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Thailand recruits Chinese social media influencers as it seeks ‘new ways of selling things’ to boost exports

“The world is changing,” Phumtham said. “We have to think about new ways of selling things.”

What’s in it for the influencers? The government will share profits from the sales with them to incentivise their efforts. “If it fails, we lose nothing,” Phumtham said. “If it’s successful, we plan to expand this tactics to other things.”

Exports, a key engine of the Thai economy, contracted 1 per cent in 2023 after notching 5.4 per cent growth in 2022. The Commerce Ministry set up a 2024 working target of 1-2 per cent export growth, while the Finance Ministry forecast a 4.2 per cent rise in the sector that normally accounts for about half of the country’s gross domestic product.

Phumtham recalled meeting the actors, Phakphum “Mile” Romsaithong and Nattawin “Apo” Wattanagitiphat, last week to launch the project in front of hundreds of screaming fans – many of whom hailed from neighbouring countries like Malaysia and Singapore.


Thai fashion influencers reclaim ‘elephant pants’ popular with backpacking tourists

“I didn’t understand the power of love until after the press conference,” Phumtham said, adding that he expected the collaboration to generate about 2 billion baht (US$560.8 million) of economic value.

In December, Thailand’s parliament passed the first reading a draft amendment of the country’s Civil and Commercial Code to legalise same-sex marriage. The so-called “marriage equality bill” is expected to clear all parliamentary approvals by August, Phumtham said.