Thailand
Mining and industry in Thailand
Thailand
Agriculture

Thailand is not richly endowed in mineral resources. Chief mineral products include lignite (a form of coal), zinc ore, lead concentrates, tin, gypsum, and iron ore. However, supplies of most minerals are insufficient to satisfy the growing domestic demand. An exception is gemstones, which form the basis of an export-oriented jewelry industry.

Manufacturing has led Thailand's economic growth. Manufacturing output grew at 10 percent annually during the 1980s and early 1990s, much faster than the economy as a whole.

As a result, the manufacturing share of GDP rose from 22 percent in 1980 to 35 percent in 2007. While all industries grew, expansion was most rapid among manufacturers of labor-intensive products, such as clothing, footwear, and consumer appliances. Industrial production diversified considerably, spurred by foreign investment, new technologies, and the growth of domestic and export markets. Major industries include food processing, textiles and clothing, electronics, motor vehicles and parts, cement, petroleum, plastics, and chemical products.

Thailand’s rapid growth transformed the services sector.

This sector, which includes housing, restaurant and hotel services, personal services, wholesale and retail trade, and many other related activities, grew very quickly in response to increased demand, especially from the expanding urban population in and around Bangkok. The service share of GDP was 45 percent in 2007. The sector has shifted from low-skilled jobs to formal, high-skilled jobs in banking, finance, management, and trade. Tourism is a major industry within Thailand’s services sector, with 14.5 million tourists visiting the country in 2007. Revenues from tourism make up the largest single component of Thailand’s export earnings. Popular tourist destinations include Bangkok and the country’s beach resorts.

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