Thailand in top 20 nations with high innovation development potential
Thailand reached the top 20 nations with high innovation development potential in the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Innovation Index, and jumped seven places from fifty-first place to forty-fourth place in the rankings. The index ranks 126 countries worldwide based on support and development of innovations and is based on evaluation of 80 indicators including political policies, human capital, research, infrastructure, financial standing and creative use of technology. The index indicated Thailand is a leader in several areas including export of creative goods, export of high level technology, and patenting. Singapore ws the only ASEAN member to make the top ten which consisted of Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Singapore, the United States, Finland, Denmark, Germany and Ireland.
Investment applications for the government’s Eastern Economic Corridor have already exceeded the annual prediction reaching 400 billion baht, exceeding the expected annual target of 300 billion baht. The government predicts overall investment applications will reach 720 billion baht and actual investment value in the entire economic zone is expected to exceed 1.7 trillion baht by 2021. The EEC spans Chachoengsao, Chonburi, and Rayong and government infrastructure projects including expansion of U-tapao International Airport and new high speed rail lines linking U-tapao with Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang Airports, road construction, and the expansion of Laem Chabang and Map Ta Phut Ports.
Exports jumped 11.55 percent in the first five months of the year, far higher than the target of 8 percent for the year. The jump is making the Department of International Trade Promotion re-asses the export situation. The second half is expected to continue to see growth as there is still a positive tendency in recovering economies of Thailand’s important trade partners. SMEs have been a part of that strong export growth with exports by SMEs reaching 24.5 percent of total exports in the first five months. ASEAN countries are the top export markets for SMEs where they saw a 6 percent rise in shipments. ASEAN’s share of total shipments is now 29.7 percent of total exports, followed by China with an 11.9 percent market share. Important export items include gems and jewelry, plastics and plastic products, and automotive parts and accessories.
The Economic Intelligence Center (EIC) of Siam Commercial Bank raised its economic growth forecast to 4.3 percent for the year after the country outperformed expectations in the first half of the year with higher than expected export numbers, rising private investment and household purchasing power as well as agricultural prices. Continued government investment in major infrastructure projects and growing tourism contributed to the change in the projected GDP.