E&E is a main export driver for Thailand, accounting for 30% of outbound shipments. After enjoying steady growth for a quarter of a century, the industry saw orders fall off in 2009; electrical appliance exports dropped by about 30% in the first quarter of 2009 and electronics fell 32%.

However, signs now point to a rebound. The Federation of Thai Industries Electrical, Electronics and Allied Industries Club said indicators point to E&E exports not only recovering, but vaulting past $50bn in 2010.

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Thai manufacturers have now started hiring back staff by the thousands to service increasing orders for E&E products, particularly hard disk drives, as global sales of PCs and notebook computers pick up. Some white goods manufacturers in the country are already reporting that orders have recovered to 80% of pre-economic crisis levels.