'Get ready for second policy wave in China'
With the second revolution of China's policy to concentrate more on rural development and build up its middle and upper classes, Thai businesses are urged to knit closer ties with this economic giant to cash in on its heady growth.Panellists at a seminar on "Results from China's Economic Agenda on Thailand's Trade", held by the Commerce Ministry yesterday, said Thailand needed to strengthen cooperation with China as its policy to promote the domestic economy would benefit Thai industries and the service sector.
The Kingdom should closely monitor China's policies on spurring economic growth after its new leadership takes over in March. The policies will focus on raising rural income, so Thailand needs to develop its value chain to capture this market, the seminar heard.
Olarn Chaipravat, president of the Thailand Trade Representative Office, said the incoming Chinese leadership has made it clear that the priority will no longer be growth of gross domestic product, but wealth dispersion. Thai enterprises need to search out opportunities to participate in Chinese government projects to benefit from these policies.
Not only would large companies here benefit, but also small and medium-sized enterprises, which should develop their businesses to serve the rising demand of the middle class in China, he said.
Sarasin Viraphol, executive vice president of Charoen Pokphand Group, said CP expected to get more involved and benefit from the new revolution in China after the change of leadership. CP Group has reaped dividends from China's growth over the past 30 years and will continue to take part in China's revolution, which will stress rural development. That will also lead to growth of the service sector, he said.
"At least 700 million Chinese living in the countryside will get better incomes from China's revolution. Thai enterprises should closely monitor this so they can participate in China's expansion."
Manufacturers should upgrade production with new technology to serve the rising demand of China's middle class, the seminar heard.
Phairush Burapachaisri, vice chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the agriculture and food industries would prosper under China's revolution. Con-sumption of food and goods will rise along with the improvement in the standard of living. Service and tourism should also ride on China's growth.
According to the Bureau of Policies and Trade Strategies of the Commerce Ministry, Thai exports to China are expected to show strong expansion of about 10 per cent this year, versus only 1.8 per cent in the first 11 months of last year.