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Thailand v Hong Kong

As the Thai economy goes from strength to strength there are plenty of people suggesting that the Thailand and Bangkok in particular could become one of the economic powerhouses in Asia. Real estate prices are still relatively cheap in Bangkok when compared to Hong Kong and Singapore – the established superpowers in the region. In these times of austerity and uncertainty businesses are now starting to question the benefits of having large regional offices in these locations. The potential of Bangkok seems more attractive almost by the day.

The Thai economy has seen several years of constant growth meaning that Bangkok can genuinely be classed as a developed, cosmopolitan city. Although growth has slowed marginally in recent years, it is still expected to reach between 2.9% and 3.3% per annum during the period 2016-18 which is still quite impressive in the current economic climate. When you compare this to Hong Kong which has stagnated you can see that this growth is very acceptable.

So why would companies invest in Bangkok as opposed to Hong Kong? The first and major reason is cost. Real estate in Hong Kong can cost as much as $20,000 a square foot with prices in Bangkok only being a fraction of this. Also, for international companies, the Board of Investment (BOI), a government backed scheme, offers some excellent incentives for overseas companies setting up in Thailand. These incentives include tax-breaks and additional work permits which are aimed at encouraging businesses to invest in Thailand.

Hong Kong on the other hand is overcrowded and expensive with no such schemes encouraging overseas investment, after all, if there was a large uptake where you they put everyone? There is little difference in the standard of the infrastructure, certainly not to any degree that would influence business decisions, and international travel and connections are excellent with the modern Suvarnabhumi airport easily accessible.

Investing in Thailand at the present time appears to be a very wise move. The country is going from strength to strength but has not yet experienced that huge expected boom that will inevitably lead to rises in real estate prices. Bangkok is a well establish, modern city which has thriving business and financial districts that are already home to some of the biggest names in the world. The relatively fledgling stock exchange is well respected and performing admirably.

On the face of it at least, Thailand appears to be on the up at a time when Hong Kong and China are slowing down. Businesses have plenty of opportunities that they can exploit should they choose to expand or move their operations to Thailand. It seems quite feasible to think that Thailand could be one of the big economic players in Asia in the not too distant future.


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