Thailand experienced the first time of its KR CLMV Economic Presence (CLMV-EPI) Index not being among the top three ranking since the fourth quarter of 2017, replaced by Japan at the third position as affirmed by its increasing role as a large investor in CLMV. Change in Japan's direct investment in CLMV is remarkable, with more focus on the non-manufacturing sector especially in Cambodia and Myanmar, for example retail trade, financial and banking businesses and logistics, with the purpose to tap into the alternative consumer market that has high potential. Japan's emphasis on the non-manufacturing sector in CLM is contrary to its investment in manufacturing industries in Thailand and Vietnam, which could indicate a challenge arising from CLM's competitiveness development, in particular with respect to manufacturing technologies. In this regard, Thailand is capable to step up to become the region's capacity building and skill development hub. In addition, Thai businesses should speed up the development of their potential in the modern service sector amid rising competition in the conventional service sector, in order to uphold our role in CLMV.
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