Finding gaps in the market and locating new opportunities in Thailand can be difficult. Especially in the food and beverage and retail sectors. Competition in Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai was fierce prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. And now with the tourism sector at a standstill, simply surviving is a challenge for most businesses.
That being said, the situation isn’t all doom and gloom. Entrepreneurs willing to look at the bigger picture will find untapped markets brimming with potential. Perhaps none are as attractive as Khon Kaen and Udon Thani in Northeast Thailand. While these cities may not be the first place you consider when launching a business, they probably should be.
“There are opportunities for entrepreneurs in Khon Kaen and Udon Thani that don’t really exist elsewhere in Thailand. Businesses cannot only survive here but they can thrive because people want the cosmopolitan experience,” Brian, the Sales and Marketing Manager at 8Villas, states. “They want the Bangkok-style coffee shops, restaurants and bars. They also have the money to spend. There is so much potential here and this is a region that can be truly special.”
A growing middle class and expanding economy has seen purchasing power rise in Khon Kaen. Not only is there a notable expat community, but more Thais are moving from Bangkok to Northeast Thailand. They can escape the pollution and overcrowding of the city and live a more peaceful, safer life.
While there is wealth in Khon Kaen, options for spending money remain limited. The city does have some trendy eateries, boutique shops and other businesses, but there remains significant room for more. Entrepreneurs with an open and solid business plan should be able to find success that would be much harder to come by in Bangkok or elsewhere in the Kingdom.
Looking ahead, Brian expects Khon Kaen to keep growing. The city has the culture and values people love about Thailand and will benefit from key infrastructure projects in the coming years. There are also a number of other positives that make the city appealing.
“We have international school and international hospitals. The standard of living here is good and continuously getting better. However, it’s still not an expensive place,” Brian explains. “Thailand is now on people’s list of places they want to getaway to once the pandemic ends. People see how well the country has handled COVID-19 and understand the safety we enjoy here.”