Thailand Country Profile
The kingdom of Thailand lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, making it a natural gateway to Indochina, Myanmar and southern China. Its shape and geography divide into four natural areas: the mountains and forests of the north; the vast rice fields of the central plains; the semi-arid farmlands of the northeast plateau; and the tropical islands and long coastline of the southern peninsula. Let’s look Thailand country profile.
The country comprises 77 provinces that are further divided into districts, sub-districts and villages. Bangkok is the capital city and centre of political, commercial, industrial and cultural activities.
The provinces are separated in to six commonly referred to regions; north, northeast, central, west, east and south. Thailand covers 514,000 square kilometres.
Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.Confucius
Thais are well known for their friendliness and hospitality. A large majority of the approximate 68.07 million citizens of Thailand are ethnic Thai, along with strong communities whose ethnic origins lie in China, India and elsewhere. About 8.5 million people reside in the capital city of Bangkok with an additional 4.5 million living in its vicinities. Bangkok and vicinities represent around 44% of Thailand’s GDP.
Political and Legal System
Thailand has been a constitutional monarchy since 1932 with the King as its head of state. Under the present constitution promulgated in 2007, the executive powers of the King are exercised by the Prime Minister and a council of ministers. The constitution provides for a House of Representatives and a House of Senators. Members of both houses are elected.
At a national level, executive power is administered and legislation proposed by the Cabinet, on which all the Ministers are represented. The legislative body is the National Assembly, of which the Prime Minister and the Cabinet are members. There are 77 Provinces in Thailand, each having a Provincial Governor to represent the province and provide a link between the national government and the local community. Each Governor is appointed by the Ministry of the Interior with the exception of the Governors of Bangkok and Pattaya who are elected. Each province is divided into districts or “amphur”, sub-districts “tambon”, and villages “mooban”.
Spoken and written Thai is largely incomprehensible to the casual visitor. However, English is widely understood, particularly in Bangkok where it is almost the major commercial language. English and some European Languages are spoken in most hotels, shops and restaurants in major tourist destinations, and Thai-English road and street signs are found nationwide.
Business Hours / Time zones
Thailand Standard Time is seven hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+7) during Standard Time and six hours ahead during Daylight Saving Time (British summer).
Government officials open their desks between 7.00 – 9.00a.m. and close between 3.30 – 4.30p.m. While private company offices are open from 8.30/9.00a.m. until 5.30/6.30p.m. Lunch is from midday to 1.00p.m. Department stores open around 10a.m. and close between 8.00p.m. and 10.00p.m. Banks open from 8.30a.m. to 3.30p.m., Monday to Friday, with the exception of branches located in department stores, which open every day in accordance with the store hours.
Thailand is an export oriented emerging economy. As a result, manufacturing is the most important sector and accounts for 32.55%4 of GDP. Services constitute around 44% of GDP. Within services, the most important are wholesale and retail trade (13% of GDP); transport, storage and communication (7% of GDP); hotels and restaurants (5% of GDP) and public administration, defence and social security (4.5% of GDP). Agriculture also makes a significant contribution – around 13% of GDP.
Paper baht comes in denominations of 20 (green), 50 (blue), 100 (red), 500 (purple) and 1000 (beige).
There are 100 satang in one baht; coins include 25-satang and 50-satang pieces and baht in denominations of 1, 2, 5 and 10.
Thailand’s economy is the second largest in ASEAN.
Thailand is trying to move up the manufacturing “value tree” and away from low-cost labour-intensive manufacturing. This is the right direction of travel but may take a number of years to become fully effective.
Other key ingredients of a knowledge-based economy are only making slow progress: R&D spending, IP protection, and investments in science and technology, and a lack of a digital infrastructure. Business, banking and government transactions are still too paper-based, encouraging a lack of transparency and incurring higher expenses for all involved. Related to this is the liberalisation of the services sector, which remains elusive.
The future GDP growth prognosis is growth in the lower digits as an upper limit for a number of years, as we are seeing now. There remains risk to the downside from China and Brexit, and more especially if there is no ability to have a stable democratically elected government, which is not perennially tied up in constitutional red tape.
Thailand was one of the founding members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and has been instrumental in the formation and development of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). As a result, Thailand has forged closer economic ties with the bloc’s member nations, and its manufactured products and services have access to the markets of all nine ASEAN partners. The alliance encompasses total consumer spending that is forecast to grow to $2 trillion by 2020, representing growth of 45.7 per cent (2013 to 2020), a surge that looks certain to continue in the decades ahead. The region is expected to account for just under 60 per cent of global middle-class consumption by 2030, with much of that growth predicted to centre on communications and education, as well as hotels and catering. You can look our services for your global business.