A clothes booth at a Thai trade fair in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Diep Duc Minh
After initial successes in Vietnam, Thai businesses are now seeing an opportunity to expand their activities here with the local market being more open to foreign investors other than Chinese.
"If any Thai investor wants to invest in Vietnam, now is a good time because the country has difficult relations with China, the biggest dealer in the market," Tussin Mahamongkol, vice chairman of the Thai Business Association in Vietnam, was quoted as saying in The Nation on Friday.
There is still lots of room for Thai businesses to expand in Vietnam since only less than 2,000 Thai companies have been registered with the Thai Consulate in the country so far, the news website reported.
Many small and medium Thai enterprises, including clothing and cosmetics traders, are thriving here, while Thai products are popular with local consumers willing to pay more for goods imported from Thailand, Mahamongkol was quoted as saying.
Veerapol Romphoti, general manager of Flexo Graphic, which is now one of Vietnam's largest makers of labels and packaging, saw the opportunity from the upcoming launch of ASEAN economic community this year end.
He expected the community to help clear "legal complications" which is one of challenges to doing business in Vietnam.
One of Vietnam's great potentials is its labor supply -- a large part of its 90-million population is in working age 18-25 years old, thus being able to work for a very long time, despite not being as cheap as commonly believed, Romphoti was quoted as saying.
He stressed that young people in big cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have purchasing power, which is yet another potential of Vietnamese market.
He also agreed that Vietnamese favoring Thai products will businesses from his home country an advantage.
Thai businesses' investment in Vietnam increased by 11.8 percent to US$2.5 billion last year, higher than the figures of Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar, The Nation quoted the Bank of Thailand's figures as saying.