Thais are great at copying but can they be innovative?
You've seen it all before, someone opens a shop somewhere and appears to be successful, someone else sees their success and wants a part of it. So they open a similar shop basically mimicking the idea, now other people see those shops and think it must a a really good investment because their's now two of those shops. So before you know it there must be 50 shops around the same area all doing the same thing vying for the same customers.
Why is this so prolific in Thailand? I'd like to think it's because thai people want to own their own business i think most of us would like to but thais don't want to work for someone else more than others. How is that the problem? Well if everyone had their own business it just wouldn't work, it's economics. Like the example of the fish spa, within 2 years their must have been 10,000 of these shops open up in Thailand. 80% of these enterprises are doomed, there is just too much competition for the same customers.
In order to profit from a niche market, the niche market shouldn't already have a leader in the industry and because it's a niche it can't be too crowded or noone is going to make money.
So can Thai people be Innovative? Thais live in a subserviant society which doesn't allow questions to be asked and changes be made. So it's very difficult, most of those fads you've seen have been from foriegners who have come up with the ideas. Until thai people are able to think for themselves and question the ideas of their elders Innovation is going to be hard.