The Thai government has set a policy to conduct all dimensions of reform in order to move full steam ahead toward Thailand 4.0, which is a value-based, innovative, and technology-driven economy.
From the past to the present, Thailand has adjusted its economic development in line with the economic situation in each period. It has already passed through three economic development models and is moving toward a new one. The first model, “Thailand 1.0,” was an agriculture-based economy.
The second model, “Thailand 2.0,” was a light industry-based economy. In the third model, “Thailand 3.0,” which is a heavy industry-based economy, the country is currently making efforts to attract foreign investment to develop Thailand as a production base for exports. Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha explained that although the Thailand 3.0 model has led to higher economic growth, the country has become stuck in the middle-income trap. It also faces the problems of disparities and imbalanced development. As a result, Thailand is unable to grow by leaps and bounds. The Government has, therefore, launched reforms to move the country toward “Thailand 4.0,” which is sometimes referred to as the fourth industrial revolution.
This model aims to promote economic growth and the country’s competitiveness on a sustainable basis. It is intended to pull Thailand out of the middle-income trap and tackle disparities. At the same time, the Thailand 4.0 policy also aims to strengthen all sectors in order to create balanced development. It has three elements, which mark a significant change in the country’s economy and production. The first element aims to enhance the country’s standing by turning it into a high-income nation through developing it as a knowledge-based economy, with an emphasis on research and development, science and technology, creative thinking, and innovation. In the second element, Thailand will move toward an “inclusive society” with equitable access to the fruits of prosperity and development. The third element focuses on “sustainable growth and development,” in order to achieve economic growth and sustainable development without destroying the environment. The Prime Minister said that in moving the country toward Thailand 4.0, those remaining in Thailand 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 would not be left behind; they must be assisted to be able to move forward, as well. In this regard, human capacity development is the key to this model in order to produce a workforce of higher quality and prepare “Thais 4.0.” Under the Thailand 4.0 policy, 10 target industries will receive a major boost as new engines of growth.
The 10 industries are divided into two groups: the First S-Curve and the New S-Curve. The First S-Curve industries include automotive, electronics, affluent medical and wellness tourism, agriculture and biotechnology, and food processing. The New S-Curve industries include robotics, aviation and logistics, biofuels and biochemicals, the digital industry, and the medical hub.