Busrin Treerapongpichit


Taksina Isarabhakdi

Copy editingr:

Anthony McAuley

Cover and graphics:

Sataporn Kawewong

Design and layout:

Napaporn Suktrakul, Chantiya Potayarom

Production co-ordination:

Veman Ittihiranwong

Price $ 6.00

It might be stretching the point to claim that people across Southeast Asia will wake up one morning in 2015 to find themselves part of one giant country with 10 ‘‘provinces’’, as one Thai executive enthusiastically put it.

However, there’s no doubt that the arrival of the Asean Economic Community three years from now will force a lot of people to adopt a less insular outlook.

The vision of a region with 600 million people and a gross domestic product of nearly $2 trillion as a single market and production base is indeed a compelling one. Getting the vision to work is another matter.

Asean’s top policymakers and bureaucrats have spent years working out ways to streamline and harmonise regulations to ensure that goods, services, capital and people will be able to move freely from one country to another.

Indeed, the AEC has no shortage of cheerleaders among politicians and executives of large corporations that are already confident about their ability to hold their own in the wider world. For many small business owners and the public at large, however, reactions range from suspicion and fear to outright cluelessness.

Clearly, a lot of work remains to be done on the public relations side to ensure that all of the region’s citizens will be comfortable in their new, bigger home.

    • Toward a new era

      Each country in Asean has different concerns about how it will measure up when the region becomes a single market in 2015, but the advantages of pooling individual strengths are compelling

      By Parista Yuthamanop

    • The best defence

      Strong capital bases and good risk management have helped make Thai banks highly profitable but margins will come under pressure as regional rivals seek opportunities.

      By Somruedi Banchongduang

    • Regional ambitions, different strategies

      By Somruedi Banchongduang

    • Small players looking for regional niches

      By Somruedi Banchongduang

    • On the front lines

      Capital markets everywhere have to be bigger, faster and stronger to stay on the radar screens of global investors. Thailand and Asean hope to be up to the challenge by 2015.

      By Darana Chudasri

    • Building a pan-Asean trading platform

      By Nuntawun Polkuandee

    • Brokers shaping up

      By Nuntawun Polkuandee

    • Wanted: A bigger welcome mat

      Thailand remains a highly desirable destination but authorities need to broaden their thinking, and all sides should stop fretting about higher wages and focus on competitiveness

      By Nanchanok Wongsamuth and Yuthana Praiwan

    • Closing the gaps

      Planes, trains, ships and automobiles . . . Asean has plans for them all as members work to fill the blanks on the map and bring people closer together.

      By Chatrudee Theparat

    • Challenge from the South

      Highly competitive service providers from Singapore and Malaysia should find good opportunities in the Thai market, possibly at the expense of smaller local players.

      By Nareerat Wiriyapong

    • Knowledge is power

      Thai businesses can thrive under the AEC if they understand how to make the best use of region-wide opportunities, whether for sourcing, manufacturing or sales.

      By Phusadee Arunmas

    • Stay-at-home mentality

      Awareness among SMEs of regional integration is alarmingly low, as is preparation, even though intra-Asean trade among small businesses could bring huge economic benefits.

      By Nanchanok Wongsamuth

    • What to export and where

      By Nanchanok Wongsamuth

    • Have skills, will travel

      Mutual recognition of qualifications is an important first step before the Asean market is thrown wide-open for skilled professionals in 2015, but even then movement will be limited.

      By Soonya Vanichkorn

    • Architects weigh regional career pros and cons

      By Soonya Vanichkorn

    • Positive prognosis

      Thai hospitals benefit from international outlook and experience in medical tourism, but their peers in other countries are equally strong.

      By Charoen Kittikanya

    • Medical hub policy lacking in real detail

      By Charoen Kittikanya

    • Seeds of competitiveness

      AEC could help Thai farm sector by making more skilled and unskilled labour available, but better strategic planning is needed.

      By Walailak Keeratipipatpong

    • Good farm technology and management keys to success abroad

      By Walailak Keeratipipatpong

    • Power play

      Individually and collectively, Asean states need to improve energy access and connectivity, while also pursuing higher green standards for a sustainable future

      By Yuthana Praiwan

    • Leading the green charge

      By Yuthana Praiwan

    • Open for business

      Office market in Bangkok should thrive as investors seek new bases, but unattractive lease terms keep Thai residential market from reaching its potential

      By Kanana Katharangsiporn

    • Completing the circuit

      Local IT companies can grab their share of fast-growing demand for new services, but they need to raise their game in terms of language skills and innovation.

      By Suchit Leesa-nguansuk

    • The right connections

      Local industry looks forward to competing with regional peers to deliver innovations that will lift productivity and economic growth, but on a level playing field.

      By Srisamorn Phoosuphanusorn

    • Passport to prosperity

      Thailand hopes to build on its well-known strengths to be the key player at the heart of a pan-Asean travel destination. But industry can’t take success for granted.

      By Chadamas Chinmaneevong

    • Busy flight path

      Asean already has an open skies agreement, albeit with spotty compliance, but arrival of AEC in 2015 will bring even greater opportunity.

      By Boonsong Kositchotethana

    • Plane makers chase regional bonanza

      By Boonsong Kositchotethana

    • Changes in store

      Thailand will top the list of many chains looking to tap local and tourist spending, while experienced local players are well positioned to grow regionally.

      By Pitsinee Jitpleecheep

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