Medical services set to see strong growth
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Medical services set to see strong growth

Medical personnel provide services to outpatients at a private hospital in Bangkok.  (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)
Medical personnel provide services to outpatients at a private hospital in Bangkok.  (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)

The fields of medical services, beauty and e-commerce are tipped to see the brightest prospects in the second half of the year, according to the latest survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).

Thanavath Phonvichai, UTCC president, said the pandemic caused people to pay more attention to their healthcare, diet and exercise, while the growing numbers of elderly in the Thai population had resulted in higher demand for medical services and beauty.

More importantly, the country's reopening to international visitors is expected to reinvigorate medical tourism, he said.

However, Mr Thanavath warned of risk factors for the industry, including relatively high competition as the number of players expands and consumer concerns about the country's economic prospects and their future income.

In addition, he said the industry has insufficient medical personnel and experts, while forgery and consumer fraud for medical supplies was still rampant, eroding people's trust in the field.

According to Mr Thanavath, e-commerce also has bright prospects, supported by changing consumer behaviour during the Covid-19 outbreaks, which prompted Thais to shop more online and reduce their visits to stores.

He said there are a number of distribution channels with lower operating costs and a variety of products, and people can buy goods around the clock using convenient payment systems.

However, Mr Thanavath said the state policy of collecting tax on e-commerce coupled with inflationary pressures may lead people to spend less on online shopping.

Sales of substandard goods and intensified competition could also hinder online business growth, he said.

Additional businesses with promising outlooks for the second half highlighted by the university include cloud storage, insurance, health supplements and healthy food, e-sports, social media and online entertainment, content developers, and YouTube personalities and product reviewers.

"All businesses in Thailand will be helped in the second half by the country's reopening to international tourists, the government's subsidy measures to mitigate people's costs of living, the baht's weakness, increased trade and export opportunities offered by the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and the government's relaxations on cannabis rules," said Mr Thanavath.

"Factors that may hinder business include the prolonged Russia-Ukraine war and rising global oil prices, which accordingly increase costs of transport and production of several goods."

He said other risk factors include interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve, which may affect international capital movements, Thais' relatively weak household debt repayment capacity, and China's curbs on international travel.

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