Textile Industry

Thailand has an effusively integrated textile industry with its numerous spinning, weaving and garment enterprises. One of the key players to surface in the non-western planet on the apparel and textile front is Thailand. Thailand has more than 2,000 garment enterprises and a similar number of firms thriving in this industry, most of them situated in and around Bangkok and in the eastern part of the country.

The Textile Industry in Thailand is capable of producing fabric, casual wear, sportswear, womenswear, and kidswear. The force behind Thailand’s textile industry lies the bundle of the country’s textile sector, making Thailand as one of the very few economies to handle every aspect of design, production, and sale. The country is a globally recognized silk producer and also manufactures twist or spin yarn. Thailand excels in eco-friendly finishing, printing and dyeing services that meet the global standards.

Contesting globally among the leading textile producers, the Thai textile industry has established itself significantly over the last few decades. From the convincing historic base of cotton and silk production, the apparel and textiles market in the country is constantly growing and evolving for meeting the ever-changing trends of consumers.

Every year, remarkable volumes of superior quality apparel and fabrics from Thailand are sold in domestic markets and exported to the markets world over. In 2016, the Thai textile industry’s export revenue was almost USD 7 billion, backing more than 3 percent of country’s total exports.

Thai Textile & Clothing Exports, 2016

Colorful pie graph of Thailands textile & clothing products exports for the year 2016

As mentioned before, Thailand is among the few countries in the world providing the entire value chain of the textile industry, from upstream to midstream and then to downstream. With more than 4,700 local textile manufacturers, Thailand hosts a total cohesive array of activities across the whole textile value chain, from the production of fabric and fiber, all the way to the manufacturing, designing, and sales.

Ranked 9th on the list of largest producers of polyester, and 5th largest producers of acrylics in the world, the country is the leading producer of synthetic fibers globally. Thailand produces around 900,000 tons of synthetic fibers annually. Both the local consumption and domestic production of man-made fibers had impressive year-over-year growth rates in 2016 at 12.3% and 6.4% respectively.

With an unceasingly evolving and developing textile industry, Thailand has amplified its production efficiency for producing high-quality yarns. The manufacturers in Thailand, spin more than 800,000 tons of man-made yarns and cotton every year, out of which 70 percent are used domestically. In the year 2016, the export of yarns amounted to more than USD 700 million. Key export destinations include Taiwan, China, Indonesia, and Japan.

Pie graph of cotton and man-made yarn products in Thailand for the year 2016

Processed from elastomeric synthetic fibers, spandex is fabrics which offer substantial flexibility to many sportswear and underwear brands. The spandex market globally is projected to grow at a CAGR of more than 8 percent from 2016-2023 for which APAC is likely to account for over 60 percent of the global production.  With several producers in the country, spandex serves as a solid foundation for the country’s fast-developing sportswear industry.

With a profusion of superior quality raw materials, the country is known for its capability to knit and weave globally-renowned fabrics at a high-class quality. In the year 2016, Thailand exported fabrics worth more than USD 1.2 billion, predominantly to countries in ASEAN. Through years of heavy investments in the R&D (Research and Development), Thailand adopted innovative technologies, becoming the largest producer of fabrics in the APAC region. Recently, Thai Textile Institute devised the smart fabrics quality mark, for supporting producers in accelerating their competitiveness by ensuring the quality and standards of their product offerings.

With nearly USD 4.6 million in export annually, the country ranks at 7th in the list of largest exporters of silk in Asia. Silk has a very long history in shaping the legacy of the Thai textile industry. Signifying a really authentic Thai fabric, the unprecedented hand-woven process exhibits the beauty of silk that is unique throughout the various regions of Thailand.

Providing a complete value chain, more than 80 percent of the raw materials including yarns and fabrics could be sourced locally, as the country is home to over 2,100 clothing producers. Thailand is well-known for its competitive and highly-proficient workforce and product quality. Most of the well-known global brands, such as Adidas, GAP, and Nike to name a few, outsource their production to Thai industries. Big clothing manufacturing companies, like ICC Co., Ltd., HighTech Apparel Co., Ltd., Nan Yang Textile Co. Ltd., Sahapat Co. Ltd., and Hong Seng Knitting Co. Ltd., continue to rule the Thai market and offer high-quality clothing to the markets all over the world. The key export destinations comprise of the US, Japan, EU, Vietnam, and China.

The country’s home textile products, such as bedding, bathroom textiles, curtains, and carpets, are exported all over the world. What makes Thai home textile products different from other countries are their hand-woven processes and subtle designs, ensuring that the products attain an exceptional quality which is widely recognized globally. In 2016, the country exported more than 121,000 tons of the home textiles valuing over USD 260 million.

Together with their attractive designs, various companies such as TAI PING and PASAYA have established state-of-the-art modernization into their wide array of products, like anti-allergic and flame retardant fabrics, for catering to changes in the customer preferences.

Technical Textiles

The global technical textile market is anticipated to surpass USD 160 billion by the year 2020. For serving this increasing market demand, the country’s textile industry has been considerably enhanced both in terms of its functionalities and variety, providing fabrics with functions which go far beyond home furnishings and clothing. Presently, the country ranks 28th in the list of largest functional textiles exporter in the world. With advanced capacities and innovative technologies, Thai manufacturers offer products with cutting-edge unique properties, ranging from antimicrobial, flame retardant to temperature regulated fabrics.

Protective Textiles

Protective textiles are devised to protect its wearer from severe environmental effects which might result in injuries. The demand for the protective textiles in the country continues to rise year on year and is likely to reach USD 8.4 billion by next year. The flame-resistant suit is among the most common protective uniforms. The country is home to several leading protective textile manufacturers such as Glofab and Insuretex, which serve foreign as well as both local markets.

Sales of protective textile chart

Complete Value Chain

With the complete value chain, the country has approximately 4,700 textile producers, ranging from yarns, fibers, dyeing to clothing. The textile industry in Thailand has developed notably for over 5 decades passing on their knowledge, competencies, and expertise of manufacturers from the previous generations. Together with cutting-edge technologies, the country has become the major exporter and producer of many textile products. For further increasing the productivity and competitiveness, many of the manufacturers are employing the concept of a smart factory, utilizing the computerized systems for increasing efficiencies in their overall production processes. In addition to their robust environmental standards and regulations, the Thai manufacturers are also advancing towards the green production by supplanting recycled raw materials and generating advanced solid waste management plans.

Skilled Workforce

The workforce in Thailand is well-known globally for their incredible craftsmanship. For enhancing its competitiveness, the government of Thailand is working hard for ensuring a robust labor force for their textile industry. Thailand is equipped with well-qualified experts and researchers covering each of the process dealing linked with the textile production. At present, there are around 500,000 workers engaged in this significant sector.

Excellent Logistics and Strategic location

Located in the best spot in Southeast Asia, the country is well-connected to the ASEAN and other several countries in the APAC. Over 640 million consumers across Southeast Asia provide several opportunities for Thai textile industry. Best-in-class infrastructure like Laem Chabang deep-sea port, Suvarnabhumi International Airport, and numerous other trade routes enable the country in connecting with several destination countries. Together with FTAs (Free Trade Agreements) with ASEAN countries, the country is ready for serving the logistics need better.

Investment Incentives

The BOI (Board of Investment) acknowledges the value and significance of their textile industry and provides a wide array of tax and non-tax incentives for the projects which meet national development objectives.

Non-Tax Incentives

Permit for bringing in expatriates

Permit for owning land

Permit for taking or remitting foreign currency abroad

Tax Incentives

Group Eligible Activities Incentives
A1 Create product design and development center Corporate Income Tax Exemption –8 years (no cap) Exemption of Import Duty
A2 Manufacture of technical fibers or functional fibers Corporate Income Tax Exemption –8 years Exemption of Import Duty
A3 Manufacture of functional yarns or functional fibersBleaching, dyeing and finishing, or printing and finishing, or printing


Corporate Income Tax Exemption –5 years Exemption of Import Duty
A4 Manufacture of recycled fibers • Manufacture of other yarns or fabrics** • Manufacture of garments, clothing accessories, and household textiles** • Manufacture of non-woven fabrics or hygienic products made of non-woven fabrics Corporate Income Tax Exemption –3 years Exemption of Import Duty
B1 Manufacture of other fibers or fabrics • Manufacture of other yarns or fabrics*** • Manufacture of garments, clothing accessories, and household textiles*** Exemption of Import Duty

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