Major corporations are investing substantially in Thailand to promote the use of electric vehicles in response to the government’s ambition of transforming the nation into Southeast Asia’s Electric Vehicle hub over the next decade.
Thailand’s BOI (Board of Investment) has cleared a 36.1 billion baht ($1 billion) investment by the Horizon Plus joint venture of Taiwan’s Foxconn and Thailand’s state-owned energy giant PTT to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) in the Land of Smiles.
“We intend to further enhance the supply chain by strengthening incentives for battery production, a crucial component of the industry’s transition,” noted Duangjai Asawachintachit, the BOI’s secretary-general.
She went on to say that so far, 16 projects by 10 different firms have received promotion incentives for investments in the production of EV batteries totaling 4.82 billion baht (RM609.8 million). Another three projects have been approved for investment in the batteries of high energy density, with a total investment value of 6.75 billion baht (over $191 million).
Aside from battery manufacturing, Foxconn, one of Apple’s primary suppliers, is trying to build Chinese Electric Vehicles in Thailand. After the adoption of an MoU (memorandum of understanding) with PTT in November last year, Horizon Plus is looking for its first outsourcing transaction with Chinese firm Hozon New Energy Automobile, as previously reported.
The idea is to invest $1-2 billion (RM4.4-8.8 billion) in building an EV facility in eastern Thailand, with construction planned to start in the middle of this year and production to begin in 2024. In its first phase, the facility will produce 50,000 automobiles per year, with production eventually increasing to 150,000 cars per year.
Horizon Plus is among several investment requests in manufacturing and infrastructure projects totaling 209.5 billion baht (RM26.5 billion) that were approved on Monday (June 13, 2022), with the goal of transforming Thailand into Southeast Asia’s primary EV manufacturing center, a title that Indonesia is also vying for.
Other measures include developing an incentive package for upgrading existing general industrial estates/zones so that they may deliver intelligent system services to their clients in five important areas: smart energy, smart facilities, smart IT, smart economy, and approximately one to 3 other system services (smart lifestyle, smart workforce, and smart good corporate governance), according to Duangjai.
Meanwhile, the BOI authorized a rule allowing approved foreign juristic entities with authorized and paid-up capital of not under 50 million baht (RM6.3 million) to acquire land to set up offices and living quarters for senior executives and foreign specialists.