For Thailand to be able to compete in international markets in the face of emerging challenges of the 21st century, and as people need more varieties of products to consume, the Thai government must take into consideration the building of creative economy, which in the long run can help increase the nation’s GDP.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development or UNCTAD’s Creative Economy Report 2008, creative economy, defined as “a new development paradigm in terms of creativity, knowledge, and access to information, is regarded as a powerful engine of economic growth and development in the world of globalization.”. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), on the other hand, has stated that creative economy has a wider meaning which includes cultural or artistic production, be it in the form of live performance or individual unit, which is traditionally used in a similar manner to ‘high-art’ activities.
The rising value of creative industries has been taken into account by many developed countries and is, in the same manner, increasingly promoted in developing countries. Consequently, the government of Thailand, which has long realized the importance of this emerging global trend, has set its mind on making Thailand a creative economy hub of the ASEAN region.
Even though creative economy development is not a new thing in Thailand, as seen from its many culturally-linked products and services, the idea must be taken into a serious account in order to progress in international trade. Our country has been dependent upon the labor-intensive manufacturing sector for many decades; however, at this stage, it must be driven by knowledge-based economy. With the ongoing economic crisis forcing factories to close down, production capacity to be cut, as well as workforce to be idle, the country has found that ‘creative economy’ can greatly contribute to its competitive advantage.
With new technology shrinking the world, market space has become unlimited, and money no longer a condition, good ideas are vital in enhancing the capacity of small players; enabling them to compete in the global market. The Thai government has since attempted to be more proactive in international trade by considering knowledge management a critical factor in the nation’s economic expansion.
Adding more values to Thai products is one of the strategies covered by knowledge- and creativity-based production. Other significant factors that the government has raised in order to develop Thai creative industries are the improvement of infrastructure, service management, R & D, and innovation for commercialization.
Several agencies including the Department of Intellectual Property, the Department of Export Promotion, the Thailand Creative Design Center, and various educational institutions have been set up, the objective of all of which is to contribute to the development of creative economy.
In spite of the above-mentioned issues, one last, but not least, important point the government must take into account is its marketing strategy, given it has become a major tool to market and boost sales for all type of goods and services, including those in the creative sector; as it is no longer true that the world will beat the path to you if you have the right products. Good products and services without proper distribution channels can be uncompetitive in the market.
Therefore, in order to boost Thailand’s creative industries, attention, in all aspects, is required from the government, ranging from supports in product development to marketing strategies. The Thai government has been in the process of using creative economy as its tool to drive the nation to stand out amid the sea of international competitors.
BY: Nithi Kaveevivitchai