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Connecting Global Biotech, Largest Biotech Event of Thailand Takes Center Stage

by Oscar Wu
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VNU Director Igor Jan Palka during the 2023 Bio Asia Pacific

In recent years, Thailand has become one of the vibrant regions for healthcare and biotechnology in the Asia Pacific region. On August 6-8, 2023, VNU Asia Pacific, together with the Science and Technology Trade Association (STTA) and the Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (Public Organization) or TCELS, are organizing Thailand LAB INTERNATIONAL, showcasing analytical laboratory equipment and instruments, Bio Asia Pacific, showcasing research, innovation and technology for biotechnology, life sciences and smart health, and FutureCHEM INTERNATIONAL, a new conference and exhibition platform focusing on innovative solutions for the chemical industry. Bringing nearly 11,000 trade visitors from 25 countries worldwide to the exhibitions and inviting foreign companies to find distributors and dealers in Thailand.

During a pivotal period from September 6 to 8, 2023, GeneOnline had the opportunity to interview Igor Jan Palka, the managing director of VNU Asia Pacific. The insights derived from this interview not only shed light on the burgeoning opportunities in Thailand’s biotech landscape but also the role played by VNU Asia Pacific in connecting Thai and the World.

Related article: Connecting the Dots: TCELS Leads the Way for Thailand’s Life Sciences and Healthcare Innovations

Thailand, a Beacon for Innovation in the Biotech Industry

So why Thailand? Palka states that Thailand’s healthcare and biotech sectors are witnessing a remarkable surge, with projections indicating a persistent boom throughout 2023 and an expected industry valuation of $47.9 billion by 2026. This growth is significantly fueled by the country’s booming medical tourism, which accounts for 38% of all visitors to Asia, drawn to the high-quality yet affordable healthcare services that cost merely a fraction of those in the US and Europe.

The nation offers modern medical facilities with well-trained doctors proficient in the latest treatments and procedures, thereby eliminating communication barriers and facilitating prompt treatments. Innovations such as healthcare condos are revolutionizing the sector, promising patients and their families ease and comfort during their medical visits. Moreover, the affordability factor is pronounced with services like MRI scans and knee replacement surgeries being available at substantially lower prices compared to the US.

Looking at the broader biotech and health sector, Thailand is fostering innovation through significant investments in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, aiming to reduce reliance on imports. The country has also emerged as a hub for clinical trials, backed by a robust healthcare infrastructure and skilled professionals. Furthermore, the integration of traditional Thai medicine with modern healthcare practices, a well-established healthcare infrastructure, and a burgeoning healthtech and telemedicine scene, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, are other notable strengths. The country is also making strides in vaccine production and medical device manufacturing, while also offering wellness tourism, thereby painting a promising picture of Thailand’s healthcare landscape, ready to embrace novel ideas and breakthroughs.

Calling on international biotechnology companies and investors, VNU supports the development of biotechnology in Asia-Pacific

Palka emphasizes that VNU Asia Pacific, which is deeply rooted in Southeast Asia, has showcased its pivotal role in bringing the opportunities in the biotech sector through this event. guiding industry leaders, buyers, investors, and experts to a platform where innovation meets tradition, and technology meets healthcare.

The exhibition underscored the pressing need to attract international biotech firms and investors to Thailand. Palka emphasized the promising opportunities awaiting in Thailand, a nation that stands as a synthesis of tradition and modernity that make it a magnet for medical tourists and investors alike. The event served as a one-stop solution, showcasing innovative research, products, and services under one roof, thereby encouraging global entities to explore the vibrant and burgeoning market of Thailand.

GeneOnline CEO Thomas (Left) and VNU Director Igor (Right) discuss with the insights during the 2023 Bio Asia Pacific

To share little more about VNU Asia Pacific, Palka mentioned that the VNU exhibition in Thailand has a history of 12 years, being established through a joint venture between the Dutch company Jaarbeurs and one of the largest conglomerates in Thailand, TCC. This venture primarily oversees B2B trade fairs, not only in Thailand but also extending to Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines, encompassing various industry sectors such as laboratory science, pet care, livestock, agriculture, health technology, and cybersecurity. 

Therefore, the primary objective is to foster bilateral cooperation and international trade by showcasing the Thai market and industry to the world. While the company facilitates delegations to events overseas, their focus remains on enhancing business prospects within Thailand, a country experiencing a surge in the health and scientific sectors. This growth, coupled with substantial government interest, underscores their commitment to attracting more stakeholders to Thailand to further business endeavors.

In the end of the conversation, Palka highlights its focus on B2B trade fairs and healthcare innovation across various industries and Asian countries. With a growth opportunity for international companies to familiarize themselves with the Thai and broader Asian markets through their events.

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