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Working in Bangkok ?

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Martin Beck

Living in Thailand, from Germany

"I've been looking for a shop where to buy German food here in Bangkok. Fellow expats on InterNations finally told me how to find the right stores."

Helen Laidboe

Living in Thailand, from USA

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Bangkok at a Glance

Working in Bangkok

Working in Bangkok will give you an insight into a dynamic city and Thailand’s major business hub. However, it can also be quite challenging for many expats. The InterNations guide to working in Bangkok provides you with information on employment, visa rules, taxation, and more.

Working in Bangkok, expatriates will participate in the commercial activity of Thailand’s economic center and a pivotal location for Southeast Asian business. The national GDP has even overtaken those of Malaysia, Hong Kong, and the Singaporean tiger.

Bangkok is definitely the motor of Thailand’s economy. Indeed, the laborers, employees, and executives working in Bangkok create an annual gross domestic product which dwarfs that of Thailand’s poorest province.

Economic Climate

The country’s political crisis of the past few years and the recession that hit the global economy at first led analysts to dire predictions about the immediate future of Bangkok’s urban economy.

However, it seems as though the capital was not affected too much by the anti-government protests. At the end of 2010, the Thailand Stock Exchange was on the upswing, and after the general election of 2011, it was time to be optimistic about working in Bangkok.

But then, in autumn 2011, major flooding from a heavy monsoon season reached the capital and disrupted the lives of thousands. For example, major industrial estates in Pathum Thani, directly to the north of Bangkok, were severely affected.

The local microelectronics industry was also hit very hard. In fact, most hard-disk drives are produced by factory laborers working in Bangkok’s metropolitan region, so that the global IT industry had to cope with a HDD shortage well into 2012.

By now, however, the national economy of Thailand is securely back on track, with an annual GDP growth of 4.5% in 2012. Experts are even predicting a growth rate of over 5% for 2013.

Fields of Employment

Expats working in Bangkok are likely to be either part of an intra-company transfer or to find a position with the Thai branch of a multinational company, such as Unilever, Tesco Lotus, or Sony. Bangkok is also home to Thailand’s stock exchange and a major financial hub in Southeast Asia.

It should thus not come as a surprise that quite a few expatriates are employed in Bangkok’s finance sector. Most of them are working for one of the commercial banks that have their regional headquarters in Bangkok.

Working in Bangkok is also an attractive option for specialists from communications, real estate, transport, or the field of tourism. The latter in particular is an important employer in the Bangkok area.

Major Industries

As far as industry is concerned, working in Bangkok’s manufacturing plants focuses, to a large extent, on processing the crops from agriculture and forestry or creating popular arts and crafts. Convenience food, processed rice, and lumber are among the most important products made in Bangkok, as are gemstones and jewelry.

Moreover, Bangkok is a center of textile production as well as of the petrochemical industry. With regard to high-tech and consumer products, expats could also be working in Bangkok’s electronics industry or in the automotive plants of Greater Bangkok.

InterNations Expat Magazine