By Chen Jiabao, Lin Hao
BANGKOK, May 29 (Xinhua) -- The increasing Chinese investment to Thailand, highlighted by electric vehicle (EV) industries, has brought relevant industrial chain and technologies, helping to boost Thailand's economy and green development in recent years, said the head of the country's East Economy Corridor(EEC).
As the major vehicle production and export base in Southeast Asia, Thailand has attracted growing numbers of Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers over the years, echoing Thai government's incentives on EV industry, Chula Sukmanop, secretary general of the EEC policy committee, said during an interview to Xinhua here in Bangkok.
"Many Chinese companies have invested in Thailand. Some are coming to meet the demands of domestic market in Thailand and export to neighboring countries. Thailand is expected to export more and more EVs in the future," said Chula.
According to the automobile society of Thailand, Chinese brands accounted for approximately 90 percent 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 electric vehicle production to reach about 30 percent of the 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. It's expected that the sales volume will double in 2023.
Chula said Chinese EV companies have attracted relative enterprises in the automobile industrial chain to Thailand, including auto parts, ties, batteries and charging stations. It not only creates employment locally, but also brings technology and talent training, contributing to the improvement of Thailand's labor force quality.
The EEC, which covers three coastal provinces east to capital Bangkok, namely Rayong, Chonburi, and Chachoengsao, is a centerpiece of government efforts to boost growth and encourage investment, particularly in high-tech industries.
The project focuses on upgrading infrastructures and implementing a series of investment incentives to attract high-value-added industries, as it transitions from those reliant on cheap labor.
Currently, industries such as petrochemicals, automotive and auto parts, electronics, and appliances have the highest investment shares in the region.
From 2018 to the first quarter of this year, investment from China has accounted for more than 10 percent of foreign investment of 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 have played 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 activities during the pandemic. But with these ties, I think it's going to recover very soon," said the EEC secretary general. ■