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Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand and formerly known as Siam (Thai: ????; RTGS: Sayam), is a country located at the center ofSoutheast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Burma. HP Pavilion dv5 Adapter

Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast and Indonesia and India in the Andaman Sea to the southwest.

The country is a kingdom, with most recorded reigns in the world;Sony NP-F330 Battery

a constitutional monarchy with King Rama IX, the ninth king of the House of Chakri, who has reigned since 1946, making him the world's longest-serving current head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history. Asus Eee PC 904HA Adapter

The king is officially titled Head of State, the Head of the Armed Forces, an Upholder of the Buddhist religion, and the Defender of all Faiths.Nikon D80  Battery

Thailand is the world's 50th largest country in terms of total area (slightly smaller than Yemen and slightly larger than Spain), with a surface area of approximately 513,000 km2 (198,000 sq mi), and the 21st most-populous country, with approximately 64 million people. Sony PCGA-AC19V9 Adapter

The largest city is Bangkok, the capital, which is also the country's center of political, commercial, industrial and cultural activities. About 75% of the population is ethnically Thai, 14% is ofChinese origin, and 3% is ethnically Malay;[8] the rest belong to minority groups including Mons, Khmers and various hill tribes.Dell T555C battery

The country's official language is Thai. The primary religion is Buddhism, which is practiced by around 95% of all Thais.

Thailand experienced rapid economic growth between 1985 and 1995 and is a newly industrialized country with tourism, due to well-known tourist destinations such as Ayutthaya, Pattaya, Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi, Chiang Mai, and Ko Samui, and exports contributing significantly to the economy.HP Pavilion DV6-3013SL battery

There are approximately 2.2 million legal and illegal migrants in Thailand. Thailand has also attracted a number of expatriates from developed countries.

Etymology

The country's official name was Siam (Thai: ???? RTGS: Sayam, pronounced [sàj??m]) until June 23, 1939, when it was changed to Thailand. HP Pavilion DV7-2085EL battery

It was then renamed Siam from 1945 to May 11, 1949, after which it was again renamed Thailand. Also spelled Siem, Syâm or Syâma, it has been identified with theSanskrit ?yâma (?????, meaning "dark" or "brown"). The names Shan and A-hom seem to be variants of the same word, and ?yâma is possibly not its origin but a learned and artificial distortion.HP Pavilion DV9700 battery

The word Thai (???) is not, as commonly believed, derived from the word Tai (??) meaning "freedom" in the Thai language; it is, however, the name of anethnic group from the central plains (the Thai people). HP Mini 702EA battery

A famous Thai scholar argued that Tai (??) simply means "people" or "human being" since his investigation shows that in some rural areas the word "Tai" was used instead of the usual Thai word "khon" (??) for people.The Thai use the phrase "land of the free" to express pride in the fact that Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia never colonized by a European power. HP Pavilion DV7-1120EO battery

While the Thai people will often refer to their country using the polite form Prathet Thai (Thai: ?????????), they most commonly use the more colloquial word Mueang Thai (Thai: ????????) or simply Thai (Thai: ???); the word mueang (Thai: ?????) meaning nation but most commonly used to refer to a city or town. HP Compaq 491278-001 battery

Ratcha Anachak Thai (Thai: ??????????????) means "Kingdom of Thailand" or "Kingdom of Thai".

Etymologically, its components are: -Ratcha- (from Sanskrit raja, meaning "king, royal, realm") ; -ana- (from P?li ???, "authority, command, power", itself from Sanskrit ?jñ?, same meaning) -chak (from Sanskrit cakra or cakra? meaning "wheel", a symbol of power and rule). HP Pavilion DV6-1030US battery

The Thai National Anthem (Thai:????????), composed and written by Peter Feit during the extremely "patriotic" 1930s, refers to the Thai nation as: prathet-thai (Thai: ?????????). The first line of the national anthem is: prathet thai ruam lueat nuea chat chuea thai(Thai: ??????????????????????????????????)HP Compaq 490306-001 battery

and was translated in 1939 by Colonel Luang Saranuprabhandi as: "Thailand is the unity of Thai blood and body."

History

The region known as Thailand has been inhabited by humans at least since the Paleolithic period, about 40,000 years ago. HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM battery

Similar to other regions in Southeast Asia, it was heavily influenced by the culture and religions of India, starting with thekingdom of Funan around the 1st century CE.

After the fall of the Khmer Empire in the 13th century, various states thrived there, such as the various Tai, Mon, HP EliteBook 2530P battery

Khmer andMalay kingdoms, as seen through the numerous archaeological sites and artifacts that are scattered throughout the Siamese landscape. Prior to the 12th century however, the first Thai or Siamese state is traditionally considered to be theBuddhist kingdom of Sukhothai, which was founded in 1238.HP Pavilion DV4385EA battery

Following the decline and fall of the Khmer empire in the 13th–14th century, the Buddhist Tai kingdoms of Sukhothai,Lanna and Lan Xang (now Laos) were on the ascension. However, a century later, the power of Sukhothai was overshadowed by the new kingdom of Ayutthaya, established in the mid-14th century in the lower Chao Phraya River orMenam area.Compaq PP2100 battery

Ayutthaya's expansion centered along the Menam while in the northern valley the Lanna Kingdom and other small Tai city-states ruled the area. In 1431, the Khmer abandoned Angkor after the Ayutthaya forces invaded the city. Thailand retained a tradition of trade with its neighbouring states, from China to India, Persia and Arab lands. HP Compaq KU532AA battery

Ayutthaya became one of the most vibrant trading centres in Asia. European traders arrived in the 16th century, beginning with the Portuguese, followed by the French, Dutch and English.

After the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767 to the Burmese, King Taksin the Great moved the capital of Thailand to Thonburifor approximately 15 years. HP Pavilion DV6-1270EQ battery

The current Rattanakosin era of Thai history began in 1782, following the establishment of Bangkok as capital of the Chakri dynasty under King Rama I the Great. According to Encyclopædia Britannica, "A quarter to a third of the population of some areas of Thailand and Burma were slaves in the 17th through the 19th centuries." HP Pavilion DV4385EA battery

Despite European pressure, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian nation that has never been colonized.This has been ascribed to the long succession of able rulers in the past four centuries who exploited the rivalry and tension between French Indochina and theBritish Empire. HP Compaq Business  NC4400 battery

As a result, the country remained a buffer state between parts of Southeast Asia that were colonized by the two colonizing powers, Great Britain and France.HP Pavilion ZD8227 battery

Western influence nevertheless led to many reforms in the 19th century and major concessions, most notably being the loss of a large territory on the east side of the Mekong to the French and the step-by-step absorption by Britain of the Malay Peninsula.HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM battery

20th century

The losses initially included Penang and eventually culminated in the loss of four predominantly ethnic-Malay southern provinces, which later becameMalaysia's four northern states, under the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909.Nikon D200 Battery

In 1932, a bloodless revolution carried out by the Khana Ratsadon group of military and civilian officials resulted in a transition of power, when KingPrajadhipok was forced to grant the people of Siam their first constitution, thereby ending centuries of absolute monarchy.Acer PA-1650-02 Adapter

During World War II, the Empire of Japan demanded the right to move troops across Thailand to the Malayan frontier. Japan invaded the country and engaged the Thai Army for six to eight hours before Plaek Pibulsonggram ordered an armistice. Shortly thereafter Japan was granted free passage,Sony CYBER-SHOT DSC-T10  Battery

and on December 21, 1941, Thailand and Japan signed a military alliance with a secret protocol wherein Tokyo agreed to help Thailand regain territories lost to the British and French. Subsequently, Thailand undertook to 'assist' Japan in its war against the Allies,HP Compaq Business 6715b Battery

while at the same time maintaining an active anti-Japanese resistance movement known as the Seri Thai. Approximately 200,000 Asian labourers (mainly romusha) and 60,000 Allied POWs worked on the Thailand–Burma Death Railway.

After the war, Thailand emerged as an ally of the United States. Kodak KLIC-7004 Battery

As with many of the developing nations during the Cold War, Thailand then went through decades of political instability characterised by coups d'état as one military regime replaced another, but eventually progressed towards a stable prosperity and democracy in the 1980s.Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

The Southern region

Thailand controlled the Malay Peninsula as far as Malacca in the 1400s and held much of the peninsula for the next few centuries, including Tumasek (Singapore) some of the Andaman Islands and a colony on Java, but eventually failed when the British used force to guarantee their suzerainty over the sultanate.Canon Digital IXUS 90 IS Battery

All the states of the Malay Sultanate presented annual gifts to the Thai king in the form of a golden flower, which understood the gesture to be tribute and an acknowledgement of vassalage. The British intervened in the Malay State and with the Anglo-Siamese Treaty tried to build a railway from the south to Bangkok.HP 2133 Mini-Note PC Adapter

Thailand relinquished sovereignty over what are now the northern Malay provinces of Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Terengganu to the British. Satun and Pattani provinces were given to Thailand. The Malay peninsula provinces were infiltrated by the Japanese during World War II,Toshiba PA3536U-1BRS Battery

and by the Malayan Communist Party (CPM) from 1942 to 2008, when they decided to sue for peace with the Malaysian and Thai governments after the CPM lost its support from Vietnam and China subsequent to the Cultural Revolution.HP Compaq Business NX6110 Battery

Recent insurgent uprisings may be a continuation of separatist fighting which started after World War II with Sukarno's support for the PULO, and the intensification. Most victims since the uprisings have been Buddhist and Muslim bystanders.HP Pavilion DV9000 Adapter

Politics and government

The politics of Thailand are currently conducted within the framework of a constitutional monarchy, whereby thePrime Minister is the head of government and a hereditary monarch is head of state. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislative branches.Dell Studio 1537 battery

History

Since the political reform of the absolute monarchy in 1932, Thailand has had 17 constitutions and charters. Throughout this time, the form of government has ranged from military dictatorship to electoral democracy, but all governments have acknowledged a hereditary monarch as the head of state.HP PPP009H Adapter

28 June 1932

Prior to 1932, the Kingdom of Siam did not possess a legislature, as all legislative powers were vested within the person of the monarch. Sony VGP-BPS8 Battery

This has been the case since the foundation of the Sukhothai Kingdom in the 12th century: as the king was seen as a "Dharmaraja" or "King who rules in accordance withDharma" (the Buddhist law of righteousness). However on 24 June 1932 a group of civilians and military officers, calling themselves the Khana RatsadonDell PA-12 Adapter

(or People's Party) carried out a bloodless revolution, in which the 150 years of absolute rule of the House of Chakri was ended. In its stead the group advocated a constitutional form of monarchy with an elected legislature.Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T7/B  Battery

The "Draft Constitution" of 1932 signed by King Prajadhipok, created Thailand's first legislature, a People's Assembly with 70 appointed members. The assembly met for the first time on 28 June 1932, in the Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall. The Khana Ratsadon decided that the people were not yet ready for an elected assembly;Dell LATITUDE M65 Battery

however they later changed their minds. By the time the "permanent" constitution came into force in December of that year, elections were scheduled for 15 November 1933. The new constitution also changed the composition of the assembly to 78 directly elected and 78 appointed (by the Khana Ratsadon) together compromising 156 members. HP Compaq 6720s Adapter

1933 to 1997

For events subsequent to the abdication of the king, including the name change of 1939, up to the coup d'état of 1957, see Plaek Pibulsonggram. For additional history to 1997, refer to his successors in the List of Prime Ministers of Thailand.Acer AS07B41 Battery

1997 to 2006

The 1997 Constitution was the first constitution to be drafted by popularly elected Constitutional Drafting Assembly, and was popularly called the "People's Constitution".The 1997 Constitution created a bicameral legislature consisting of a 500-seat House of RepresentativesDell Vostro 1310 Battery

and a 200-seat Senate (???????, wuthisapha). For the first time in Thai history, both houses were directly elected.

Many human rights are explicitly acknowledged, and measures were established to increase the stability of elected governments. HP Compaq Business 6910p Battery

The House was elected by the first past the post system, where only one candidate with a simple majority could be elected in one constituency. The Senate was elected based on the province system, where one province can return more than one senator depending on its population size.Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ4S Battery

The two houses of the National Assembly have two different terms. In accordance with the constitution the Senate is elected to a six year term, while the House is elected to a four year term. Overall the term of the National Assembly is based on that of the House. The National Assembly each year will sit in two sessions an "ordinary session" and a "legislative session". Dell PA-12 Adapter

The first session of the National Assembly must take place within thirty days after the general election of the House of Representatives. The first session must be opened by the king in person by reading a Speech from the Throne; this ceremony is held in the Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall.Sony NP-FH100 Battery

He may also appoint the crown prince or a representative to carry out this duty. It is also the duty of the king to prologue sessions through a Royal Decree when the House term expires. The king also has the prerogative to call extraordinary sessions and prolong sessions at his discretion.Toshiba Equium M50-192 Battery

The National Assembly may host a "Joint-sitting" of both Houses under several circumstances. These include: The appointment of a regent, any alteration to the 1924 Palace Law of Succession, the opening of the first session, the announcement of policies by the Cabinet of Thailand, Apple MacBook Pro Battery

the approval of the declaration of war, the hearing of explanations and approval of a treaty and the amendment of the Constitution.

Members of the House of Representatives served four-year terms, while senators served six-year terms. Apple PowerBook G4 Battery

The 1997 People's Constitution also promoted human rights more than any other constitutions. The court system (???, saan) included a constitutional court with jurisdiction over the constitutionality of parliamentary acts, royal decrees, and political matters.Acer BATBL50L6 Battery

The January 2001 general election, the first election under the 1997 Constitution, was called the most open, corruption-free election in Thai history.  The subsequent government was the first in Thai history to complete a four-year term. The 2005 election had the highest voter turnout in Thai history.Canon EOS 450D Battery

Despite efforts to clean up the system, vote buying and electoral violence remained problems of electoral quality in 2005.

The PollWatch Foundation, Thailand's most prominent election watchdog, declared that vote buying in this election, specifically in the North and the Northeast, was more serious than in the 2001 election. Acer Travelmate 2400 Battery

The organization also accused the government of violating the election law by abusing state power in presenting new projects in a bid to seek votes.

2006 coup d'état

Without meeting much resistance, a military junta overthrew the interim government of Thaksin Shinawatra on 19 September 2006.Dell Inspiron 1525 Adapter

The junta abrogated the constitution, dissolved Parliament and the Constitutional Court, detained and later removed several members of the government, declared martial law, and appointed one of the king's Privy Counselors, General Surayud Chulanont, as the Prime Minister. Compaq Presario 2100 Adapter

The junta later wrote a highly abbreviated interim constitution and appointed a panel to draft a permanent constitution. The junta also appointed a 250-member legislature, called by some critics a "chamber of generals" while others claimed that it lacks representatives from the poor majority. Acer Aspire 1362 Battery

In this interim constitution draft, the head of the junta was allowed to remove the prime minister at any time. The legislature was not allowed to hold a vote of confidence against the cabinet and the public was not allowed to file comments on bills. This interim constitution was later surpassed by the permanent constitution on 24 August 2007.Toshiba Equium M50-192 Battery

Martial law was partially revoked in January 2007. The ban on political activities was lifted in July 2007, following the 30 May dissolution of the Thai Rak Thai party. The new constitution was approved by referendum on 19 August, which led to a return to democratic elections on 23 December 2007.Dell XPS M1330 Battery

Political crisis

The People's Power Party (Thailand), led by Samak Sundaravej formed a government with five smaller parties. Following several court rulings against him in a variety of scandals, and surviving a vote of no confidence, and protesters blockading government buildings and airports, Acer Travelmate 2200 Adapter

in September 2008, Sundaravej was found guilty of conflict of interest by the Constitutional Court of Thailand (due to being a host in a TV cooking program),  and thus, ended his term in office.

He was replaced by PPP member Somchai Wongsawat. HP Compaq 6735b Adapter

As of October 2008, Wongsawat was unable to gain access to his offices, which were occupied by protesters from the People's Alliance for Democracy. On December 2, 2008, Thailand's Constitutional Court in a highly controversial ruling found the Peoples Power Party guilty of electoral fraud, which led to the dissolution of the party according to the law. Dell Vostro 1000 Battery

It was later alleged in media reports that at least one member of the judiciary had a telephone conversation with officials working for the Office of the Privy Council and one other. The phone call was taped and has since circulated on the Internet. In it, the callers discuss finding a way to ensure the ruling PPP party would be disbanded.HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

Accusations of judicial interference were levelled in the media but the recorded call was dismissed as a hoax. However, in June 2010, supporters of the eventually disbanded PPP were charged with tapping a judge's phone.Asus f82 battery

Immediately following what many media described as a "judicial coup", a senior member of the Armed Forces met with factions of the governing coalition to get their members to join the opposition and the Democrat Party was able to form a government, a first for the party since 2001. Dell XPS M1330 Battery

The leader of the Democrat party, and former leader of the opposition, Abhisit Vejjajiva was appointed and sworn-in as the 27th Prime Minister, together with the new cabinet on 17 December 2008.

Thailand remains an active member of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations).HP Compaq Business 6910p Battery

As of April 2010, a set of new violent protests by the Red Shirt opposition movement, possibly backed financially by fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, have resulted in 87 deaths (mostly civilian and some military) and 1,378 injured.Compaq PRESARIO R3000 Battery

When the army tried to disperse the protesters on April 10, 2010, the army was met with automatic gunfire, grenades, and fire bombs from the opposition faction in the army, known as the "watermelon". This resulted in the army returning fire with rubber bullets and some live ammunition.HP Compaq Business NX6110 Battery

During the time of the "red shirt" protests against the government, there have been numerous grenade and bomb attacks against government offices and the homes of government officials. Grenades were fired at protesters, that were protesting against the "red shirts" and for the government,Dell Latitude D610 Adapter

by unknown gunmen killing one pro-government protester, the government stated that the Red Shirts protesters were firing the weapons at civilians.

Administrative divisions

Thailand is divided into 76 provinces (???????, changwat), which are gathered into 5 groups of provinces by location. Asus Eee PC 701 Adapter

There are also 2 special governed districts: the capital Bangkok (Krung Thep Maha Nakhon) and Pattaya, of which Bangkok is at provincial level and thus often counted as a province.

Each province is divided into districts and the districts are further divided into sub-districts (tambons).HP Compaq Business NX6325 Battery

As of 2006 there are 877 districts (?????, amphoe) and the 50 districts of Bangkok (???, khet). Some parts of the provinces bordering Bangkok are also referred to as Greater Bangkok (???????, pari monthon). These provinces include Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathomand Samut Sakhon.  Dell Studio XPS 16 battery

Foreign relations

The foreign relations of Thailand are handled by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand.

Thailand participates fully in international and regional organizations. It is a Major non-NATO ally and Priority Watch List Special 301 Report of the United States.Acer Aspire 5520 Battery

Thailand has developed increasingly close ties with other ASEAN members—Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, and Vietnam—whose foreign and economic ministers hold annual meetings. Regional cooperation is progressing in economic, trade, banking, political, and cultural matters. Acer TravelMate 5720 Adapter

In 2003, Thailand served as APEC host. Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, currently serves as Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). In 2005 Thailand attended the inaugural East Asia Summit.HP Compaq 6735s Adapter

In recent years, Thailand has taken an increasingly active role on the international stage. When East Timor gained independence from Indonesia, Thailand, for the first time in its history, contributed troops to the international peacekeeping effort. Its troops remain there today as part of a UN peacekeeping force.Dell XPS M1330 Battery

As part of its effort to increase international ties, Thailand has reached out to such regional organizations as the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Thailand has contributed troops to reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.HP Compaq nc6230 Adapter

Thaksin initiated negotiations for several free trade agreements with China, Australia, Bahrain, India, and the US. The latter especially was criticized, with claims that high-cost Thai industries could be wiped out.

Thailand joined the US-led invasion of Iraq, sending a 423-strong humanitarian contingent. Dell T117C battery

It withdrew its troops on 10 September 2004. Two Thai soldiers died in Iraq in an insurgent attack.

Thaksin announced that Thailand would forsake foreign aid, and work with donor countries to assist in the development of neighbors in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. Asus x5dij-sx039c battery

Thaksin was criticized for acting undiplomatically with foreign leaders and the international community and there were allegations of gaffes at international meetings.

Thaksin was ambitious to position Thailand as a regional leader, initiating various development projects in poorer neighbouring countries like Laos. More controversially, he established close, friendly ties with the Burmese dictatorship, including extending the impoverished country a 4 billion baht credit line so it could conclude a satellite telecom deal with his family business.Dell Inspiron 1464 battery

Thaksin energetically supported his former foreign minister Surakiart Sathirathai's somewhat improbable campaign to become UN Secretary General.

Abhisit appointed Peoples Alliance for Democracy leader Kasit Piromya as Foreign Minister. HP Compaq 6720s Adapter

Prior to his appointment, Kasit had led anti-Cambodia protests and called Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen a "gangster minded (???????? jai-nak-leng)" (he later claimed the word he used actually meant "a person who is lionhearted, a courageous and magnanimous gentleman").Dell Latitude D630 Adapter

In April 2009, "large-scale fighting" erupted between Thai and Cambodian troops amid the 900-year-old ruins of the Preah Vihear Hindu temple near the Cambodian border. The Cambodian government claimed its army had killed at least four Thais and captured 10 more, although the Thai government denied that any Thai soldiers were killed or injured. HP Pavilion dm4 battery

Two Cambodian soldiers were killed and three Thai soldiers were killed. Both armies blamed the other for firing first and denied entering the other's territory.

Today the Royal Thai Armed Forces comprises about 1,025,640 personnel. Sony NP-FS11 Battery

The Head of the Thai Armed Forces (?????????: Chomthap Thai) is His MajestyKing Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), however this position is only nominal. The Armed Forces is managed by the Ministry of Defence of Thailand, which is headed by the Minister of Defence Dell Inspiron 1520 Adapter

(a member of the Cabinet of Thailand) and commanded by the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, which in turn is headed by the Chief of Defence Forces of Thailand.

According to the Constitution of the Kingdom, serving in the Armed Forces is a duty of all Thai citizens.Toshiba PA3399U-1BRS Battery

However only males over the age of 21, who have not gone through reserve training of the Army Reserve Force Students are given the option of whether they want to volunteer for the armed forces, or pick the random draft. The candidates are subjected to varying lengths of training from 6 months to 2 years of fulltime service depending on their education,Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

whether they have partially completed the reserve training course, and whether they volunteered prior to the drafting date (usually April 1 every year).

Candidates with a recognized bachelor's degree will be subjected to 1 year of full-time service if they picked the random draft, or 6 months if they volunteer at their respective district office (Sasadee).Acer Aspire 5920 Battery

Likewise, the training length is also reduced for those who have partially completed the 3-year reserve training course (Ror Dor). A person who completed 1 year out of 3 will only have to serve full-time for 1 year. Those completed 2 years of reserve training will only have to do 6 months of full-time training.IBM Thinkpad T40 Adapter

While those who complete 3 years or more of reserve training will be exempted.

The Royal Thai Armed Forces Day is celebrated on January 18 to commemorate the victory of King Naresuan the Great in battle against the Crown Prince of Burmain 1593.Nikon COOLPIX 4300 Battery

Education

Thailand enjoys a high level of literacy, and education is provided by a well-organized school system of kindergartens, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary schools, numerous vocational colleges, and universities. Apple MB771 battery

The private sector of education is well developed and significantly contributes to the overall provision of education which the government would not be able to meet through the public establishments. Education is compulsory up to and including age group 14, and the government provides free education through to age group 17.Sony DSC-P5 Battery

Thailand has never been colonized, and its teaching relies heavily on rote rather than on student-centred methodology. Education in a modern sense is therefore relatively recent and still needs to overcome some major cultural hurdles to ensure further development and improvement to its standards.Dell Inspiron 6400 Adapter

The establishment of reliable and coherent curricula for its primary and secondary schools is subject to such rapid changes that schools and their teachers are not always sure what they are supposed to be teaching, and authors and publishers of textbooks are unable to write and print new editions quickly enough to keep up with the volatile situation.Toshiba PA3534U-1BRS Battery

The issue concerning university entrance has therefore also been in constant upheaval for a number of years. Nevertheless, education has seen its greatest progress in the years since 2001. Most of the present generation of students are computer literate, and knowledge of English is on the increase at least in quantity if not in quality.Sony NP-FP50 Battery

There has been concern in recent years regarding the low IQ scores of many Thai youth. A study in the Nation newspaper reported that the "Department of Health and the Department of Mental Health will (make) an effort to combat low intelligence, after it found the average IQ level among many youths was lower than 80."HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

In 2006, the Vice Minister for Education Watchara Phanchet reported that "the average intelligence quotient (IQ) of Thai children, somewhere between 87 and 88 points, remains in the "low average" category when ranked internationally. Further, with the exception of the well-educated wealthy class, the level of English speaking remains quite low.Dell Latitude D820 Adapter

Science and technology

The National Science and Technology Development Agency is an agency of the government of Thailand which supports research in science and technology and their application in the Thai economy.Toshiba PA3399U-1BRS Battery

From the agency's website:

The National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) reflects the Thai government's deep commitment to apply scientific and technological capabilities to promote and sustain the nation's economic,Dell Studio XPS 1640 Battery

social development and growth through the promotion of linkage and collaboration between the public and private sectors. Since its inception in 1991, NSTDA has grown into an active organization with a diverse program focusing on cutting-edge S&T research, design, development and engineering. Dell Latitude D830 Battery

NSTDA offers a full potential and opportunity for cooperative challenges and investment. Through such a convergence, the organization brings a layered, multi-faceted approach to the scholarly and most practical description of scientific and Dell Inspiron E1505 Adapter

technological discoveries and advancement to serve national needs and maintain a sustained linkage with the international community.

The Synchrotron Light Research Institute (SLRI) is a Thai research institution on physics, chemistry, material science and life sciences. Asus Eee PC 1201PN battery

It is located on the Suranaree University of Technology Campus (SUT), in Nakhorn Ratchaseema, about 300 km north east of Bangkok. The Institute, financed by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), houses the only large scale synchrotron in South East Asia. Dell PA-12 Adapter

It was originally built as the SORTEC synchrotron in Japan and later moved to Thailand and modified for 1.2 GeV operation. It provides users with regularly scheduled light.

Geography

Totaling 513,120 square kilometres (198,120 sq mi), Thailand is the world's 50th largest country in land mass, while it is the world's 20th largest country in terms of population.Asus Eee PC 701 Adapter

It is comparable in population to countries such as France and the United Kingdom, and is similar in land size to France and California in the United States. The local climate is tropical and characterized by monsoons. There is a rainy, warm, and cloudy southwest monsoon from mid-May to September, as well as a dry, cool northeast monsoon from November to mid-March. Dell XPS M1330 Battery

The southern isthmus is always hot and humid.

Thailand is home to several distinct geographic regions, partly corresponding to the provincial groups. The north of the country is mountainous, with the highest point being Doi Inthanon at 2,565 metres (8,415 ft) above sea level. fujifilm np95 battery

The northeast, Isan, consists of the Khorat Plateau, bordered to the east by the Mekong River. The centre of the country is dominated by the predominantly flat Chao Phraya river valley, which runs into the Gulf of Thailand. The south consists of the narrow Kra Isthmus that widens into the Malay Peninsula.Asus Eee PC 900 Adapter

Politically, there are six geographical regions which differ from the others in population, basic resources, natural features, and level of social and economic development. The diversity of the regions is the most pronounced attribute of Thailand's physical setting.Sony VAIO PCG-713 Battery

The Chao Phraya and the Mekong River are the sustainable resource of rural Thailand. Industrial scale production of crops use both rivers and their tributaries. TheGulf of Thailand covers 320,000 square kilometres (124,000 sq mi) and is fed by the Chao Phraya, Mae Klong, Bang Pakong and Tapi Rivers.Dell Latitude D830 Adapter

It contributes to the tourism sector owing to its clear shallow waters along the coasts in the Southern Region and the Kra Isthmus. The Gulf of Thailand is also an industrial center of Thailand with the kingdom's main port in Sattahip along with being the entry gates for Bangkok's Inland Seaport. Dell Studio XPS 1640 battery

The Andaman Sea is regarded as Thailand's most precious natural resource as it hosts the most popular and luxurious resorts in Asia. Phuket, Krabi, Ranong, Phang Nga and Trang and their lush islands all lay along the coasts of the Andaman Sea and despite the 2004 Tsunami, they continue to be and ever more so, the playground of the rich and elite of Asia and the world.Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ4S  Battery

Plans have resurfaced of a logistical connection of the two bodies of water which would be coined the Thai Canal, analogous to the Suez and the Panama Canal. Such an idea has been greeted with positive accounts by Thai politicians as it would cut fees charged by the Ports of Singapore, HP Compaq Business NX6320 Battery

improve ties with China and India, lower shipping times and increase ship safety owing to pirate fears in the Strait of Melaka and, support the Thai government's policy of being the logistical hub for Southeast Asia. The ports would improve economic conditions in the south of Thailand,Canon POWERSHOT G2 Battery

which relies heavily on tourism income, and it would also change the structure of the Thai economy moving it closer to a services center of Asia. The canal would be a major engineering project and has expected costs of 20–30 billion dollars.Dell Latitude E6500 battery

Economy

Thailand is an emerging economy and considered as a newly industrialized country. After enjoying the world's highest growth rate from 1985 to 1996 – averaging 9.4% annually – increased pressure on Thailand's currency, the baht, in 1997,Dell LATITUDE D630 Battery

the year in which the economy contracted by 1.9% led to a crisis that uncovered financial sector weaknesses and forced the Chavalit Yongchaiyudh administration to float the currency, however, Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh was forced to resign after his cabinet came under fire for its slow response to the crisis. Asus R33030 Adapter

The baht was pegged at 25 to the US dollar from 1978 to 1997, however, the baht reached its lowest point of 56 to the US dollar in January 1998 and the economy contracted by 10.8% that year. This collapse prompted the Asian financial crisis.Dell Mini 1011 battery

Thailand's economy started to recover in 1999, expanding 4.2% and 4.4% in 2000, thanks largely to strong exports. Growth (2.2%) was dampened by the softening of the global economy in 2001, but picked up in the subsequent years owing to strong growth in Asia,toshiba pa3332u-1brs battery

a relatively weak baht encouraging exports and increasing domestic spending as a result of several mega projects and incentives of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, known as Thaksinomics. Growth in 2002, 2003 and 2004 was 5–7% annually. Growth in 2005, 2006 and 2007 hovered around 4–5%.HP Compaq 6710b Adapter

Due both to the weakening of the US dollar and an increasingly strong Thai currency, by March 2008, the dollar was hovering around the 33 baht mark.

Thailand exports an increasing value of over $105 billion worth of goods and services annually.HP Compaq nx6325 Adapter

Major exports include Thai rice, textiles and footwear, fishery products, rubber, jewellery, cars, computers and electrical appliances. Thailand is the world's no.1 exporter of rice, exporting more than 6.5 million tons of milled rice annually. Rice is the most important crop in the country. Acer Aspire 5720 Adapter

Thailand has the highest percentage of arable land, 27.25%, of any nation in the Greater Mekong Subregion. About 55% of the arable land area is used for rice production.

Substantial industries include electric appliances, components, computer parts and cars, while tourism in Thailand makes up about 6% of the economy. Toshiba Equium A110-252 Battery

Prostitution in Thailand and sex tourism also form a de facto part of the economy. Cultural milieu combined with poverty and the lure of money have caused prostitution and sex tourism in particular to flourish in Thailand. One estimate published in 2003 placed the trade at US$4.3 billion per year or about three percent of the Thai economy.Acer Aspire 5052ANWXMi Battery

According to research by Chulalongkorn University on the Thai illegal economy, prostitution in Thailand in the period between 1993 and 1995, made up around 2.7% of the GDP. It is believed that at least 10% of tourist dollars are spent on the sex trade. Dell Mini 1011v battery

The economy of Thailand is an emerging economy which is heavily export-dependent, with exports accounting for more than two thirds of gross domestic product (GDP) The exchange rate is Baht 33.00/USD.

Thailand has a GDP worth 8.5 trillion Baht (on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis), or US$627 billion (PPP). HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

This classifies Thailand as the 2nd largest economy in Southeast Asia after Indonesia. Despite this, Thailand ranks midway in the wealth spread in Southeast Asia as it is the 4th richest nation according to GDP per capita, after Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia.Dell Vostro 1510 Battery

It functions as an anchor economy for the neighboring developing economies of Laos, Burma, and Cambodia. Thailand's recovery from the 1997–1998 Asian financial crisis depended mainly on exports, among various other factors. Thailand ranks high among the world's automotive export industries along with

manufacturing of electronic goods.Toshiba PA3534U-1BRS Battery

Between 1997 and 2010, 4'306 mergers & acquisitions with a total known value of 81 bil. USD with the involvement of Thai firms have been announced.The year 2010 was a new record in terms of value with 12 bil. USD of transactions. The largest transaction with involvement of Thai companies has been:Asus M50 battery

PTT Chemical PCL merged with PTT Aromatics and Refining PCL valued at 3.8 bil. USD in 2011.

49% of Thailand's labor force is employed in agriculture, however this is less than the 70% employed in 1980. Asus Eee PC 901 Battery

Agriculture has been experiencing a transition from labour intensive and transitional methods into a more industrialised and competitive sector. Between 1962 and 1983, the agricultural sector grew by 4.1% on average a year and continued to grow at 2.2% between 1983 and 2007.Dell Inspiron 6400 Battery

However, the relative contribution of agriculture to GDP has declined while exports of goods and services have increased.

Tourism revenues are on the rise. With the instability surrounding the recent coup and the military rule, however, the GDP growth of .HP Compaq Business NC6220 Battery

Thailand has settled at around 4-5% from previous highs of 5-7% under the previous civilian administration, as investor and consumer confidence has been degraded somewhat due to political uncertainty.

The incumbent elected civilian administration under Samak Sundaravej in power from Sony VGP-BPS9 battery

January 29 to September 9, 2008 stated that the economy will have grown by 5.5% to 6% by the end of 2008. Due to rising oil and food prices, the annual inflation rate for 2008 shot up to 9.2% in July; a 10-year high, but it will unlikely reach double digit rates later this year as oil and food prices are stabilizing.Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

Thailand generally uses the metric system but traditional units of measurement for land area are used, and imperial measure (feet, inches etc.) are occasionally used with building materials such as wood and plumbing sizes. Years are numbered as B.E. HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

(Buddhist Era) in education, the civil service, government, and on contracts and newspaper datelines; in banking, however, and increasingly in industry and commerce, standard Western year (Christian or Common Era) counting prevails. HP Compaq 2510p Adapter

Language

The official language of Thailand is Thai, a Kradai language closely related to Lao, Shan in Burma, and numerous smaller languages spoken in an arc from Hainan and Yunnan south to the Chinese border. It is the principal language of education and government and spoken throughout the country. Dell Studio PP39L battery

The standard is based on the dialect of the central Thai people, and it is written in the Thai alphabet, an abugida script that evolved from the Khmer script. Several other dialects exist, and coincide with the regional designations. Southern Thai is spoken in the southern provinces,Nikon COOLPIX 5700  Battery

and Northern Thai is spoken in the provinces that were formally part of the independent kingdom of Lannathai.

Thailand is also host to several other minority languages, the largest of which is the Lao dialect of Isan spoken in the northeastern provinces. Dell Studio XPS 16 battery

Although sometimes considered a Thai dialect, it is a Lao dialect, and the region in where it is traditionally spoken was historically part of the Lao kingdom of Lan Xang. In the far south, Yawi, a dialect of Malay, is the primary language of the Malay Muslims.Chinese dialects are also spoken by the large Chinese population, Teochew being the dialect best represented.HP Compaq nx7400 Adapter

Numerous tribal languages are also spoken, including those belonging to the Mon-Khmer family, such as Mon, Khmer, Viet, Mlabri; Austronesian family, such as Cham, Moken, and Orang Asli, Sino-Tibetan family such as Lawa, Akhan, and Karen; HP Pavilion DV6500 Adapter

and other Tai languages such as Nyaw, Phu Thai, and Saek. Hmong is a member of the Hmong-Mien languages, which is now regarded as a language family of its own.

English is a mandatory school subject, but the number of fluent speakers remains very low, especially outside the cities.Dell T117C battery

Religion

Thailand has a prevalence of Buddhism that ranks among the highest in the world. The national religion is Theravada Buddhism. According to the last census (2000) 94.6% of the total population are Buddhists of the Theravada tradition. Muslims are the second largest religious group in Thailand at 4.6%.Acer PA-1650-02 Adapter

Thailand's southernmost provinces – Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and part of Songkhla Chumphon have dominant Muslim populations, consisting of both ethnic Thai and Malay. The southern tip of Thailand is mostly ethnically Malay, and most Malays are Sunni Muslims. Christiansrepresent 0.5% of the population.Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

A tiny but influential community of Sikhs in Thailand and some Hindus also live in the country's cities, and are heavily engaged in retail commerce. There is also a small Jewish community in Thailand, dating back to the 17th century.

Culture

Thai culture has been shaped by many influences, including Indian, Lao, Burmese, Cambodian, and Chinese.Asus S1 Adapter

Its traditions incorporate a great deal of influence from India, China, Cambodia, and the rest of Southeast Asia. Thailand's national religion Theravada Buddhism is important to modern Thai identity. Thai Buddhism has evolved over time to include many regional beliefs originating from Hinduism, animism as well as ancestor worship. HP Pavilion dv6000 Battery

The official calendar in Thailand is based on the Eastern version of the Buddhist Era, which is 543 years ahead of the Gregorian (western) calendar. For example, the year AD 2011 is 2554 BE in Thailand.

Several different ethnic groups, many of which are marginalized, populate Thailand.Ibm Thinkpad T30 Battery

Some of these groups overlap into Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysiaand have mediated change between their traditional local culture, national Thai and global cultural influences. Overseas Chinese also form a significant part of Thai society, particularly in and around Bangkok.Dell Studio PP39L battery

Their successful integration into Thai society has allowed for this group to hold positions of economic and political power.

The traditional Thai greeting, the wai, is generally offered first by the younger of the two people meeting, with their hands pressed together, HP Pavilion dv5 Adapter

fingertips pointing upwards as the head is bowed to touch their face to the hands, usually coinciding with the spoken word "Sawasdee khrap" for male speakers, and "Sawasdee ka" for females. The elder then is to respond afterwards in the same way. Social status and position, such as in government, will also have an influence on who performs the wai first. HP Compaq Business NC6400 Battery

For example, although one may be considerably older than a provincial governor, when meeting it is usually the visitor who pays respect first. When children leave to go to school, they are taught to wai to their parents to represent their respect for them. They do the same when they come back. HP Compaq 490306-001 battery

The wai is a sign of respect and reverence for another, similar to the namaste greeting of India and Nepal.

Muay Thai, or Thai boxing, is the national sport in Thailand and its native martial art call "Muay". In the past "Muay" was taught to royal soldiers for combat on battlefield if unarmed. Compaq Presario CQ35-100 battery

After they retired from the army, these soldiers often became Buddhist monks and stayed at the temples. Most of the Thai people's lives are closely tied to Buddhism and temples; they often send their sons to be educated with the monks. "Muay" is also one of the subjects taught in the temples.HP Compaq HSTNN-LB51 battery

Muay Thai achieved popularity all over the world in the 1990s. Although similar martial arts styles exist in other Southeast Asian countries, few enjoy the recognition that Muay Thai has received with its full-contact rules allowing strikes including elbows, throws and knees.HP Pavilion ZE4500 battery

Association football, however, has possibly overtaken Muay Thai's position as most widely viewed and liked sport in contemporary Thai society and it is not uncommon to see Thais cheering their favourite English Premier League teams on television and walking around in replica kits. HP G62-100EB battery

Another widely enjoyed pastime, and once a competitive sport, is kite flying.

Thai cuisine blends five fundamental tastes: sweet, spicy, sour, bitter and salty. Some common ingredients used in Thai cuisine include garlic, chillies, lime juice, lemon grass, and fish sauce. HP Pavilion DV6-1211AX battery

The staple food in Thailand is rice, particularly jasmine variety rice (also known as Hom Mali rice) which is included in almost every meal. Thailand is the world's largest exporter of rice, and Thais domestically consume over 100 kg of milled rice per person per year.HP Pavilion DV6-1220SO battery

Over 5000 varieties of rice from Thailand are preserved in the rice gene bank of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), based in the Philippines. The king of Thailand is the official patron of IRRI.

Like most Asian cultures, respect towards ancestors is an essential part of Thai spiritual practice. HP EliteBook 6930P battery

Thais have a strong sense of hospitality and generosity, but also a strong sense of social hierarchy. Seniority is an important concept in Thai culture. Elders have by tradition ruled in family decisions or ceremonies. Older siblings have duties to younger ones.HP Pavilion DV6-1210SA battery

Taboos in Thailand include touching someone's head or pointing with the feet, as the head is considered the most sacred and the foot the dirtiest part of the body.Thai society has been influenced in recent years by its widely available multi-language press and media.Compaq Presario CQ71 battery

There are some English and numerous Thai and Chinese newspapers in circulation; most Thai popular magazines use English headlines as a chic glamor factor. Many large businesses in Bangkok operate in English as well as other languages.HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO battery

Thailand is the largest newspaper market in Southeast Asia with an estimated circulation of at least 13 million copies daily in 2003. Even upcountry, out of Bangkok, media flourishes. For example, according to Thailand's Public Relations Department Media Directory 2003-2004, the nineteen provinces of Isan, HP G6000 battery

Thailand's northeastern region, hosted 116 newspapers along with radio, TV and cable.

Thai boxing

Muay Thai  is a form of hard martial art practiced in large parts of the world, including Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries.HP HDX X18-1005EA battery

The art is similar to others in Southeast Asia such as: Pradal Serey in Cambodia, Lethwei in Burma, Tomoi in Malaysia, and Muay Lao in Laos. Muay Thai has a long history in Thailand and is the country's national sport.

Pone Kingpetch was a Thai boxer, from Hua Hin, who defeated Pascal Perez, HP Pavilion DV6-3013SL battery

an Argentinean boxer to become the first Thai WBC Flyweight Champion on 16 April 1960 and later a 3 time WBC Flyweight Champion. Pone Kingpetch originally known as Mana Sidokbuab, assumed this name from his training camp; Kingpetch. Thai fighters traditionally take on the name of the camps they train for. HP Compaq HSTNN-IB62 battery

That owner of the gym and head coach's, Thongtos Intratat is present in these pictures. Thongtos Intratat is also known for being the first person to officially formulate and bottle Namman Muay (Thai Liniment) which is desired for his fighter, Pone Kingpetch. Namman Muay (Thai Liniment) is still only produced by his direct descendants in Thailand.HP Pavilion DV6100 battery

Traditional Muay Thai practiced today varies significantly from the ancient art Muay Boran and uses kicks, punches and knee and elbow strikes in a ring with gloves similar to those used in Western boxing and this has led to Thailand gaining medals at the Olympic Games in Boxing.HP EliteBook 2730P battery

Sepak Takraw Takraw (Thai: ??????) is a sport native to Thailand, which the players hit a rattan ball and only be allowed to use their feet, knees, chest and head to touch the ball. Sepak Takraw is a form of this sport which appears in volley ball style, the players must volley a ball over a net and force it to hit the ground on oppnent's side. HP Pavilion DV9000 battery

It is a popular in other countries in Southeast Asia also. A rather similar game but played only with the feet is Buka ball.

Rugby Rugby is also a growing sport in Thailand with the Thailand national rugby union team rising to be ranked 61st in the world.HP Pavilion DV7 battery

Thailand became the first country in the world to host an international 80 kg welterweight rugby tournament in 2005. The national domestic Thailand Rugby Union (TRU) competition includes several universities and services teams such as Chulalongkorn University, Mahasarakham University, Kasetsart University,HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO battery

Prince of Songkla University, Thammasat University, Rangsit University, the Thai Police, the Thai Army, the Thai Navy and the Royal Thai Air Force. Local sports clubs which also compete in the TRU include the British Club of Bangkok, the Southerners Sports Club (Bangkok) and the Royal Bangkok Sports Club.HP Compaq Business 6735S battery

Golf

Thailand has been called the Golf Capital of Asia  as it is a popular destination for golf. The country attracts a large number of golfers from Japan, Korea, Singapore, South Africa and Western countries who come to play golf in Thailand every year. HP 540 battery

The growing popularity of golf, especially among the middle classes and expats, is evident since there are more than 200 world-class golf courses nationwide,  and some of them are chosen to host PGA and LPGA tournaments, such as Amata Spring Country Club, Alpine Golf & Sports Club, Thai Country Club and Black Mountain Golf Club.HP Compaq Business NW9440 battery

Football

Thammasat Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Bangkok, Thailand. It is currently used mostly for football matches. The stadium holds 25,000. It is located in Thammasat University's Rangsit campus.

It was built for the 1998 Asian Games by construction firm Christiani and Nielsen, the same company that constructed the Democracy Monument in Bangkok.HP Compaq Business  TC4400 battery

Its appearance is that of a scaled down version of the Rajamangala Stadium. The tribunes form a continuous ring which are quite low behind each goal but rise up on each side. Unlike the Rajamangala though, Thammasat has a roof covering both side tribunes. Most striking about this stadium are the floodlights. HP Compaq 491278-001 battery

Thai architects usually favour concrete pylons but these are the steel variety. As viewed from the exterior of the stadium the base of each pylon seems to grip the outside of the stadium and they dramatically lean over the tribunes so as to better illuminate the playing area.HP HSTNN-LB31 battery

Thammasat was going to be used for PEA FC's match against Singapore Armed Forces FC in an Asian Champions League qualifier in February 2009 but the pitch was deemed unplayable and the match was switched to the Rajamangala.

Rajamangala National Stadium is the biggest sporting arena in Thailand.HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM  battery

It currently has a capacity of 65,000. It is located in Bang Kapi, Bangkok. The stadium was built in 1998 for the 1998 Asian Games and is the home stadium of Thailand national football team up to present.

Other sports Other sports in Thailand are slowly growing as the country develops its sporting infrastructure.HP Pavilion DV3-4000  battery

The success in sports like weightlifting andTaekwondo at the last two Summer Olympic Games has demonstrated that boxing is no longer the only medal chance for Thailand.

The economy of Thailand is a newly industrialized economy. It is a heavily export-dependent economy, with exports accounting for more than two thirds of gross domestic product (GDP).HP Pavilion TX1000 battery

Recently, Thailand experienced GDP growth by 8.0% in 2010 making it one of the fastest growing economies in Asia and the fastest growing economy in South East Asia. The country has a GDP net worth of 9.5 trillion Baht (on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis), or US$584 billion (PPP) making it the 24th largest economy in the world. HP Pavilion DV6-1210SA  battery

This classifies Thailand as the 2nd largest economy in Southeast Asia after Indonesia. Despite this, Thailand ranks midway in the wealth spread in Southeast Asia as it is the 4th richest nation according to GDP per capita, afterSingapore, Brunei and Malaysia.HP 448007-001 battery

Thailand's nominal economic output as of June 2010 is $313.8 billion USD, while holding some $172 billion in foreign exchange assets which ranks 11th in world. Thailand has strong automobile industry which grew by 63% in 2010 with 1.6 million cars produced ranking it as 13th in the motor vehicle producing countries in the world.HP Compaq Business  6530B  battery

Experts predict that by the year 2015 Thailand will be one of the top 10 motor vehicle producing countries in the world.

Thailand's economy functions as an anchor economy for the neighboring developing economies of Laos, Burma, and Cambodia. Thailand's recovery from the 1997–1998 Asian financial crisis depended mainly on exports, among various other factors.HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM  battery

Thailand ranks high among the world's automotive export industries along with manufacturing of electronic goods.

Tourism revenues are on the rise and contributing to about 6% of GDP. The GDP growth of Thailand was 8.0% in 2010, higher than previous highs of 5-7% under the previous civilian administration.HP Pavilion DV5-1015EA  battery

Thailand enjoys high foreign investment and consumer confidence. Unemployment is at 1.2% as year 2010, with estimations of falling to 1% by the year 2012 therefore Thailand has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world. Decades of economic growth reduced poverty in Thailand. HP Pavilion DV6-1230SB battery

Thailand enjoys one of the lowest poverty rates in Asia. In 2010, Thailand, along withJapan, South Korea, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia were the only countries in Asia with less than 2% of the country's total population living under $1.25 per day.HP Pavilion ZD8181EA  battery

Due to rising oil and food prices, the annual inflation rate for 2010 shot up to 3.5% in July, but it will unlikely reach higher rates as oil and food prices are stabilizing and Thailand is receiving high foreign reserves and capital investment.HP Pavilion DV9500  battery

History

Thailand had historically been a tiger economy with average growth rates of 10.4% from 1985 to 1996. The administration under prime ministerPrem Tinsulanonda in power from 1980 to 1988 began to open up the country's economy to international trade.HP Pavilion DV4-1125BR  battery

However, after the 1997–1998 currency crisis, millions of people were unemployed and impoverished and it wasn't until 2001 that Thailand regained momentum over the baht and economy.

Thailand's 23rd prime minister, businessman Thaksin took office in February 2001 with the intention of increasing domestic activity and reducing Thailand's reliance on foreign trade and investment.HP Pavilion DV5-1111EA Battery

Since then, the Thaksin administration has refined its economic message, embracing a "dual track" economic policy that combines increased domestic activity with Thailand's traditional promotion of open markets and foreign investment.

This set of policies is popularly known as Thaksinomics.HP Pavilion DV6-1234TX battery

Weak export demand held 2001 GDP growth to 2.2%. In 2002/03/04, however, increased domestic activity and an export revival fuelled better performance, with real GDP growth at 5.3%, 7.1% and 6.3% respectively. However, in 2005, under rising oil prices and trade deficits, severe droughts and floods,HP Pavilion DV3-2008TX  battery

the Southern Thailand Insurgency reaching its peak, uncertainty of the future of Thaksin's government and the tourism aftershocks of the Indian Ocean Earthquake Tsunami on December 26, 2004, economic growth slumped to 4.5%.

In 2005 Thailand also had a current account deficit of -4.3% of GDP, or US$ -7.6 billion.HP Pavilion DV8  battery

Ever since 2006 Thailand has once again a surplus in its current account and in 2006 the economy was buoyed by strong export growth, however, the military coup d'état on September 19, 2006, which ousted the prime minister and abrogated the 1997 constitution, along with the December 2007 elections, cast uncertainty.HP Pavilion DV6-1215SA  battery

The present elected civilian administration under Samak Sundaravej in power since January 29, 2008 estimates that the economy will have grown by about 5.5% to 6%. The rapid growth of the industrial and financial sectors over the last decades, agriculture and tourism are not the most important sources of revenue anymore.HP Compaq 490306-001  battery

For purchasing power parity comparisons, the US Dollar is exchanged at 22?.34 Baht only.

Before the 1997 financial crisis, the Thai economy had years of manufacturing-led economic growth—averaging 9.4% for the decade up to 1996. Compaq Presario CQ50  battery

Relatively abundant and inexpensive labor and natural resources, fiscal conservatism, open foreign investment policies, and encouragement of the private sector underlay the economic success in the years up to 1997.

The economy of Thailand is an advocate of the free enterprise system.HP Pavilion DV6-1223EO  battery

Certain services, such as power generation, transportation, and communications, are state-owned and operated, but the government has considered privatizing them in the wake of the financial crisis.

The Royal Thai Government welcomes foreign investment, and investors who are willing to meet certain requirements can apply for special investment privileges through the Board of Investment. HP Compaq 490306-001  battery

To attract additional foreign investment, the government has modified its investment regulations.

The organized labor movement remains weak and divided in Thailand; only 4% of the labor force is unionized. In 2000, the State Enterprise Labor Relations Act (SELRA) was passed, giving public sector employees similar rights to those of private sector workers, including the right to unionize.Compaq Presario CQ35-100 battery

49% of Thailand's labor force is employed in agriculture, however this is less than the 70% employed in 1980. Agriculture has been experiencing a transition from labour intensive and transitional methods into a more industrialised and competitive sector. Rice is the country's most important crop;HP Compaq HSTNN-LB51  battery

Thailand is the #1 exporter in the world rice market. Other agricultural commodities produced in significant amounts include fish and fishery products, tapioca, rubber, grain, and sugar. Exports of processed foods such as canned tuna, pineapples, and frozen shrimp are on the rise.HP Pavilion ZE4500  battery

Thailand's increasingly diversified manufacturing sector made the largest contribution to growth during the economic boom. Industries registering rapid increases in production included computers and electronics, garments and footwear, furniture, wood products, canned food, toys, plastic products, gems, and jewelry. HP G62-100EB  battery

High-technology products such as integrated circuits and parts, electrical appliances, and vehicles are now leading Thailand's strong growth in exports.

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing

Developments in agriculture since the 1960s, have supported Thailand's transition to a industrialised economy. As recently as 1980 agriculture represented 70% of employment.HP Pavilion DV6-1211AX  battery

In 2008 agriculture, forestry, and fishing contributed only 8.4% percent to GDP and even in rural areas farm jobs represent only half of employment.Thailand is the world's leading exporter of rice and a major exporter of shrimp. Other crops include coconuts, corn, rubber, soybeans, sugarcane and tapioca. HP EliteBook 6930P battery

In 1985 Thailand officially designated 25 percent of the nation's land area for protected forests and 15 percent for timber production. Protected forests have been set aside for conservation and recreation, while production forests are available for the forestry industry. HP Pavilion DV9500  battery

Between 1992 and 2001, exports of logs and sawn timber increased from 50,000 cubic meters to 2 million cubic meters per year.

The regional avian flu outbreak led to a contraction of Thailand's agricultural sector during 2004, and the tsunami disaster of December 26, 2004, devastated the west coast fisheries industry. Compaq Evo N610C  battery

In 2005 and 2006 agricultural GDP was stated to have contracted by 10 percent.

Mining and minerals

Thailand's major minerals include fluorite, gypsum, lead, lignite, natural gas, tantalum, tin and tungsten. HP Pavilion DM3-1050EO battery

The tin mining industry has declined sharply since 1985, and so Thailand has become a net importer of tin. As of 2008, the main mineral export was gypsum.

Thailand is the world's second largest exporter of gypsum after Canada, even though government policy limits gypsum exports to prevent price cuts.Compaq Presario 1245  battery

In 2003 Thailand produced more than 40 types of minerals with an annual value of about US$740 million. However, more than 80 percent of these minerals were consumed domestically.

In September 2003, in order to encourage foreign investment in the mining industry, the government relaxed severe restrictions on mining by foreign companies and reduced mineral royalties payable to the state. HP G6000  battery

Industry and manufacturing

In 2007 industry contributed 43.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) but employed only 14% of the workforce. This proportion is the opposite of the one applying to agriculture. Industry expanded at an average annual rate of 3.4 percent during the 1995–2005 period.HP Compaq 451086-661  battery

The most important subsector of industry is manufacturing, which accounted for 34.5 percent of GDP in 2004.

Thailand is becoming a center of automobile manufacturing for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) market. By 2004 automobile production had reached 930,000 units, more than twice as much as in 2001. HP Pavilion DV2166EA  battery

Two automakers active in Thailand are Toyota and Ford. The expansion of the automotive industry has led to a boom in domestic steel production.

Thailand's electronics industry faces competition from Malaysia and Singapore, while its textile industry faces competition from China and Vietnam.HP Compaq 464119-143  battery

Energy

In 2004 Thailand's total energy consumption was estimated at 3.4 quadrillion British thermal units, representing about 0.7 percent of total world energy consumption. Thailand is a net importer of oil and natural gas, but the government is promoting the use of ethanol to reduce imports of petroleum and the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether.Compaq Presario CQ71  battery

In 2005 daily oil consumption of 838,000 barrels per day (133,200 m3/d) exceeded domestic production of 306,000 barrels per day (48,700 m3/d). Thailand's four oil refineries have a combined capacity of 703,100 barrels per day (111,780 m3/d). HP Pavilion DV9565EA  battery

Thailand's government is considering establishing a regional oil processing and transportation hub, serving the needs of south-central China. In 2004 natural gas consumption of 1,055 billion cubic feet (2.99×1010 m3) exceeded domestic production of 790 billion cubic feet (2.2×1010 m3).HP Pavilion DV6203TX battery

Also in 2004, estimated coal consumption of 30.4 million short tons exceeded coal production of 22.1 million short tons. As of January 2007, proven oil reserves totaled 290 million barrels (46,000,000 m3), and proven natural gas reserves were 14.8 trillion cubic feet (420 km3). In 2003 recoverable coal reserves totaled 1,492.5 million short tons.HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO  battery

In 2005 Thailand consumed about 117.7 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. Electricity consumption rose by 4.7 percent in 2006 to 133 billion kilowatt-hours. According to the state electricity utility, theElectricity Generating Authority of Thailand, power consumption by residential consumers has been increasing because of more favorable rates given to residential customers over the industry and business sectors. HP HSTNN-OB51  battery

Thailand's state-controlled electric utility and petroleum monopolies are undergoing restructuring.

Services

In 2007 the services sector, which ranges from tourism to banking and finance, contributed 44.7% of gross domestic product and employed 37 percent of the workforce.HP Pavilion DV7-2185DX  battery

Tourism

Tourism makes a larger contribution to Thailand's economy (typically about 6 percent of gross domestic product) than that of any other Asian nation. Most tourists come to Thailand for various reasons—mostly for the beaches and relaxation, although with the ongoing insurgency in the deep South, Bangkok has seen a large increase in tourism over the past years.HP Compaq Business  6830S  battery

Also, a sharp increase in tourism from other Asian countries has contributed largely to Thailand's economy even though the Baht has gained strength compared to most other currencies in the past two years. In 2007 some 14 million tourists visited Thailand. The Thai tourism industry includes a thriving sex industry. HP PP2200 battery

Successive Thai governments, however, continue to neglect sex workers rights under labor laws persist in the criminalization of sex workers, allowing corrupt authorities and employers to exploit sex-workers' labor.

The easing of the monetary crisis, the renewed vigorous growth of the Chinese economy, Compaq CQ50 battery

the relatively stable internal political situation following the 2008–2009 Thai political crisis, and the 2009 flu pandemic having less of an impact as initially feared, have changed the tourism outlook for 2010. Thailand experienced a decrease of international visitors of 16% over HP Pavilion DV8 battery

the first six months of 2009 but the last four months of 2009 have seen a return of foreign tourists to Thailand with a marked increase in the months of November and December. The provisional numbers for 2009 have now been revised upwards to close to 14 million international visitors, which is a decrease of only 4% compared to 2008.Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

Banking and finances

Dangerous levels of nonperforming assets at Thai banks helped trigger the attack on the Thai baht by currency speculators that led to the Asian financial crisis in 1997–1998. By 2003 nonperforming assets had been cut in half to about 30 percent.HP DV9700 battery

Despite a return to profitability, however, Thailand's banks continue to struggle with the legacy of the financial crisis in the form of unrealized losses and inadequate capital. Therefore, the government is considering various reforms, including establishing an integrated financial regulatory agency that would free up the Bank of Thailand to focus on monetary policy.Compaq CQ35-100 battery

In addition, the Thai government is attempting to strengthen the financial sector through the consolidation of commercial, state-owned, and foreign-owned institutions. Specifically, the government's Financial Sector Reform Master Plan, which was first introduced in early 2004, provides tax breaks to financial institutions that engage in mergers and acquisitions.HP Pavilion DV6-1223EO Battery

The reform program has been deemed successful by outside experts. In 2007, there were three state-owned commercial banks and five state-owned specialized banks, 15 Thai commercial banks, and 17 foreign banks in Thailand.

The Bank of Thailand sought to stem the flow of foreign funds into the country in December 2006. Sony VGP-BPS11 battery

This led within one day to the largest drop in stock prices on the Stock Exchange of Thailand since the1997 Asian Financial Crisis. The massive selling by foreign investors amounted more than US$708 million.

Labor

Thailand's labor force was estimated at 36.9 million in 2007. HP 448007-001 battery

About 49% were employed in agriculture, 37% in services, and 14% in industry. In 2005 women constituted 48 percent of the labor force and held an increasing share of professional jobs. Less than 4% of the workforce is unionized, but 11% of industrial workers and 50% of state enterprise employees are unionized.Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/L Battery

Although laws applying to private-sector workers' rights to form and join trade unions were unaffected by the September 19, 2006, military coup and its aftermath, workers who participate in union activities continue to have inadequate legal protection. According to the U.S. Dell Inspiron 6400 AC Adapter

Department of State, union workers are inadequately protected. Thailand's unemployment rate lies at 1.5% percent of the labor force.

External trade

The United States is Thailand's largest export market and second-largest supplier after Japan. Dell LATITUDE D800 battery

While Thailand's traditional major markets have been North America, Japan, and Europe, economic recovery among Thailand's regional trading partners has helped Thai export growth.

Recovery from the financial crisis depended heavily on increased exports to the rest of Asia and the United States. Apple A1280 battery

Since 2005, the rapid ramp-up in export of automobiles of Japanese makes (esp. Toyota, Nissan, Isuzu) has helped to dramatically improve the trade balance, with over 1 million cars produced annually since then. As such, Thailand has joined the ranks of the world's top ten automobile exporting nations.Apple A1281 battery

Machinery and parts, vehicles, electronic integrated circuits, chemicals, crude oil and fuels, and iron and steel are among Thailand's principal imports. The recent increase in import levels reflects the need to fuel the production of high-technology items and vehicles.HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO battery

Thailand is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Cairns Group of agricultural exporters. Thailand is part of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). Thailand has actively pursued free trade agreements. A China-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (FTA) commenced in October 2003.HP Pavilion DV6-1020ED Battery

This agreement was limited to agricultural products, with a more comprehensive FTA to be agreed upon by 2010. Thailand also has a limited Free Trade Agreement with India, which commenced in 2003; and a comprehensive Australia-Thailand Free Trade Agreement which started 1 January 2005.Dell Latitude E6400 Battery Battery

Thailand started free trade negotiations with Japan in February 2004, and an in-principle agreement was agreed in September 2005. Negotiations for a US-Thailand Free Trade Agreement are underway, with the fifth round of meetings held in November 2005.HP Pavilion DM4 Battery

Tourism contributes significantly to the Thai economy, and the industry has benefited from the Thai baht's depreciation and Thailand's stability. Tourist arrivals in 2002 (10.9 million) reflected a 7.3% increase from the previous year (10.1 million in 2001).Apple MB772LL/A battery

Bangkok is one of the most prosperous parts of Thailand, and heavily dominates the national economy, with the infertile northeast being the poorest. An overriding concern of successive Thai Governments, and a particularly strong focus of the recently ousted Thaksin government, has been to reduce these regional disparities,Dell LATITUDE D800 battery

which have been exacerbated by rapid economic growth in Bangkok and the financial crisis.

Although little economic investment reaches other parts of the country except for tourist zones, the government has been successful in stimulating provincial economic growth in the Eastern Seaboard of Thailand, and the Chiang Mai area.Dell Inspiron 6400 AC Adapter

Despite much talk of other regional developments, these 3 regions and other tourist zones still dominate the national economy.

Although the economy has demonstrated moderate positive growth since 1999, future performance depends on continued reform of the financial sector, corporate debt restructuring, attracting foreign investment, and increasing exports. HP 448007-001 battery

Telecommunications, roadways, electricity generation, and ports showed increasing strain during the period of sustained economic growth and may pose a future challenge. Thailand's growing shortage of engineers and skilled technical personnel may limit its future technological creativity and productivity.Sony VGP-BPS11 battery

Mergers & Acquisitions

Between 1997 and 2010, 4'306 mergers & acquisitions with a total known value of 81 bil. USD with the involvement of Thai firms have been announced. The year 2010 was a new record in terms of value with 12 bil. USD of transactions.HP Pavilion DV6-1223EO Battery

The largest transaction with involvement of Thai companies has been: PTT Chemical PCL merged with PTT Aromatics and Refining PCL valued at 3.8 bil. USD in 2011. Compaq CQ35-100 battery,HP Pavilion DV6-1020ED Battery,HP Pavilion DV7 battery,HP DV6-1120SA battery,Compaq CQ50 battery,HP Pavilion DV8 battery,Sony VGP-BPS13 battery,HP DV9700 battery

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