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Thailand is the Place to be Invested

The Situation and Direction for the Recovery of the Industrial Sector from COVID-19

#Update on the Investment Value of Industrial Estates

The investment value of the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand in the fiscal year 2021 amounted to 106,146.56 million baht (from October 2020 to March 2021). The figure shows a significant growth in the Thai manufacturing industry compared to the 2020 figure of the same period, which stood at 78,758.09 million baht. (The investment value of the first half of the fiscal year 2020 totalled 27,388.47 million baht).

Additionally, applications for BOI investment promotion in EEC from January 2021 to March 2021 represented an investment value of 63,000 million baht, increasing by 15,400 million baht compared to the same period of the fiscal year 2020. The investment value comprised:

24,970 million baht from Chonburi, which is the highest

29,430 million baht from Rayong province

10,010 million baht from Chachoensao province.

(EEC Focus, TNN26 channel)

The figures above indicate that the overall outcome and applications for BOI investment promotion grew substantially compared to the same period of 2020. Therefore, it is considered that the investment situation has good prospects and is showing signs of Thailand being lively again.

#Factors in industrial estates’ growth after COVID-19

– National Economy Recovering

Based on the figures from the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council, it can be seen that the Thai economy improved considerably. The overall growth slightly dropped to 2.6%, while the first quarter of 2020 witnessed a fall of 4.2%. In comparison with the fourth quarter of 2020, the overall growth increased by 0.2%. 

The value of exports rose by 5.3% after a drop of 1.5% in the fourth quarter of 2020. Similarly,  investment from the private sector increased by 3% following a decrease of 3.3% in the 2020 fourth quarter.

Also, the council foresees that the Thai GDP growth rate will be at 1.5-2.5 and will gradually grow.

– Increasing Vaccination Rates

Since the first quarter of 2021, the government has started to inoculate citizens, including factory workers. To date, 9.6 million doses have been administered, making Thailand one of the top ASEAN countries with the highest rate of vaccination.

Additionally, each company has implemented internal policies as well as preventive measures to cope with COVID-19. As a result, the situation in the Thai industrial sector is expected to be back to normal shortly. Notably, the I-EA-T has established its vaccination centre to inoculate the industrial sector’s labour, business operators and surrounding communities of Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate (Rayong province), Sinsakorn Industrial Estate and Samut Sakhon Industrial Estate (Samut Sakhon province), and Amata City Industrial Estate (Chonburi province). The I-EA-T possesses the ability and readiness in terms of location and personnel to set up a vaccination centre following the Ministry of Public Health criteria.

 – Expansion of the Global Economy

Since last year, the COVID-19 outbreak has caused the closure of numerous factories. However, governments worldwide have made a huge effort to speed up vaccination, helping many countries start to return to normal and economies to recover continuously. For example,  the US’s GDP growth rose to 6.4% in the first quarter of 2021 after vaccinating 23% of its population. As for Thailand, the ABD Our World in Data forecasts that the economic growth will rise to 3% when 0.6% of the population get the second dose.

– Growth of the Medical Equipment Industry

While many industries are still badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, some industries are growing significantly. One of the most outstanding ones is the medical equipment industry, especially concerning gloves and masks. Fortunately, Thailand has the distinct advantage of the rubber and raw materials used to produce filters coming from its domestic petrochemical industry.

According to the investment figures of the medical equipment industry, the value of applications for BOI investment promotion in 2021 climbed to 22,200 million baht, indicating a rise of 177% compared to 2020. As a result, it is ranked 6th for the BOI promoted industries with the highest investment value.

– Expansion of the Electronics Industry

In 2021, the Thai electronics manufacturing industry is ranked as the world’s 13th best manufacturing base, with the production index having increased by 35% and production value by 3%. The main products are chips, which are essential components of all electronic equipment. The demand for electronic devices sharply increased during the COVID-19 outbreak as companies shifted to remote work. As a result, the electronics industry expanded, with its export rate rising by 5-10%.

In addition to the growth of manufacturing and exports in the electronics industry, the expansion of networks and the development of 5G technology, Data Centre and IoT have led to rising domestic and global demand for electronic products. Hence, investment in this industry reached 100,000 million baht in the first quarter and is likely to continually grow.

– 30/30 Promotion Policy on Electric Vehicle Manufacturing

The National Electric Vehicle Policy Committee has set a new policy call 30/30 that aims to increase electric vehicle production (xEV) to 30% by 2030, aligning with the issuance of privileges to promote investment in electric vehicle manufacturing. The Thai automotive industry, including the electric vehicle market, which doubled its growth rate in 2019 – 2020, sold around 790,000 units in 2020. Thus, it has enhanced the growth of the electric vehicle industry (xEV), especially after Great Wall Motor (GM) came to Thailand to establish the first electric vehicle factory in ASEAN. The factory is responsible for producing and exporting right-hand drive vehicles to ASEAN and Oceania countries.

#I-EA-T Road to Future – Guidelines for the Future of Thai Industrial Estates Following the Government Policies

“Smart Park Industrial Estate – A Path to the Future of Thai Industrial Estates”

Smart Park is an industrial estate managed by the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (I-EA-T). It is being developed as a prototype for industrial estates of the future, embracing modern systems in transport, energy, water resources and up-to-date technologies. Smart Park, located in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), is designed to serve the targeted industries which utilise advanced technologies. The targeted industries include Aviation & Logistics, Medical Devices, Robotics and Digital. Furthermore, Smart Park is a prototypical industrial estate, fully equipped with international standard utilities and buildings. Additionally, it creates a circular local economy, harmonising with the environment and the quality of life of the surrounding communities.

#Guidelines to Promote the Private Sector’s Investment

The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand has made its best effort to come up with policies to attract private sector investment and thus adjust its investment promotion policies in cooperation with related parties such as:

1. Accelerating investment from business operators and solving problems that impede investment and business operations for better convenience.

2. Adjusting and improving both tax and non-tax incentives to enhance investment efficiently.

3. Promoting investment in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC)

4. Connecting industrial areas and industrial estates to the country’s critical infrastructure to create systematic integration of transport and the industrial sector.

#Summary

Overall, the Thai industrial sector is likely to return to normal and continue to grow. The accessibility of vaccines to all people is one of the crucial factors in helping the country move forward. Remarkably, some industries are thriving during the pandemic, including the medical equipment industry, electronics industry and electric vehicle industry. Regarding other sectors, they are moving towards post-COVID recovery and boom with full support from the government and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand.

S. Jack Heffernan Ph.Dhttps://www.knightsbridgelaw.com
S. Jack Heffernan Ph.D. Funds Manager at HEFFX holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reach a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.

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