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NEWS UPDATES 24 February 2010

Thailand comes in 4th in survey Japanese investors

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An opinion survey of Japanese investors in 2009 indicated that Thailand is the fourth most attractive place to invest, while China ranked number one, followed by India and Vietnam, reported Thai News Agency.

According to Susumu Ushida, chief representative of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) in Singapore, the survey was done between July to August last year among respondents from 625 Japanese companies.

He said Thailand moved to fourth place, moving up one level from its 2008 position and outpacing Russia, which in 2009 fell into the fifth position.

Forty-eight per cent of respondents saw Thailand as a country with a good potential economically and for domestic markets, with 41 per cent saying the country has a low wage ratio, and around one-fourth saw Thailand as an important production base for exports.

However, in terms of obstacles that concern Japanese investors, almost 40 per cent of those surveyed -- two out of five -- said there is now higher and more fierce competition from rival companies.

Around one-third of the respondents said they had a problem from the lack of competent personnel at executive levels, while another one-third said Thailand’s socio-political conflicts have now become the country’s weakness.

The investors’ attitudes towards investment have also changed from producing their merchandise for export to a third country to giving more importance to the size of the markets in each country they invest so each particular country can be both a production and distribution base for Japanese goods.

This strategy can be seen in China, India and Vietnam where chemical and electronics industries are outstanding and outpacing the automobile industry which has seen lower sales volumes due to the global economic crisis.

In order to build confidence among Japanese investors, Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) together with Thailand’s Ministry of Finance Ministry are planning a road show in Japan next month to clarify to prospective investors and others needing to know about Thailand's ongoing political problems, and its economic policies as well as the deadlock at Rayong’s Map Ta Phut industrial estate, where 65 industrial projects--including five Japanese companies--were suspended by a Thai court’s injunction due to environmental concerns.

Meanwhile, BOI secretary-general Atchaka Sribunruang believes foreign investors, mostly from China, India and South Korea, will nonetheless apply for BOI promotional privileges as expected at around a level of 500 billion baht (1$=32 baht) this year, as applications in January alone already reached about 50 billion baht.

The BOI chief also believed that within the expected amount of money, a monthly average of around 40 billion baht would be divided between electrical power, alternative energy and electronics sectors.


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