COUNTRY REPORT: Thailand

by Andrew Sia

For this issue, we feature the last Southeast Asian country, Thailand. In terms of GDP it’s ranked number two among the ten ASEAN countries. I visited Thailand in the 80s and thought about setting up manufacturing there which was booming in those days and was considered a better developed country among its peers. It was a relatively peaceful country, which was the reason why it attracted a lot of manufacturing. Among all the Southeast Asian countries, I still think it has the best infrastructure and it can be adequate for the materials it will need to produce complicated garments like brassieres. In other words, it has a complete supply chain, not only for intimate apparel but for apparel in general. But what led to the recent political turbulence in the country is unfortunate.

Brief history

  • Evidence of human habitation was found dating back 40,000 years with stone artifacts from the Tham Lod Rockshelter period.
  • As with other regions in Southeast Asia, Thailand is heavily influenced by
    the culture and regions of India, starting from the Kingdom of Funan to the first century of the Khmer Empire.
  • In its early days, Thailand was under the rule of the Khmer Empire, which had strong Hindu roots.
  • Strong Indian influence through the Indianized kingdoms of Dvaravati, Srivijaya and Cambodia. Buddhism emerged at the time of the Indian Emperor Ashoka of the Maruya Empire and this influence continued.
  • The Khmer Empire collapsed in the 13th century and the Thai people, Mons, Khmers, Chams and the ethnic Malays formed states scattered around the landscape of the Siamese…

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