Ministry looks to boost demand for Thai goods by leveraging BL dramas


The Commerce Ministry plans to work with the Thai producers of the drama series “boys’ love” (BL) genre to help boost demand for Thai products overseas.

Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai said on Wednesday that his ministry was targeting a large market of foreigners who are loyal followers of Thai BLs, and have high purchasing power.

“We will try to sell goods to their fans,” he said, adding that this was part of his ministry’s attempt to find new markets for Thai products.

But he did not elaborate on how they plan to do it.
“If you look to expand the market in the old way, you will end up getting nowhere,” he said, adding that those involved need to “think out of the box”.

Phumtham, who is also a deputy prime minister, said he would launch the plan on January 31, without elaborating.

A key figure from the ruling Pheu Thai Party, Phumtham said that Thai films and dramas in the BL genre had a large following overseas. He pointed to large numbers of foreign fans joining events featuring popular Thai actors from those series in Thailand.

Boys’ love genre depicts romantic relationships between male characters. Thai movies and dramas in this genre have gained strong international following in recent years, particularly in Asian countries like Japan and China.

BL is also known as “Y series” in Thailand, deriving from the Japanese term “yaoi” – a genre of fictional media originating in Japan that features homoerotic relationships between male characters.

The commerce minister was speaking during the “Thailand 2024: The Great Challenges” event held at the Pullman Bangkok King Power hotel.

He also said during the event that the Commerce Ministry was working with a group of Chinese influencers on its plan to boost demand for Thai products in China.

Phumtham said his ministry would soon enter into an agreement with 30-40 leading Chinese influencers as part of the plan, adding that one of the participating influencers alone had as many as 300 million followers.

As per the plan, the Chinese influencers will help sell Thai products during their livestreaming to followers, according to the commerce minister.