Blogger: Mrs. Jaruwan Suwannasat Director, Exhibition and Events Department of TCEB
Evolving healthcare technologies, a rising middle class increasingly able to afford them, as well as an ageing population that needs them, is taking Southeast Asia’s health and wellness industry into a new era.
And in the centre of the region, Thailand’s healthcare and wellness industry is particularly well positioned for commercialisation, due in part to the Government’s Thailand 4.0 vision. Or so said a panel of experts at a recent event staged by local news organisation The Nation.
Medial experts at a roundtable held by the organisation said they welcomed the government’s inclusion of the medical and health sectors under the Eastern Economic Corridor and Thailand 4.0.
Chief executive officer of public organisation the Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Science, Nares Damrongchai, explained that Thailand is a large enough market for biomedical research, and sits at the centre of ASEAN. The country already operates at a high capacity in the biomedical industry, and it does so while operating at a relatively low cost compared with countries elsewhere in the world.
Thailand is also suited to a role as technology partner for overseas biomedical business, and continuing the Thailand 4.0 theme, has the connections and increasingly the industry to grow into a hub of medical equipment manufacturing, Big Data, and Artificial intelligence.
Average healthcare spending for the four years 2014-18 is expected to be 11 per cent of the ASEAN region’s GDP, which had a healthcare market valued at US$100 billion at the beginning of this year.
The medical technology market in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand alone is valued at US$3.6 billion, while the healthcare wearables market is expected to be worth US$25 billion by 2019.
Health and wellness in Thailand and the ASEAN is big business.
One upcoming Thai event hoping to facilitate these conversations is the Medical Fair Thailand 2017, which takes place on 6-8 September, showcasing products and solutions for the medical and healthcare sector. Others include InterCare on 6-8 July, Thailand LAB on 6-8 September. On a related but different theme, the cosmetic treatment events COSMEX, In-Cosmetics and Beyond Beauty, as well as wellness shows such as Asia Fitness also have a substantial international component.
But the health and wellness sector is broader than just medical products. The 16th edition of the Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+) exhibition, which brought 480 buyers from 64 countries to meet with 354 regional sellers at the Chiang Mai International Exhibition and Convention Centre (CMECC), took place in June. The exhibition’s tagline: ‘Amazing Gateway to the Greater Mekong Subregion’ is a clear reminder that buyers will experience a breadth of health and wellness products that extends beyond Thailand’s northern limits.
Organisers interested in expanding their business to Thailand will find the region’s leading forum for discussion and investment. The country’s health and wellness industry can only continue to grow older, healthier and wiser.