Thailand still a top-10 Apec choice

Thailand still a top-10 Apec choice

(L-R)Ayala Corporation CEO Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Canadian Chamber of Commerce CEO Perrin Beatty, Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle, Chairman of Asia Inc Forum Timothy Ong and Deutsche Post DHL group CEO Frank Appel attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015 CEO Summit in Manila, November 17, 2015. (Reuters photo)
(L-R)Ayala Corporation CEO Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Canadian Chamber of Commerce CEO Perrin Beatty, Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle, Chairman of Asia Inc Forum Timothy Ong and Deutsche Post DHL group CEO Frank Appel attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015 CEO Summit in Manila, November 17, 2015. (Reuters photo)

Thailand lags behind arch rivals Vietnam and Indonesia as a top investment destination of Apec business leaders over the next 12 months.

This finding was reported in PwC's "2015 Apec CEO Survey: CEO Confidence in Asia Pacific Shaken but Strong".

The survey showed the top 10 countries favoured for investment over the next 12 months included China (53%), Indonesia (52%), the US (52%), Vietnam (52%), Singapore (46%) and the Philippines (45%).

Ranking seventh was Thailand (42%), ahead of Chile, Malaysia and Japan (40% each).

Thailand is still placed in the top 10 thanks to its strategic location as one of the world's largest agricultural and manufacturing bases as well as an intra-regional trade and logistics hub, PwC Thailand chief executive Sira Intarakumthornchai said.

The report surveyed 800 business leaders from June-August regarding their prospects for business, growth and free trade in the Apec region.

A rebound in tourism and recent stimulus measures should help Southeast Asia's second-largest economy to weather the storm despite the uncertain political environment and weak economic data.

"Thailand has shown resilience despite a series of negative shocks and disruptions," Mr Sira said.

"Although unresolved political factors and declining exports have weighed on recent economic activity, we believe growing demand for infrastructure, increased use of digital technology and continued foreign fund inflows will continue to help draw investments to the country."

China, the US and Indonesia remain the main draws, but chief executives are allocating new investment more broadly.

More than half of those surveyed (53%) want to increase investment over the next 12 months, with most of the investment (68%) planned for Apec.

Cybersecurity, exposure to natural disaster risks and geopolitical tensions are the leading threats to business investment and growth, the report said.

But expanded broadband access and increased participation in the digital economy hold the most promise for businesses from regional connectivity. This ranks ahead of regional trade projects or new infrastructure in underdeveloped areas of the region.

Some 63% of surveyed chief executives expected a new wave of business spending would modernise operations in five years.

Robotics, the Internet of Things and 3D printing were named among the technologies that were likely to transform manufacturing in the region by 2020.

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