Foreign investment more than doubled during first half of 2019

Thailand’s business appeal remains strong as applications for foreign investment projects more than doubled during the first half of 2019, the Board of Investment said last week, with many new ventures in higher-tech businesses and initiatives involving research and development.

Investment, along with exports and consumption, is one of the three main drivers of the Thai economy. The increase in investment is good news as export growth has fallen because of global trade tensions and the strengthening of Thailand’s currency, the baht, against the U.S. dollar. The Board of Investment (BOI) of Thailand figures are an indicator that investors view the slump in exports as a short-term phenomenon and that Thailand’s longer-term prospects are still positive.

“These numbers show investors’ continued confidence in Thailand,” said BOI Secretary-General Duangjai Asawachintachit. She added that it was especially encouraging that the projects “target industries such as data center business, advanced software development, R&D, and innovation incubation centers.”

The total value of the investment applications was $4.8 billion, more than double the figure during the first six months of the previous year. The largest number of applications were submitted by companies from Japan, followed by China and Switzerland. In all, the BOI received investment requests for 468 projects.

The BOI believes that several factors helped generate higher investment aside from the incentives and privileges the Board offers. Among those factors are Thailand’s improving competitiveness. The Kingdom rose five places in the IMD World Competitiveness Rankings 2019 released in late May. The country is now ranked the 25th most competitive in the world.

In addition, Thailand rose 19 places in the United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goals Report and rankings published in July. The Kingdom is now ranked 40th in the world and first in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

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