SMALL AND medium enterprises (SMEs) in Turkey and Thailand need to better understand their markets, says Suwanchai Lohawatanakul, director-general of Thailand’s Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion or OSMEP.
“The previous experiences of unsuccessful business matches show that if both sides are only looking to sell, the chances of success are slim,” Suwanchai told the media at a signing ceremony linking OSMEP and Turkey’s equivalent organisation in a joint action plan.
To increase the chances of success, both sides in a link-up need to be clear on whether they are the buyer or the seller, he explained at the Third Turkish SMEs B2B Meeting with Turkey’s Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organisation (KOSGEB), held in Bangkok. The event included a business matching session for Thai and Turkish SMEs to exchange business knowledge and find opportunities to work together.
The joint action plan’ between OSMEP and KOSGEB aims to promote business cooperation between SMEs from both countries in various industries such as technology and processed agricultural products.
“This time, before even determining whether each party is a seller or buyer, we intend to build good business relations between each party. This way, each Turkish entrepreneur and investor will have their own business networks within Thailand,” said Suwanchai.
When there are good business networks, the business matching between buyers and sellers from both countries are more likely to be long-lasting, as SMEs would gain a better understanding of their target market.
The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1958, and are now negotiating a free-trade agreement. Thailand expects to increase the value of bilateral trade with Turkey from US$1.5 billion (Bt49.2 billion) in 2017 to at least $3 billion after the agreement is implemented, said Kobsak Pootrakool, a minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office, at the event yesterday.
SMEs are an integral part of both the Thai and Turkish economies. Some 3 million SMEs account for 97 per cent of Thailand’s total number of businesses and employ 78.5 per cent of working people, according to Suwanchai. Turkey also boasts over 3 million SMEs, forming more than 99 per cent of the total number total business, and accounting for 80 per cent of the country’s employment, chimed in Turna Sahin, vice president of KOSGEB. The ceremony was co-organised by OSMEP and KOSGEB, along with the Thailand-Turkey Business Council and Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and held at the Arnoma Grand Hotel Bangkok.
It was the third such meeting and was timed to commemorate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the countries.
A follow-up trade fair and festival for Thai and Turkish businesses will be held from yesterday to September 9 at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre. The trade fair will see booths from SMEs of both countries, and enable the businesses to test their target markets and discover how well their products are likely to perform, said Suwanchai.