Throughout 2012, electronics exports were plagued by downsides such as the post-2011 flood crisis wherein some factories were slow to recover, plus global problems led by the Eurocrisis. Nonetheless, shipments of electronics to the US resumed growth. Major export items with hefty expansion were hard disk drives, cloud computing servers, telephones and parts thereof, etc., thanks to higher demand for data storage in line with a surging number of smartphone and tablet users. Meanwhile, exports of ICs, micro-assemblies and semiconductors experienced sharp contractions and have yet to return to normalcy. KResearch thus holds the view that exports of electronics may have totaled around USD32 billion in 2012, an increase of 1.8 percent YoY, compared to a (-) 4.6-percent decline in 2011.
KResearch views that our electronics exports may record growth this year, given a brighter global economic outlook and nearing AEC inception. Thailand remains an attractive electronics-manufacturing base, as evidenced by BOI-promoted electronics investment data for 11M12 that rose 64.5 percent YoY. Among the favorable factors would be further growth in data storage services, the introduction of new operating systems that should expand rapidly from mid-2013 onwards, as well as growing demand for smartphones and tablets. Nonetheless, caution should be observed toward the Eurocrisis, US fiscal cliff deal and our domestic wage increase nationwide, effective on January 1. As For 2013 overall, KResearch forecasts that electronics exports may reach USD33.5-USD35 billion, an increase of 5.0-8.0 percent YoY.
KResearch views that production upgrades and product enhancements are needed to better meet global demand. To this end, emphasis may be placed on production of cloud computing servers, smaller and lighter hard disk drives, printed circuit boards (PCB), micro-assemblies and semiconductors, especially newer chips for smartphones and tablets. A focus should also be directed toward diversification to serve other promising industries, e.g., automotive-industry related components, renewable energy (solar inverters, energy-efficient LED light bulbs) and consumer products (smart TV-top boxes).
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