ASEAN Market Watch: e-Commerce in Thailand, Q4 Growth in Indonesia, and Myanmar-Thailand Bilateral Agreements

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Thailand: Strong growth expected in e-commerce market

Analysts say that Thailand’s e-commerce market is expected to grow around 20 percent this year as more consumers shop online. At present, only three percent of consumers shop online, underlining the significant growth potential for the online market. Thai retailer Central Group only had one percent of its revenue come from online sales. The increased online sales expected this year are attributed to growing internet and smartphone use as well as improved logistics and e-payment systems. Quality and reliability of online shopping services will further help the sector.

The Electronic Transactions Development Agency predicted that the e-commerce market in Thailand will be worth US$7.1 billion (THB 2.52 trillion) this year. Thailand has around 41 million internet users, and 41 million Facebook, 33 million Line, 7.8 million Instagram, and 5.3 million Twitter users. Analysts have further stated that omni-channel strategies, meaning a balance between physical retail stores and online shops, would benefit the country.

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Indonesia: GDP growth slows in fourth quarter of 2016

Indonesia posted slower economic growth in the October-December period with GDP growth of 4.94 percent, slightly down from the previous quarter’s growth of 5.01 percent. Nevertheless, annual growth improved to 5.02 percent in 2016, up from 4.88 percent in 2015. Analysts say that growth is likely to reach 5.4 percent this year. Officials at the statistics bureau said that while government spending cuts hurt growth, rising exports helped cushion the impact. The budget cuts were attributed to austerity measures in early August 2016 as well as the government’s move to scrap non-essential spending. Other factors included falling levels of industrial production, credit growth, auto sales, and retail sales at the end of 2016.

Financial services and insurance were the biggest contributors to the economy, followed by information and communication. The World Bank has forecasted a 5.3 percent growth for Indonesia in 2017, but that must be supported by strong private investment and ongoing investment climate reforms.

Myanmar, Thailand sign bilateral agreements

Myanmar and Thailand signed 16 bilateral agreements in private sectors in four fields, as per the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI). The documents were signed between the UMFCCI and the Federation of Thai Industries on February 2. The agreements are aimed to help Myanmar’s SMEs, trade, industrial businesses, human resources, and the implementation of a digital economic platform.

The agreements are also expected to boost infrastructure development and the banking, health service, and manufacturing sectors. The developments came during Thai Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Somkid Jatusripitak’s four day visit to Myanmar. The two countries also discussed enhancing development in infrastructure and rural development as well as boosting border trade and tourism.


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