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The issues of skilled and unskilled labour in Thailand have been a concern for years. Thai labourers are seeing jobs taken away by Cambodian and Myanmar workers who work harder for less money
compete with emerging low-cost production bases. But Thai companies can remain competitive through product and service innovation. One easy strategy is to learn more about what consumers and the market want, and not just make low-priced products.
“Thai companies do not pay attention, or are not genuinely curious to know the real needs of their customers and market. Foreign companies have done business with us because we are nice in terms of hospitality.”
A better understanding of the market would help companies tailor services to the niche demands of each AEC country. “It is very important to know what the real expectations of our consumers and clients are,”
Mr Boonkiet said. “Most foreign clients place emphasis on the delivery schedule. So it is important to deliver products on time. Another expectation is that our products are of good quality but not too expensive. You need to live up to those expectations.”
At a national level, the government and business sectors need to pay attention to transparency and corrup- tion indicators. Developing skilled labour and boosting innovation might enhance a product’s competitiveness, but at the end of the day sustainable companies will choose to invest in countries with a stable political climate and less corruption.
Saha Group has always considered corruption factors and political stability before investing. “We usually

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