Steady boost of Chinese and Filipino Expats in Thailand

Thailand’s dominant expatriate nationality is Japanese. Currently Japanese make up 18% of expatriates in Thailand (28,560 as of Q3 2020). However, the Japanese expatriate numbers are decreasing. According to research by leading international property consultant, CBRE, Chinese expatriate numbers are rising. The rise due in part to China shifting some of its manufacturing overseas. The same research also indicates a steady rise in Filipino expatriates as well. The increase is in-line with the demand growth for English teachers in the Kingdom.

Mr. Rathawat Kuvijitrsuwan, Head of CBRE Research and Consulting, Thailand, commented, “Japanese expatriates primarily work in manufacturing, export/retail/automotive, real estate services including leasing, and business services sectors. The decline in the Japanese expatriate population in Thailand is due to high industry maturity where locals can fulfil expatriate jobs competently, relatively high wages, and industrial relocation to neighbouring countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia.”

Thailand saw rapid industrialisation between the mid-1980s until the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997. This led to a surge in the Japanese expatriate population. The surge resulting in Thailand having the fourth largest Japanese population out side of Japan. However, the population decreased by 22% from 36,666 in 2015 to 28,560 as at Q3 2020. 28,560 being the lowest amount since 2012.

The Rise In Filipino and Chinese Expats

According to the Foreign Workers Administration office, the two fastest-growing expat populations are the Filipinos and Chinese. The number of Filipino expatriates on the other hand has increased by 31%. The amount of Chinese expatriates have increased by 38%. The massive increase occuring between 2015 – Q3 2020.

Chinese nationals in Thailand work mainly in manufacturing. To avoid US tariffs, China continues to move its production overseas. ASEAN is the most attractive and closest location for China to move to.

According to the research, Filipino nationals are the second-highest growth. Filipino expats are usually hired as English teachers due to their fluency in English. They also require lower wages than their European, North American or Oceanic counterparts. Their growth is due to strong demand for more international and bilingual schools in Bangkok.

Chinese and Filipino Hotspots

CBRE Research reveals that downtown Bangkok such as Rama IX and Ratchadapisek have become Chinese expatriate hotspots. Amenities such as Chinese-centric restaurants, shops and convenient access to MRT have made these locations attractive to the Chinese expats.

On the other hand, Filipino expats seem to prefer On Nut due to lower rentals. On Nut still affords convenient BTS access as most of the bilingual and international schools are located in upper Sukhumvit. After all, rental gets higher as one travels up the BTS Sukhumvit line from On Nut. Ekkamai, for instance, commands at least 15% higher rental than Phra Kanong despite being only one station apart.

“This means affordable midtown condominiums along mass transit lines with a maximum of two interchanges away from expatriate office hotspots could become increasingly attractive to investors seeking rental properties with expatriate demand as expatriate areas could de-centralised outwards in line with high-growth expatriate nationalities and their respective preferred areas,” Mr Rathawat concluded.

For more information of the report please visit CBRE Thailand.

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