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By and large, Thailand’s infrastructure is excellent, but it is better in the cities than in rural towns and remote regions. However, the communications infrastructure is robust, and an initiative is in place to dramatically improve transportation infrastructure.
This nation-wide initiative will improve transport by road, rail, air, and water. It should ease urban and suburban congestion considerably within a decade.
Under the Thailand Transport Development Plan 2015-2022, Thailand has embarked on a significant infrastructure upgrade. Nearly 80% of the approximately US$76 billion is earmarked for the development of the country’s railway infrastructure.
The Thai rail network spans about 4000 km, but the vast majority—nearly 90%—is single track. To up its rail transportation efficiency, Thailand will invest over US$14.56 billion in double-tracking projects. Also, four high-speed rail lines are on tap, and the government will spend about US$17.7 billion in Bangkok mass transit systems to expand the network from 110 km to 464 km. Hopefully, that will relieve traffic in Bangkok, whose traffic woes are challenging.
The state enterprise Airport Authority of Thailand (AOT) plans to plow around US$5.2 billion into developing six international airports in Thailand from 2016-2026. During that time frame, renovations and expansions are also slated for 29 regional airports.
Thai internet is fast, often free, and widely available. Under the National Digital Economy Master Plan, Thailand provides wi-fi hotspot coverage to every school and medical center in the country as well as to 25,000 villages.
Eastern Economic Corridor
Under the auspices of Thailand’s current economic model, Thailand 4.0, the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Development Plan aims to develop three eastern provinces (Chonburi, Rayong, and Chachoengsao) into a leading Southeast Asian economic zone. For decades, these provinces have been responsible for most of the country’s manufacturing, and have produced petrochemicals, automobiles, and electronics.
Since the provinces are also strategically located on the Gulf of Thailand, they have long been major export centers. The region, which already enjoys significant exports and visits from tourists, is set to undergo unprecedented infrastructure upgrades.
The EEC is intended to encompass 13,285 sq km. The Thai government hopes to turn the area into a hub for technological manufacturing and services with robust connectivity to its Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) neighbors by land, sea, and air.
Becoming Asia’s innovation hub
In the 21st century, access and connectivity underpin digitally-powered economic growth. Therefore, Thailand developed Digital Park Thailand (EECd), a data hub with ultra-high-speed broadband infrastructure. Strategically located on the EEC, the data hub will house digital global and Asian players and innovators. With the inclusion of planned submarine cables, satellite stations, and a data center, EECd will be able to meet the needs of even the most demanding technology companies.
The Internet in Thailand is already fairly robust, but again, rural and remote areas tend to lag behind urban centers. However, Thailand is actively seeking to ameliorate the state of the Internet for all residents of the country. Under its National Digital Economy Master Plan, the Kingdom of Thailand has expanded wi-fi hotspot coverage to 25,000 villages and medical centers and has connected every school in the country.
Although Thailand has room to improve its infrastructure, living and working in Thailand is reasonably comfortable already. The well-developed infrastructure, coupled with the promise of further enhancements, help investors feel good about their decision to invest in Thailand.
Are you looking to set up your business in Thailand and make your first hire? You can also check out this article on Navigating Thai Labor Law
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