Thailand's e-commerce sector fastest growing in ASEAN

Thailand’s e-commerce sector is the fastest growing in ASEAN, reaching 3.2 trillion baht and14 percent growth in 2018 according to the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA). Changes in consumer behavior contributed to the leap, in 2017 the value of e-commerce in Thailand was 2.7 trillion baht. The number of internet users in Thailand has tripled in the last decade and smart phone saturation growing, Thai’s spend more time on the internet than anyone else in the region. Thailand has 74 percent social media saturation. E-commerce sites continue to grow as payments online become easier. Growth is expected to top 20 percent in 2019.

The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce reports that the Consumer Confidence Index has climbed on the back of the announcement of an election date and the return of Chinese tourists to the country. The Consumer Confidence Index in January 2019 stood at 54.5, improving for the first time in five months and spending during Valentines and Makha Bucha Day is expected to hit 6.3 billion baht. Private consumption and investment is expected to lead economic growth this year as the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) predicts economic growth at 4 – 4.3 percent this year. Exports are predicted to grow 5-7 percent and tourism arrivals are expected to continue to grow, reaching 7. 5 percent growth. The strengthening baht has increased some concerns for export growth but increased less than the Indonesian rupiah. However, foreign funds flowed into the Thai economy in January as almost half of the trades on the stock market were from foreign investors. Foreign net inflows totaled 1.5 billion baht for government bonds and 7.3 billion baht for domestic equities from January 1 to February 1.

Work Permit

Any foreigner working in Thailand must obtain a Work Permit before beginning work. While a prospective employer may file an application on the foreigner’s behalf in advance of his starting work, the actual Work Permit will not be issued until the foreigner has entered Thailand in accordance with the immigration laws and has presented himself to receive his Work Permit.

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