com

Mango Mango Ltd. Part. 124 Sukhumvit 38 Prakanong, Klongtoey Bangkok 10110 • Thailand

Tel. 02 712 4052

Publisher and Managing Director (Thai Sales) Pavinee Chaymanee • 084-147-5550 thailandmagazine@gmail.com

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In cooperation with Siam Gazette Co., Ltd. Alan Verstein • 081-761-9302

Volume 2, Issue 12 • Mid-November/December 2013 Copyright 2011-2014. All rights reserved.

BANGKOK BUSINESS BRIEF

Mid-November/December 2013

Amusing Thailand? Story continued from Page 1.

In October, a ferry packed with tourists sank near Pattaya, leaving six dead and nineteen injured. The Thai News Agency reported that there were more than 200 people on board the 12-meter-long vessel, which was only licensed to carry 150 passengers. In August, nine people were killed and five injured when a public minivan traveling to Bangkok plowed into the back of an 18-wheel truck. Recent media reports quote Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipan as being “appalled” by minivan safety standards, with many of the vans lacking safety belts, fire extinguishers, and glass-breaking hammers. Websites aimed at tourists also warn about minivan drivers who drive at breakneck speeds, take dangerous chances on the road, and who have to drink energy drinks to stay awake. TTR Weekly, a publication that covers travel news in the Greater Mekong region, recently reported that PATA Thailand Chapter Chairman Bert van Walbeck said that safety is the biggest concern of tourists when planning holidays in Thailand. In addition to the political violence and flooding in recent years, crimes involving foreigners and tourists made headlines around the world. The stabbing of an American by a Bangkok taxi driver in July over a disputed 51-baht fare was a notable incident, as were the unresolved deaths of two Canadian sisters on Phi Phi Island in 2012. Bag snatch incidents, jet-ski scams, gang violence, and stabbings and rapings of tourists have all started to contribute to an image of Thailand as a rather dangerous place to visit. And Thailand’s penchant for gun ownership doesn’t help. The country has the highest gun ownership rate in Asia, with 15.6 guns per 100 people. On top of these statistics and reports, the government has controversially announced that it is considering a new tax on international tourists. The 500-baht levy would be used to offset the unpaid medical bills of tourists that the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) claims are costing the government 200 million baht a year. However, TAT also admits that the new tax also aims to attract more “quality” tourists who stay longer. Industry analysts are concerned that tourist numbers will drop as visitors look to cheaper countries in the region, like Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and even Myanmar. And if Thailand wants to attract a “higher class” of tourists, there will have to be an increase in the service levels on offer here, starting with communication. According to the 2013 EF English Proficiency Index, Thailand ranked 55th out of sixty countries where English is not the primary language, putting it at the bottom of the list’s ASEAN nations. Despite all of this negative press, tourists continue to flock to Thailand, and the government has been working to expand the tourism sector by various measures. The opening of Don Muang airport to low-cost carriers has eased congestion at Suvarnabhumi Airport, while the expansion of Phuket International Airport, from its current capacity of 6.5 million passengers a year to 12.5 million by 2015, will only help increase overall tourist numbers. But if these increases in tourist numbers are to continue, Thailand will have to also address the safety of its international visitors by implementing and enforcing regulations that meet international standards. Failing to do so will lead to more tragedy and an ever-increasing reputation of Thailand as a beautiful but dangerous travel destination.

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14

BANGKOK BUSINESS BRIEF

www.BBBrief.com

Mid-November/December 2013

The Calendar

Jan.

Dec.

Sunday

For event details, enter the short code below the event into your browser:

Mango Metro Networking Party http://goo.gl/6ngBg

goo.gl/6ngBg

Tuesday

Monday

1

2

AMCHAM: Board & Committee Roundup http://goo.gl/ti8QPt AMCHAM: YPC Networking Night http://goo.gl/uNkZKL Bangkok Trader / Mango Metro Networking http://goo.gl/EnNbR

3

8

9

10

16

17

AMCHAM: Security/OSAC – Security Briefing http://goo.gl/mSXvdh

15

AMCHAM: Legal Cmte: 2014 Planning Meeting http://goo.gl/YrtpK3 AMCHAM: Professional Women Cmte http://goo.gl/m6ugZY

AMCHAM: Jazzy Festive Luncheon http://goo.gl/VffaeK BCCT: Board Meeting http://goo.gl/adaSzk

22

23

24

29

30

31

5

6

7 AMCHAM: University of Delaware Briefing http://goo.gl/rvEOZs


www.BBBrief.com

Mid-November/December 2013

BANGKOK BUSINESS BRIEF

15

Send us your event details for the Mid-January/February issue by January 7th to reid@bbbrief.com Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

4

5

AMCHAM: Myanmar Chapter – Executive Committee http://goo.gl/qRpgis AustCham: Christmas Sundowners http://goo.gl/a7ympq

Saturday

6

7

AMCHAM: Adopt-A-School Dedication For Jason Epiphany Morrow & Judy Benn http://goo.gl/CyfWhH

11

AMCHAM: SME Cmte – Planning Meeting http://goo.gl/zGoaSm AMCHAM: Myanmar Chapter – HR Committee Meeting http://goo.gl/YmFRq3

18

12

AustCham: Bayer Thai Plant Visit http://goo.gl/r9UEYW Joint: Eastern Seaboard Sundowners http://goo.gl/1ossjY Movers & Shakers Pattaya http://goo.gl/fYXvN

13

14

19

20

21

BCCT ½-Day Wkshp (Business Writing) http://goo.gl/slZkvq AMCHAM: AdoptA-School Dedication http://goo.gl/ttjYs7 AMCHAM: Festive Eggnog Holiday Party http://goo.gl/sfMZe8

AMCHAM: Community Engagement Cmte http://goo.gl/pmkabY

BCCT: Christmas Luncheon http://goo.gl/x3rnLK

AustCham: Voluntary English Teaching http://goo.gl/47HHVu

25

26

27

28

1

2

3

4

8

9

10

11

AMCHAM: YPC Networking Night http://goo.gl/7Ryqmg


Uretek AMATA Thai FP ad_Layout 1 30/09/13 5:06 PM Page 1

WE RAISE, RE-LEVEL AND RE-SUPPORT CONCRETE FLOORS AND DRIVEWAYS

We raise and re-level sunken floor slabs by injecting structural resins which expand as they enter the ground. This creates huge pressure. Voids and crevices are tightly filled, weak ground is compacted and strengthened and the floor is raised back to level.

If there are very weak soil strata below the floor, we insert PowerPiles to compress the soil and provide proper floor support .

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At left is a prime example. Recently we re-levelled the canteen floor at a major, AMATA factory. PROBLEM

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Here we used Uretek patented PowerPiles as shown above, because there was a significant stratum of weak soil below much of the canteen floor. Dangerous trip hazards had developed and tiles and walls were cracked. The floor was raised back to level and completely re-supported.

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Uretek Ground Engineering 02 152 0900 www.uretek.co.th info@uretek.co.th

Bangkok Business Brief - Volume 2, Issue 12 - Mid-November/December 2013  

Business news briefs for Bangkok, Thailand, Southeast Asia, and ASEAN for the holidays.

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