DITP Director-General Banjongjitt Angsusingh shares her views on how the DITP can assist Thai entrepreneurs to expand their business internationally in 2019.
Which countries or regions are the key target markets for 2019?
The DITP sets up special task forces, which include representatives from both government and private sectors, to assist Thai companies in exploring business opportunities for particular markets. Our target markets include Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Central Asia, China, India, Russia and ASEAN countries.
China has been our key market for many years, and in 2019, we will focus more on particular provinces, especially the 11 provinces in the Pan Pearl River Delta (PPRD) area.
For Africa and the Middle East, we will promote food, consumer products, agricultural machinery, construction materials, halal products and jewelry, as well as exploring new markets, such as Yemen and Qatar.
Moreover, the DITP supports Thai SMEs in expanding their business to potential markets in South Asia including the state of Gujarat in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. We have seen a growing demand for lifestyle products and construction materials in these markets.
What are the key Thai products the DITP wants to promote in 2019?
We focus on products with a high local content, such as food and lifestyle products, as well as services relating to tourism and wellness
The DITP will work with our partners from both public and private sectors to nurture and promote Thailand’s wellness industry, which includes products and services for people of all ages, for example healthcare and beauty care, rejuvenation, plastic surgery, insurance, hotels, homes for the elderly, and food and clothes for children and the elderly.
What is the DITP’s plan for ASEAN?
Markets in ASEAN account for over 25% of Thailand’s total export value, and the economies in the region have grown consistently. People here also love Thai products, and the DITP has seen bright opportunities for Thai products and services, including consumer products, agricultural machinery, electronic appliances, construction and decoration, healthcare and beauty services, tourism and hospitality.
This year, we will actively promote Thai brands through both social and traditional media. We will strengthen cooperation between Thai provinces and other cities along the borders of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Malaysia, as well as encouraging Thai companies to invest in retail businesses in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, in order to distribute Thai products across the region.
Additionally, the DITP will invite exhibitors from ASEAN countries to participate in our trade fairs held in Thailand and overseas, such as the Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair, STYLE, THAIFEX and Top Thai Brand Fair.
Could you tell us about your e-commerce plans?
E-commerce platforms help Thai companies to penetrate international markets more effectively at a lower cost. This benefits SMEs, and helps them become recognised in global markets faster and easier.
In 2018, the DITP signed several partnership agreements with international e-commerce platforms, such as Amazon, Alibaba and Coupang. This year, we will work with them to boost the presence of Thai products and online sales on these platforms. The DITP will focus more on local e-commerce platforms in each country, such as Coupang in South Korea and local platforms in India, since we have learned that local people prefer to do their online shopping through these channels because they use local languages.
This year, we expect to add more products to e-commerce platforms. For example, durian was very popular with online shoppers last year, and Alibaba has suggested that we promote other Thai fruits, such as mangoesteen and pomelo online.
For more information, visit: www.ditp.go.th
Words by Somhatai Mosika