Chinese investments help bolster Thai business

As a major vehicle production and export base in South-East Asia, Thailand has attracted growing numbers of Chinese EV manufacturers over the years, said Chula, the secretary-general of the EEC policy committee. — China Daily

BANGKOK: Increasing Chinese investments into Thailand, highlighted by the electric vehicle (EV) industry, have brought relevant industrial chains and technologies, helping to boost the Thai economy and green development in recent years, says the head of the country’s East Economy Corridor (EEC).

As a major vehicle production and export base in South-East Asia, Thailand has attracted growing numbers of Chinese EV manufacturers over the years, echoing the Thai government’s incentives for the EV industry, Chula Sukmanop, secretary-general of the EEC policy committee, said during an interview with Xinhua News Agency in Bangkok.

“Many Chinese companies have invested in Thailand. Some are coming to meet the demands of the domestic market in Thailand and export to neighbouring countries. Thailand is expected to export more and more EVs in the future,” Chula said.

According to the automobile society of Thailand, Chinese brands accounted for about 90% of Thailand’s EV market in 2021.

Chinese EV makers like MG and Great Wall have set up their factories in the EEC. China’s biggest EV manufacturer BYD and EV startup Neta Auto are also setting foot in Thailand.

The Thai government wants EV production to reach about 30% of total auto manufacturing by 2030.

Surveys show that the EV sales volume in Thailand surged to nearly 10,000 units in 2022 from less than 2,000 units in 2021.

The sales volume is expected to double in 2023.

Chula said Chinese EV companies have attracted related enterprises in the automobile industrial chain, including auto parts, tires, batteries and charging stations.

It not only creates employment locally, but also brings technology and talent training, contributing to the improvement of Thailand’s labour force quality.

The EEC, which covers three coastal provinces – namely Rayong, Chonburi and Chachoengsao – east of the capital Bangkok, is a centrepiece of government efforts to boost growth and encourage investment, particularly in high-tech industries.

The project focuses on upgrading infrastructure and implementing a series of investment incentives to attract high-value-added industries, as it transitions from those reliant on cheap labour.

Currently, industries such as petrochemicals, automotive and auto parts, electronics and appliances have the highest investment share in the region.

From 2018 to the first quarter of this year, investment from China has accounted for more than 10% of foreign investment into the EEC.

China has become one of the major investors, according to the secretary-general.

He said China contributes a lot to the economic growth of Thailand. In addition to industrial cooperation and foreign direct investment, Chinese tourists play a significant role in driving the growth of Thailand’s tourism as one of the largest source markets.

“Thailand and China share strong ties, not only in investment but also people-to-people exchanges. We had seen some drops in trade activity during the pandemic. But with these ties, I think it’s going to recover very soon,” he said. — China Daily/ANN

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