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7 Jan 2021

Econ Digest

Prospects…Thai air conditioner export


With exports of non-inverter air conditioners on a decline trend over the past year, Thailand has the opportunity to benefit from the increased demand for general inverter air conditioners in emerging countries. However going forward, in addition to its original competitor China, Thailand may face competition from new competitors like Vietnam, as Japanese air conditioner manufacturers that formerly use Thailand as their main production base in the region have invested in Vietnam since mid-2018, and have opened production lines for general inverter air conditioners. At the first phase, these production lines focus on domestic market in Vietnam which emphasize on energy saving, and will expand capacity for exports after the recovery of global economy.


The start-up of the production lines in Vietnam will inevitably affect Thai air conditioner exports, which should only affect Thai air conditioner exports to Vietnam in less than 2 years. KResearch predicts that the production capacity of general inverter air conditioner in Vietnam will increase from 500,000 units today to about 5 million units in 2025, which will put further pressure on the export volume of general inverter air conditioners from Thailand.


            To leave the competitors behind, Thailand needs to adapt by attracting investment in the production of Internet-connected smart IoT (Internet of Thing) inverter air conditioners, which require higher-end production technology and are in continuous demand in developed countries, to compensate for the declining demand for non-inverter air conditioners. In the long term, this will cater to the transition to the era of IoT, and will enhance Thailand's position as still the world’s leading producer of air conditioners in the future.

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