By Watchara Pusayanavin
Industry should focus on six new business trends and ratchet up research and development to stay ahead of new rivals, the National Economic and Social Development Board said yesterday.
Thailand has four relative strengths, but must quickly address the labour shortage, the Federation of Thai Industries added.
At a seminar on “New industrial trends, challenging step towards the future”, Arkhom Termpittayaphaisith, secretary-general of the NESDB, listed the six new business trends that industry should not overlook.
_ Rapid technological advancements, such as the sharp sales decline in computer hard disks following the popularity of tablets, which do not use the traditional hard disk.
_ Global climate changes. Rising concerns over environmental preservation measures. Reducing carbon footprints, or pollution, slowing the global warming rate and using
alternative energy to generate electricity.
_ Regional trading blocs, such as AEC 2015. Thailand must be ready and quick to seize comparative advantages over rivals.
_ Changes in population profile towards an ageing society. More elderly people means more opportunities and demand for healthcare products and natural cosmetics.
_ Culture. Applying local wisdom, know-how to produce/distribute value-added products to create unique features over rival products.
_ Political environment.
Arkhom said it is time for industries, local universities and technical colleges to foster closer cooperation in R&D in various technologies and apply them in commercial areas. It is necessary to keep up with rapid technology advancements through investment in R&D.
Thailand needs to boost per-capita income and narrow the income gap between the rich and poor, as well as raise the efficiency of the public sector, he added.
FTI chairman Payungsak Chartsutipol said the four strengths are agriculture, tourism, a wide variety of industries and the service sector.
However, the labour shortage and mismatch between workers’ skills and the needs of industries are areas of concern. Another problem is low efficiency in energy consumption.
SMEs need assistance from the state the most.
The government has to help them form industrial clusters to benefit from economies of scale and operating efficiency as well as to ensure basic infrastructure support to improve logistics access to regional markets under the AEC 2015 business environment.