RATING
THAILAND’S
STARTUP
ECOSYSTEM

28 Sep 2020

The GII is an index that ranks Thailand’s startup ecosystem. It offers entrepreneurs an idea of the hurdles of launching a successful startup in Thailand.

Rating the Startup Ecosystem in Thailand

Every entrepreneur wants to launch their startup in the best environment and business climate they can to ensure success for their company. The Global Innovation Index (GII) is a series of charts that rank Thailand’s startup ecosystem against other nations.

The index offers a compilation of data from the past three years (2018, 2019 and 2020) that provides insight into countries investing in tech industries as a means of growing their economies. The data is pulled from:

  • UNESCO Institute for Statistics
  • Eurostat
  • OECD – Main Science and Technology Indicators
  • Microfinance Information Exchange
  • World Bank
  • United Nations Industrial Development Organization

The GII gives entrepreneurs a firm idea of some of the hurdles they will face when launching a tech startup in Thailand, as well as some of the benefits the country provides. 

Every country has its pluses and minuses when it comes to launching a business. Likewise, every startup has different challenges relating to their core idea and the way they plan to conduct their operations.

So, rather than using the GII as a tool to find the ‘best’ country to launch your startup, you should use it to focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the startup ecosystem in Thailand. This allows you to determine if the strengths match your needs, and the weaknesses pose a real threat to your startup’s success.

Asian Lady

The GII uses seven categories in two sub-indexes to rank countries, with a country’s relative wealth as a further determining factor in the rankings. The two sub-indexes are the country’s innovation inputs and innovation outputs. On the input side of the formula, the categories include:

  • Institutions
  • Human Capital & Research
  • Infrastructure
  • Market Sophistication
  • Business Sophistication

On the output side of the formula, the categories include:

  • Knowledge and Technical Outputs
  • Creative Outputs

Economic Wealth of a Country

The countries are grouped into four categories that reflect their wealth as a country, according to their GDP. They include a high-income group, upper middle-income group, lower middle-income group and low-income group. Thailand is currently ranked 4th among 37 countries in the upper middle-income group. Regionally, Thailand is ranked 17th among 17 countries in South-east Asia, East Asia and Oceania. 

The inclusion of this grouping by wealth offers more insight into a country’s performance against other countries. And Thailand is performing well in this regard. As more focus is given to tech industries in Thailand, you can expect the country to improve and draw closer to the performance of other, wealthier nations.

Support Strengths

Thailand enjoys a strong reputation for innovation, which is sometimes unexpected for its level of development. The country has been effective in transforming its innovation investments into innovation outputs to provide a boost to its economy. 

This statistic alone should give the VCs and investors of Thailand confidence. The country is currently only showing a deficit in three of the seven categories used to compile the rankings.

Industry Weaknesses

In both market sophistication and business sophistication, Thailand is showing a maturity that more developed nations still lack. The country is ranked significantly higher than other nations that enjoy greater wealth than Thailand.  

However, in Institutions, Infrastructure and Human Capital & Research, the country is still ranking in the sixties, with the number ‘one’ being the goal. Institutions and Human Capital & Research are directly related to each other. Without qualified institutions developing a technology-focused curriculum, Human Capital & Research rankings will continue to suffer. And the relatively low Infrastructure ranking can be attributed to the country’s still developing economic ranking.

Thailand needs to make a concerted effort to improve both the quality of the education it provides and the necessary infrastructure for the startup ecosystem of Thailand to compete on the world stage. 

Good News

Thailand is currently at 44 among 131 countries around the world, which includes upper-income group countries. Thailand 4.0 is still a relatively new goal for the country; change takes time. But with universities and institutions in Thailand redeveloping their education systems to address the STEM disciplines and meet the demands of Thailand 4.0, it won’t be long before a wealth of new, qualified recruits enter the startup ecosystem of Thailand.

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