Developing a strategic model to enhance foreign direct investment by evaluating Thailand's potential market opportunities
thesisposted on 28.04.2021, 05:20 by Amornrat Duangjun
Due to an increase in worldwide competition, numerous entrepreneurs and business people are seeking for international business advantages and for business opportunities that are available outside their home countries. Since the 1990s, foreign direct investment (FDI) has been a key driving force of globalisation, as well as introducing competitive strategies for enterprises to directly invest in attractive and promising FDI markets around the globe. FDI contributes to knowledge and innovation, which is ultimately dispersed throughout several levels of the domestic host economies. Additionally, domestic enterprises acquire potential opportunities for improvement of their productivity and to strengthen their competitiveness through alliances with multinational enterprises (MNEs), as well as potentially becoming globally competitive. Historically, Thailand attracted the highest amount of inward FDI during 1998, with US$ 7,490 million. However, since 2007, Thailand’s overall market opportunities have been gradually declining in conjunction with losing national competitiveness to other countries in the Asian region. As regards Thailand’s current relationship to inward FDI, no prior studies have explored the area of the transformation of Thailand towards modernised FDI strategies through the following initiatives: (1) targeting high-innovative manufacturing and services; (2) supporting Thailand’s capability to be equipped with a higher level of technology production and operations; and (3) re-establishing national image and business reputation with competitive marketing strategies. Thus, this research aims to develop a strategic model to assist Thailand in continuing to be a leading FDI recipient through the following four areas of investigation: (1) Thailand’s market potential and opportunities for inward FDI (in relation to other Asian economies); (2) supporting determinants for potential inward FDI and opportunities; (3) negative influences that might affect Thailand’s potential market opportunities for inward FDI; and (4) what could be an effective FDI strategy throughout Thailand’s economic transformation period. This research applied a qualitative approach with purposive sampling and semi-structured interviews to gather relevant in-depth interview data from five groups of participants (total of 32 participants): Thai government officers, Thai private sector entrepreneurs, academics, business communities, and international investors who are involved in foreign investment and are mainly based in Thailand’s central business district (CBD) and industrial estate zone (the Eastern Seaboard). The interview data was extracted into six significant themes: (1) FDI market potential and its competitiveness, (2) positive FDI determinants, (3) protectionism, (4) insufficient workforce, (5) strengthening FDI attractiveness, and (6) competitive marketing strategies. Based on these six themes, key findings were summarised, and it was found that foreign investors have enormous opportunities by seizing Thailand’s middle markets (Thailand’s long-established industries). In other words, Thailand’s market opportunities have been established in Thailand’s automotive and tourism industries; however, newly established FDI markets, which Thailand has the capability to build up based on the automotive and tourism sectors, integrated with high-tech and innovative services and productions can enable potential high-tech investment opportunities. To strengthen Thailand’s newly FDI established industries, it is recommended that Thailand needs substantial improvement in higher education and training (for generating highly skilled expertise), research and development and innovation, the quality of public institutions, a protectionist policy, an investment climate (through offering tailor-made investment policy), financial technology, and competitive marketing strategies (improving international advertising media along with re-branding Thailand showing its economic strength). Significantly, this research is beneficial to all stakeholders: Thai government, Thai citizens, academia, and (international and domestic) business communities.