The Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) has revealed that in 2020 the country received a total of 1,717 applications from both local and foreign investors, representing a combined investment value of THB 481.1 billion (USD 16 billion). Japan led the FDI flow, followed by China and the US.
The top five sectors by investment value in 2020 were:
- Electrical appliances and electronics (over USD 1.6 billion)
- Agriculture and food processing (over USD 1.3 billion)
- Automotive and parts with (over USD 1.2 billion)
- Petrochemicals and Chemicals (over USD 1.1 billion)
- Biotechnology (almost USD 1 billion).
Notably, the medical sector saw a sharp increase in the value of applications that grew 165% from 2019 as a result of special incentives offered by the BOI. Investments in this sector came from both large companies and SMEs.
The government aims to make Thailand a global startup hub and to encourage both local innovation and foreign investment into startups. In 2014, there were around 300 startups registered in the country, rapidly growing to 2,500 in 2015. Most were tech-based, though other areas include finance, real estate, and logistics. Thai tech startups have continued to thrive in 2020, and have benefited from the shift towards digital commerce from consumers and businesses alike.
In 2020, Thailand also saw the launch of a number of dynamic startups. For example, Thai startup Exofood is developing insect cuisine for human consumption from the Space + Craft-designed lab in Bangkok. This development resonates with Global Market Insights Inc.’s findings, stating that edible insect market size exceeded USD 112 million globally in 2019 and is estimated to grow at over 47% CAGR between 2019 and 2026. Exofood’s long-term plan is to offer an alternative nutritional option that bolsters environmental sustainability.
(Sources: Thailand Board of Investment; Tech Collective; Intelligent Living; Gulf Business)