LONDON - The Thai paint market is estimated at 415,000 tons in 2005 and is expected to grow by an average of 6% per year to reach 557,300 tons by 2010, according to a recent report by Information Research (IRL).

Government investment is the main driving force behind many sectors of the Thai paint market, not least of which is an ongoing trillion-baht investment program designed to overhaul the country's standard of living through construction and infrastructure upgrades. The large-volume decorative sector has witnessed something of a turn-away from large-scale, state-funded projects in 2005 with the top decorative-paint companies reporting a swing towards the retail side of market and with it a switch from premium to medium and more-economical paints.

Although the automotive OEM sector is widely tipped to be a growth market in the future, with those in the industry expecting growth of 20% per year over the next five years, the largest part of the industrial coatings market lies in heavy-duty coatings as a result of the country's strong petrochemical, food, steel and papermaking industries, which will grow as a result of increased domestic consumption and opportunities in export markets.

The automotive OEM sector, which has long been cultivated by the Thai government as an area for investment and development, has already been successful in attracting Japanese, U.S. and European investment, both within the car industry itself and across the OEM coatings segment. Nippon Paint and Kansai Paint dominate this sector in Thailand, largely because of the success of Japanese carmakers producing vehicles and services that are affordable to the Thai population.

Most of all, compliant technologies stand to make very good growth in Thailand. Although there is currently no legislation to favor the use of water-based coatings or even powder coatings (a 10,000-ton market), the Thai government is already placing a strong emphasis on the protection of the environment and can be expected to look most favorably upon environmentally friendly solutions in the future.

"A Profile of the Thai Paint Industry" (73 pp and 47 tables), which includes a directory of paint companies in Thailand, is now available for purchase from IRL. Contact Terry Knowles at