Chinese Investors aim for penetrating Thailand’s Medical Tourism
Chinese investors. Thawatchai Arunyik, Governor of
The Tourism Authority of Thailand to discuss publicizing Thailand’s medical
tourism to Chinese visitors.
Investors from the People’s Republic of China led by Mr. Lu Min, Chairman, and
Mr. Qi Xiao Jun, Executive Director and General Manager of the Shanghai Ultra
Thai Investment Management Co., Ltd. together with Mr. Huang Hua, Chairman of
the Sanya Tiantai Century Industrial Co., Ltd. made a courtesy call to Mr.
Thawatchai Arunyik, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand for the
cooperation in publicizing Thailand’s Medical Tourism to high-end Chinese.
the Chinese investors, under the name of Ultra Thai, will invest in Medical
Tourism businesses by opening 50 healthcare centers in China and healthcare
centers in 5 resorts in Thailand providing services; such as, medical check-up,
dental, and optical services. It is expected that these centers will be able to
serve 30,000 VIP clients, and generated 1.5 billion Baht in revenue to
Thailand’s medical tourism.
Economic conditions in the North in January 2015
Bank of Thailand releases economic figures
In January 2015, general economic conditions in
the Northern region improved from the previous month, driven
mainly by rising private consumption of necessity goods. In
addition, tourism sector remained buoyant, in line with improved
farm income from higher production as well as improved non-farm
income. Sentiment was also supported by lower fuel prices.
Manufacturing production increased from export-oriented output
and consumer goods. Fallbacks of this month were a drop from
government’s capital expenditure and a slack of private
investment, reflecting by a laggard in real estate investment.
General economic and financial stability have been benign.
Inflation and the unemployment rate remained low, although the
unemployment rate was slightly higher in agricultural and
construction sector. For the banking sector, growth of
commercial deposits moderated while credits growth unchanged
from previous month.
The rivate Consumption Index increased by 0.9 percent on year on
year basis (YoY), accounted the first increase in 15 months.
Favorable tourist sector and higher non-farm income were key
factors together with lower fuel prices. This reflected by
increased sales of necessity goods. However, durables
consumption, notably automobiles continued its negative
territory as household remained cautious on spending and
commercial banks continued to tighten credit approvals.
The tourism sector maintained growth momentum from previous
month as contributed by increasing direct flights from major
cities abroad which helped boosting numbers of tourists,
particularly Chinese, Korean and ASEAN. In addition, numbers of
Thai tourists that came to the Upper Northern Thailand increased
continually over the New Year Festival period. This resulted in
rising number of air passengers as well as higher hotel
Farm income rose by 3.4 percent (YoY). Major crop production
geared up to 4.4 percent (yoy) following output of cassava,
onion and garlic due to expansion of plantation area and quality
improvement in production, resulted in higher yield per Rai.
Meanwhile, productions of livestock, - especially swine and
broiler chicken increased. Major crop prices improved
continually with smaller decline of 0.9 percent (YoY) following
falling prices of sticky rice paddy, soya bean and livestock,
namely swine, broiler chicken and eggs; prices of maize and
pineapple went up.
The Manufacturing Production Index registered a growth of 8.9
percent (YoY), owing to accelerated production of alcoholic
beverage, in response to new legislation on Alcoholic Beverage
Control and upcoming new excise tax rates. Export-oriented
production of camera lenses, tableware ceramics and wooden
products were higher in response to continuing demand from
Europe and Asia whereas productions of electronics components
and processed food declined.
Export value grew by 5.3 percent (YoY), attributing mainly from
cross-border exports of consumer goods to Myanmar and Laos.
Meanwhile, exports of electronic components to Singapore, Hong
Kong, Germany and USA increased. Concurrently, import value fell
by 17.3 percent (YoY) as a result of these drops in raw
materials, and intermediate goods and electronics components and
The private investment index dropped by 10.9 percent (YoY) from
slowdown in real estate and sluggish government investment
projects. Key indicators such as the permitted construction area
in municipalities, the number of commercial cars registered and
sales of construction materials have yet improved.
Government disbursement from current and capital expenditure
decreased by 22.1 percent (YoY) and 11.5 percent (YoY)
respectively. Similar to last month, a drop of current
expenditure was reflected partly by exceptionally high transfers
to local authorities last year. In addition, there was
adjustment of some government agencies’ payroll system that
centralized all disbursement. Nevertheless, disbursement in the
land and buildings category went up by 22.5 percent (YoY),
mainly from maintenance and construction projects under Royal
Irrigation Department, Department of Highways, Department of
Rural Roads and Department of Water Resources.
General economic and financial conditions have been benign.
Inflation rate was at 0.6 percent (YoY), came off for the first
time in 5 years, owing mainly to declined fuel prices.
Meanwhile, unemployment rate remained low at 1.0 percent (YoY),
slightly higher from previous month F
In the banking sector, commercial banks’ deposits as of December
2014, accounting for 603,335 million baht and grew by 3.4
percent (YoY), although moderated from last month following a
shift to higher-return investment, notably in debt instruments,
along with subsided deposit mobilization campaigns.
Concurrently, commercial banks’ lending accounted for 595,647
million baht, rose by 4.8 percent (YoY) at the same pace as
prior month. Loans to corporate particularly, manufacturing
industries, trading, constructions and housing loans picked up
while loans to real estate, financial businesses and hire
purchases remained contracted. (BOT)
Government eyes 4 percent export growth for 2015
Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Despite the recent slowdown in exports the Ministry of
Commerce remains confident that Thailand can reach its goal of
4% growth in exports for 2015. The main reason for the slowdown
in January was due to the slow growth of the global economy but
the Ministry believes that increased growth to ASEAN countries
and India as well as the recent pickup in the U.S. markets will
see the country’s exports hit 4% for the year.
The government said that one of the main reasons for the drop in
export value was due to the low prices for agricultural products
on the global market. The Ministry is planning on a new stimulus
package to penetrate new markets including negotiations with
India, Pakistan and Turkey as new export markets.
Currently the global price of commodities such as rice and
rubber have declined, global rice futures sit at a four year low
and Thailand faces competition from Vietnam, India and Pakistan
which sell rice at lower prices than Thailand. Rubber futures
reached a five year low last October as supply outstripped
demand over the past few years.
KTB and four popular restaurants woo customers with free trips to Japan
Suwat Thepreechakul, Business
Director of the KTB Credit, Krung Thai Co., Ltd., and the restaurant
managers from four popular restaurants announced the new campaign to win
free return tickets to Japan for customers.
KTB Credit, Krung Thai Co. Ltd. has joined with the Goodview Bar
& Restaurant, Goodview Village Restaurant & Karaoke, Warm Up Café, and
E’Norme House of Beers to give customers the chance to win a trip to
Japan. On March 7 Suwat Thepreechakul, Business Director of the KTB
Credit, Krung Thai Co., Ltd., and the restaurant managers announced the
“Ohayo Go Japan” to offer free trips to Japan for customers who use
credits in the participating restaurants. Each customer will receive
coupons after spending 500 baht to provide their names and details,
giving them a chance to win 4 free trips (2 seats) to Japan worth over
480,000 baht. Other prizes include 50% discounts on KTB’s signature
dishes in all 4 restaurants and 10% discounts off all menus for a year.
The objective of the campaign is to attract people to use the KTB credit
and is estimated that the special offers will bring in 30% more users.
Suwat Thepreechakul said that the KTB credit system has been active
since 2014, inviting customers to use credit cards and the credit
campaign is held in 14 different provinces, including major cities
throughout the country, including Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang,
Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchathani, Chonburi, Rayong,
Songkhla, Phuket, Surat Thani, Prachuab Khiri Khan and Petchburi. Over
25,000 million baht is rotated per year in the provinces mentioned and
which is why the campaign is continuing in 2015 with more offers. Chiang
Mai was chosen due to the growing economy and active tourism. The
campaign will be valid from today till March 31, 2015.
South Africa seeks trade and tourism ties with Chiang Mai
H.E. Ambassador Robina Marks, the ambassador to
Thailand for the Republic of South Africa with some of the many well-known
wines the country is famous for at the reception held at Khum Khantoke on
Thursday, March 5, 2015.
The South African Ambassador HE Robina Marks paid a visit to Chiang Mai on
March 5 and 6 to meet with local business leaders and visit the province as
part of South Africa’s bid to increase trade and tourism ties in Thailand.
Ruby, as she prefers to be called, is a former professor who was detained
under the apartheid government and a passionate advocate for reconciliation
that South Africa has demonstrated so successfully under the man considered
the father of the nation, Nelson Mandela. She noted that Thailand had joined
international efforts to end apartheid and HM King Bhumibol invited Nelson
Mandela to Thailand where he met with the King and received an Honorary
Doctorate from Chulalongkorn University in 1997. She noted that every
religion has a spiritual means to reconcile and said that South Africa
believes that Thailand can unite around a common vision of peaceful
prosperity and democratic means.
Ragil Ratnam, Vice-Chairman for the South
African Thai Chamber of Commerce, addresses members of the Chiang Mai
Chamber of Commerce about doing business with South Africa.
She added that everyone is talking about how to create a united nation and
reconciliation, saying “We have been able to put all that behind us and we
believe it is possible in Thailand.” Ruby added that July 18 is World Nelson
Mandela Day and called on everyone in Thailand to perform a charity service
for 67 minutes as Nelson Mandela did for 67 years.
Ruby also discussed her government’s desires to increase trade with Thailand
and the North specifically citing recent actions that will allow the
importation of longans into South Africa and the export of South African
table grapes into Thailand. She said that Thailand is finalizing
arrangements to accept grapes, oranges and applies from South Africa into
the Thai market and that a phyto-sanitary team from Thailand had inspected
facilities prior to the opening of the market.
Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce members listen to
Ambassador Marks as she talks about travel and business in South Africa.
Ambassador Marks pointed out that South Africa is famous for its wines, and
even brought some wines for Chamber members to taste test at the networking
reception held at Khum Khantoke on Thursday, March 5, 2015. However, she
pointed out that the extremely high import tariffs, between 400 and 600
percent, made it difficult for wine producers to enter the Thai market. She
added that South Africa and other wine producing countries have been
lobbying the Thai government to reduce the prohibitive tariffs. She added
that Montclair has been the largest importer of bulk wine for relabeling as
Monsoon Valley and added that the wineries were extremely grateful to Siam
Winery for helping their wines but promotion of the South African brand is
their ultimate goal.
Ruby added that a visit to South Africa could combine two of their most
popular attractions; wine and safari, noting that there are tours that
combine the two. South Africa is well-known for one of the largest national
parks in the world; Kruger National Park which covers an area of 19,633
square kilometers and is one of the most renowned wildlife experiences in
Africa. She added that South Africa can offer a first world experience but
still offer all that experiences that make Africa different and at a lower
cost than Europe. She noted it is only an 11 hour flight from Bangkok and
that Thai nationals get 30 days on arrival. Information that was greeted
with enthusiasm by gathered members of the Chamber.
The Ambassador added that South Africa ranks well in doing business and that
it’s ranking in world corruption is not high, belying the impression that
most hold that Africa is corrupt and poor. She added that it is important
for people to realize that Ebola is not found in South Africa, it appears to
be waning and those countries where it does exist are quite far, in fact
around 5,000 km.
She pointed out that the country had not been affected strongly by the
Eurozone crisis and that currently its largest trading partner is China. It
is the most significant economy in Africa and has the largest reserves of
platinum, coal and other resources.
At her meeting with members of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce she said
that South Africa is the gateway to Africa, with extensive and modern
infrastructure, making good sense to do business with South Africa.
Ambassador Marks with members of the Chiang Mai
Chamber of Commerce.
Kasikorn Bank supporting local business owners in opening 7-11s in the North
In a bid to help local business owners set up new 7-11 stores in three
Northern provinces Kasikorn Bank has signed an agreement with Choice
Mini Store Company Ltd. to provide low interest loans no collateral and
a ten year repayment option for new 7-11 store owners. Choice Mini Store
has taken over the contract of 7-11 store franchises in Mae Hong Son,
Chiang Mai and Lamphun from CP All Co. Ltd. Here Mr. Akaranan Titsiriwit
(2nd right), the Assistant Managing Director of Kasikorn Bank, is joined
by Warakorn Tantranont, CEO of Choice Mini Stores and Woravat Tantranon,
Managing Director of Choice Mini Store, in signing the agreement at Rati
Lanna Riverside Resort & Spa. 7-11 stores continue to grow and Kasikorn
aims to provide over 100 million baht in loans in the future.
Stability of northern economy continues
Tourism continues to grow
The Bank of Thailand released their report on the state of the Northern
economy for the fourth quarter of 2014. Dr. Singchai Boonyayotin, Senior
Director of the Northern Bank of Thailand, said that the economy of
Thailand has improved slightly after the political crisis and is still
slowly recovering. The tourism sector has been the most important part
of expanding the economy as has the release of the budgets for
The private sectors are doing well but farmers are having financial
difficulties due to the drop in prices of vegetables and rice. Private
investments are still on the mend, slowly, due to investors’ hesitation
to make sure that the economy has fully restored before making further
Agricultural production is stable while the industrial production of
beverages has slightly dropped. However, overall the economy at present
is still in good shape because both inflation and the numbers of
unemployed are low.
Deposits and loans are down, compared to the previous quarter. While
expenses in private sectors are slower than expected and consumption was
expected to improve but the low income of farmers caused the overall
rate to drop.
People in general are still paying debts, so he said that everybody must
be careful and watch their expenses, especially investing in motorized
vehicles like cars and motorbikes that are dropping gradually. Private
investment is slow and dropped 3.8 out of 100 comparing to last year due
to the new investors who are waiting for the clarification of the
Exported products have increased 8.9 out of 100 comparing to last year,
especially to ASEAN countries with items such as mobile phones,
electronic equipment, gas and alcohol are exported to Myanmar, Malaysia
and Singapore. Imported products have also increased by 6.8 including
raw materials and electronic gadgets and equipment.
Tourism continues to gradually expand and prove itself the most
important sector of the Northern economy. Various festivals and events
have greatly enhanced the tourism industry while the cancellation of
visa fees for Chinese tourist has made a great change according to the
recent updates from the previous quarter. The numbers of Chinese
tourists have increased over 93,628 people in 3 months. Chinese tourists
are arriving in direct flights and also reserved package flights, which
has increased up to 29.5% in Chiang Mai International Airport and
accommodation up to 62.2%.
BOI approves 700 billion baht worth of investment projects
The Prime Minister revealed that the Board of Investment (BOI) has already
approved more than 1,000 investment projects worth close to 700 billion
During his speech on the weekly program "Returning Happiness to the People”,
Prime Minister and Chief of the National Council for Peace and Order Gen.
Prayut Chan-o-cha said the government is accelerating the approval of
investment privileges and incentives for all the projects. Thus far, the BOI
has approved 1,050 projects with a combined investment fund of 680 billion
Meanwhile, there are more than 2,000 other projects with a total fund of 1.4
trillion baht waiting for the BOI's approval. The Prime Minister has ordered
the board to particularly speed up the consideration process for projects on
infrastructure and others which would help accelerate the nation's economic
Gen. Prayut emphasized the necessity of developing the country's
infrastructure, technology, personnel and also logistics in order to support
the growth of investment and trade and increase competitiveness of the
industrial sector. (NNT)