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Thailand Industry – Retail Giants Preparing for AEC

By on Jun 04, 2014 in Property News, Retail

Major retailers are expanding into several locations, particularly in the border provinces and tourism cities, to cash in on next year’s implementation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC). The AEC will likely increase regional economic prosperity and stability as well as bring new business opportunities, they believe.

Suthichart Chirathivat, vice chairman of the board of the Central Group of Companies, said he did not expect any significant change in the domestic retail market due to the AEC, which will be fully effective next year. “The local retail sector has reached maturity as the big local players have fully penetrated the market and gained a high competitive advantage over foreign retailers. However, the implementation of the AEC will allow major local retailers to penetrate new markets in other AEC countries,” he said. “We may phase out our retail business in China as we are facing tough competition from local operators, and focus on other markets instead, such as those in the AEC and Europe.”

Supaluck Umpujh, vice chairwoman of The Mall Group Co, said that in 2015, Thailand’s participation in the AEC would herald a major change in the country’s position as a leading regional shopping hub and top tourist destination. There are 10 Asean member countries, totalling 600 million in population.
The improved infrastructure, transport facilities and airports in key Thai cities are expected to increase inbound tourism from 25 million to 40 million people within the next five years. The destination cities include Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Chiang Mai among others.

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