Thailand's economy has been based on .
It is only relatively recently that the has begun to play a significant role.
transformation, over the last 30 years, has been dramatic. The
agricultural share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has
declined steadily from 40 percent in 1960 to 11.2 percent in
1994. At the same time, the manufacturing sector has expanded
rapidly, with its share of GDP increasing from 13 percent in
1960 to 42 percent in 1994. The sector employs more than 3
million people, over 10 percent of the entire labour force.
While manufacturing is increasing in regional areas, industrial
activities are still highly concentrated in the central region.
industrial sector grew at an average rate of 9.5 percent per
year during the 1970s. Its share of GDP increased from 15.9
percent in 1970 to 22 percent in 1970 and production of
manufactured goods 1980, these developments had changed the
structure of Thailand's manufacturing sector. The relative
importance of processing industries had diminished in favour of
labour-intensive exports (which had risen to 11 percent) and
intermidiate and capital goods.
1982, the contribution of manufacturing to GDP was still
slightly below that of the agricultural sector. However, since
1983, the contribution of manufacturing to the GDP has exceeded
that of the agricultural sector. By the latter part of 1980s,
especially since 1987, manufactured products increased
dramatically to become the leading sector of the Thai economy.
The growth of manufactured products reached 12.6 percent in
1990, the industrial sector has undergone a rapid
diversification process. Industrial production was more evenly
spread between a number of sectors, including consumer goods,
component parts, and intermediate capital goods. Other growth
industries include computers, automotive and autoparts,
electronics, heavy industries and huge projects in steel,
petrochemicals, and communications. There is an increasing
number of industrial products, with new entrants seen every year
as the economy adjusts its production structure to take
advantage of new opportunities.
1993 and 1994, both demestic and export production of
manufacturing goods showed strong growth, with total
manufacturing output expanding by more than 11 percent each year.
Domestically, strong growth occurred in beverages, tobacco, and
growth in manufacturing is expected in the late 1990's, with the
expected brisk recovery in the major industrialized countries
coupled with sharp rises in domestic consumption, and the
favourable investment climate in Thailand. Some adjustment in
the structure of manufacturing output is expecxted in the 90's
in favour of higher technology and higher value-added products,
such as those in the electrical and electronics sectors.
Projects involving very high technology, bringing with them huge
investment, such as the eafer project (electronic parts), pig
iron project, and copper cutthroat project will be on stream.