This paper identifies challenges the traditional Thai silk industry has faced during its internationalization, and the public and private responses employed to overcome challenges.
In-depth interviews were conducted with major players along the Thai silk value chain to gain insights into the industry's transformation from a domestic, cottage industry into an international fashion producer.
Thai silk has created a niche market for high-end, cultural products, thus successfully sidestepping direct competition from emerging low-cost producers. The main innovative strategies employed include introducing new products, upgrading quality, attracting new customers, and collaboration between actors all along the silk value chain.
This study illustrates how a traditional industry can evolve and successfully adapt to changing consumer demands and competitive landscapes in a globalize economy.
– The purpose of this paper is to substantiate Porter's ideas through multiple case studies of firms in one of Thailand's potential niches – Thai silk.
The purpose of this paper is to substantiate Porter's ideas through multiple case studies of firms in one of Thailand's potential niches – Thai silk.
This study examined upgrading strategies adopted by six companies involved in the production and distribution of silk and silk products in Thailand. Information was gathered from company documents and interview statements given by company executives and government policy makers. Standard approaches to organizing and analyzing qualitative case study data, including description, pattern identification, concept categorization and generalization were utilized.
The companies have implemented upgrading strategies in the following four main areas: first, balancing efficiency and old customs in production; second, innovating new products while preserving unique traditional features; third, developing modern marketing and distribution techniques with a cultural flare; and fourth, building linkages and clusters.
Stakeholders of traditional- or cultural-related industries may increase their chances of successfully renewing their businesses’ competitive advantage by carefully balancing the needs to both preserve and modernize key processes in their industries’ value chains.
The paper's findings and recommendations may to be useful to other traditional industries that share similar challenges both in Thailand and in other Southeast Asian countries.