Thailand has the potential to become a springboard for foreign investors into Asean, especially Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar, according to the local unit of a global consultancy.
Subhasakdi Krishnamra, managing partner of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Jaiyos Audit Co, said yesterday that foreign investors had continued to expand in Thailand, especially Japanese who returned after adopting a wait-and-see posture since the political stew went on the boil last year.
Japanese investors in Thailand are primarily in auto manufacturing, electronics and financial businesses.
Foreign investors from Europe and the United States have also continued to expand in Thailand by focusing on consumer goods, he said. They will use Thailand as a gateway to other countries in the region when the Asean Economy Community becomes effective next year.
With the expansion of foreign investment in Asean, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Jaiyos Audit has integrated and consolidated its business in the region to cover the requirements of its customers.
The group will open branches in Laos and Cambodia. In Myanmar, it has a partner and plans to register its business there as soon as possible.
In several industries, the business trend in Asean is mergers and acquisitions. This is particularly the case in infrastructure, construction materials, energy, consumer products and retail. Investors from countries outside the region such as Japan, China, European nations and the US are acquiring businesses in Asean, and Asean companies are acquiring businesses across their borders.
Subhasakdi said Deloitte was offering its consulting services to clients interested in doing business in other Asean countries. These clients were largely in the financial, manufacturing, consumer-products and energy fields.
The group targets business growth of 20 per cent in this fiscal year ending next May, thanks to the number of deals in this region after the group in Thailand recorded growth of 6 per cent in the last fiscal year.