Teflon Thailand

Linked to this yesterday :: https://seedvc.blog/2019/04/01/thai-election-gives-businesses-incentive-to-invest-abroad-bloomberg/

This is another good one :: https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/Teflon-Thailand-feels-the-heat

As stated yesterday – Thailand is underperforming and it could soon affect all aspects of Thailand.

This is the most alarming stuff:

Domestic strains abound, too. Household debt is, officially, an alarming 78% of gross domestic product. Officially, because this figure only reflects money owed to financial institutions. It does not account for a sprawling “gray economy” awash in curb-side lending that often comes with extortionate interest rates. Indonesia’s ratio, by comparison, is about 17%. In South Korea, a byword for household debt, it is 100%, but Korea is a much richer and more developed country.

As of August, roughly a quarter of households had trouble making repayments on car loans, credit-card debt and in other areas. This ranks among the most obvious barriers to Thailand raising GDP growth rates to the 5%-6% needed to reach middle-income status. Domestic consumption drives more than 50% of GDP. The more debt households take on, the greater the drag on growth.

Another problem the junta has not addressed: a demographic clock that is speeding up. Last month, the Bank of Thailand warned its “aging society” could be one of the first developing nations with an over-65 population of 14% or more by 2022.

As long as I have been in Asia Thailand has had and largely acted like Teflon.

It may not last folks.

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Richard Lloyd Parry · The Story of Thaksin Shinawatra: Class War in Thailand · LRB 19 June 2014

Old article but I have never read it and it’s good.

Thai politics is unlike anything this modern era has seen.

Sometimes it is not clear the motives or that almost everyone is to blame for the current debacle.

This article explains it all pretty well and is still quite relevant.

Richard Lloyd Parry · The Story of Thaksin Shinawatra: Class War in Thailand · LRB 19 June 2014

Thai Election Gives Businesses Incentive to Invest Abroad – Bloomberg

I wonder if these issues are also now showing up in the startups stats. I see less and less interesting stuff from Thailand and the overall stats for new companies is down. Of course startups play out over a longer period in some sense but the same issues that are forcing Thai corporations overseas have to somehow affect entrepreneurs and their desire to incorporate in Thailand.

Thai Election Gives Businesses Incentive to Invest Abroad – Bloomberg

Pomelo Fashion launches menswear range in Thailand – Inside Retail Asia

This is cool and hope it comes to Singapore. I feel like in the world of affordable but modern men’s fashion is just vacant – let alone something that approaches the market with tech.

Awesome.

JD-backed fashion brand Pomelo Fashion is debuting a menswear label called Pomelo Man (PM) in Thailand this month.
— Read on insideretail.asia/2018/12/21/pomelo-fashion-launches-menswear-range-in-thailand/

The Surprising Reason that There Are So Many Thai Restaurants in America – MUNCHIES

I was not aware of this. Thailand actually doing something right!

The Surprising Reason that There Are So Many Thai Restaurants in America – MUNCHIES:

Using a tactic now known as gastrodiplomacy or culinary diplomacy, the government of Thailand has intentionally bolstered the presence of Thai cuisine outside of Thailand to increase its export and tourism revenues, as well as its prominence on the cultural and diplomatic stages. In 2001, the Thai government established the Global Thai Restaurant Company, Ltd., in an effort to establish at least 3,000 Thai restaurants worldwide. At the time, Thai deputy commerce minister Goanpot Asvinvichit told the Wall Street Journal that the government hoped the chain would be “like the McDonald’s of Thai food.” Apparently, the government had been training chefs at its culinary training facilities to send abroad for the previous decade, but this project formalized and enhanced these efforts significantly.

Build it and they will come: Thai developers pour billions into retail | Reuters

Excited to check this mall out next time I am in Bangkok.

Good quotes here from Pomelo.

Fair point on logistics and the first purchase being in store.

Build it and they will come: Thai developers pour billions into retail | Reuters:

Even e-commerce in Thailand is turning to malls. JD.com-backed (JD.O) fashion retailer Pomelo saw an untapped customer segment after experimenting with pop-up stores, said CEO David Jou.

“We found that some customers didn’t feel comfortable making their first purchase online, but liked our products.”

The Bangkok-based startup, which has its fifth store in Iconsiam, where e-commerce is growing, says physical stores familiarize customers with products before they place digital orders.

Shops create brand recognition and double as a pick-up point for online orders, simplifying logistics, he said.

No Mercy / No Malice

Ha. Bangkok gets a mention!

No Mercy / No Malice:

I grew up in LA. The biggest change? Waze. LA traffic is what I imagine Bangkok was like before the BTS Skytrain. The app forces you to take byzantine routes through the circulatory system of LA. Despite the app, which feels like it has sentient qualities mocking us, one gets to marvel at the alchemy of grit, cement, palm trees, zero humidity, and “fabulous” that LA projects.