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, although currently the growth is not on par with the development in these countries.
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.
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.
Thailand’s economy has indeed experienced some major ups and downs in the past few years. The floods of 2011 had a negative impact on the economy of the whole country, hitting the local microelectronics industry especially hard. The economy recovered, but in 2013 and 2014, political issues caused the economic growth to decline once more. It seems unlikely that the high growth rates the country had in the early nineties will be achieved again anytime soon.
As of 2014, the growth rate was only 0.7%, with the World Bank estimating a renewed growth of about 3.5% for 2015.
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.
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.
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