Kore­ans eye Thai­land to cut China risk

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - International Business -

SOUTH Korean com­pa­nies are keen to in­vest in Thai­land, par­tic­u­larly the Eastern Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (EEC), and mak­ing the coun­try their pro­duc­tion hub for the Asean and Asian re­gions, ac­cord­ing to the Korea Trade-in­vest­ment Pro­mo­tion Agency (Ko­tra).

Ko­tra deputy di­rec­tor-gen­eral Kim Nam-wook said many South Korean com­pa­nies are keen to move out of China to get away from the risks pre­sented by the in­ten­si­fy­ing ge­o­graph­i­cal dis­putes with neigh­bour­ing North Korea, and Thai­land of­fers the best choice for re­lo­ca­tion be­cause of its in­vest­ment in­cen­tives and full gov­ern­ment sup­port.

“Many Korean in­vestors used to fo­cus on China be­cause of its large mar­ket size of more than 1 bil­lion

con­sumers. How­ever, things have changed. The in­ten­si­fy­ing geopo­lit­i­cal ten­sion is mak­ing us think about di­ver­si­fy­ing risks by mov­ing our pro­duc­tion bases,” said Mr Kim.

He said Korean in­vestors as well as Ko­tra, a state-funded trade and in­vest­ment pro­mo­tion or­gan­i­sa­tion, are in­ter­ested in Thai­land to be an­other pro­duc­tion hub and also a gate­way to Asean, which has a pop­u­la­tion of more than 600 mil­lion.

Ko­tra held a sem­i­nar yes­ter­day at­tended by about 100 com­pa­nies from South Korea, In­dia, Europe and other Asean mem­ber coun­tries, seek­ing to cre­ate busi­ness match­ing and deals that would lead to fur­ther in­vest­ment in Thai­land, par­tic­u­larly in the EEC zone.

The EEC is the gov­ern­ment’s flag­ship ini­tia­tive to pro­mote new in­vest­ment in high-tech in­dus­tries with

strong gov­ern­ment sup­port, par­tic­u­larly in in­fra­struc­ture and in­vest­ment in­cen­tives. The EEC spans more than 30,000 rai across the prov­inces of Chon Buri, Ray­ong and Cha­cho­engsao.

The EEC is de­signed to ac­com­mo­date the new S-curve seg­ment and 10 tar­geted in­dus­tries: next-gen­er­a­tion cars; smart elec­tron­ics; af­flu­ent, med­i­cal and well­ness tourism; agri­cul­ture and biotech­nol­ogy; food; ro­bot­ics for in­dus­try; lo­gis­tics and avi­a­tion; bio­fu­els and bio­chem­i­cal; dig­i­tal; and med­i­cal ser­vices.

Mr Kim said Korean in­vestors who are keen to in­vest in Thai­land are mostly in auto parts and electronic parts sec­tors.

“We are in­ter­ested in Thai­land be­cause it is the Detroit of Asia so it is quite easy to cre­ate a sup­ply chain here to pro­duce and ex­port to other Asean coun­tries,” he said.

South Korea ranked the eighth­biggest for­eign in­vestor in Thai­land with to­tal in­vest­ment value worth 8.9 bil­lion baht in 2016.

– Bangkok Post

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