Selected Sector Investment opportunities
Industry | Engineering
Plastics & Synthetic Fibres| The
Chemical Industry | Environmental
Markets | Metal-Working
& Machine Tools | Telecommunications
Industries | Agro-Industry-The
Potential for Biotechnology |
Thailand's electronics industry
has made major strides in the past decade and now
produce many types of electronics equipment, subassemblies
and components. The electronics industry has played
an increasingly important role in the manufacturing
sector, particularly with product manufactured for
export. Among the leading industrial and professional
electronics products are hard disk drives for computer,
keyboards and telephones. Thailand also has become
a major manufacturing and assembly base for a number
of electronic and related components, including
integrated circuits, printed circuit boards, miniature
ball bearings, computer cards and cables. During
the rapid economic growth of 1986-1994, higher value-added
and higher technology products such as facsimiles
and cellular telephones began to be produced. Firms
that manufactured components for export gradually
started supplying parts Dan components to be assembled
into export products.
Some of the most promising investment
opportunities in Thailand's electronics industry
are in the areas of consumer electronics, computers
and peripherals, communication equipment, electronic
assemblies, and supporting industries such as molds
and dies, metal plating, transformer winding.
Thailand's automotive industry
has performed spectacularly since 1988, tripling
production from 145,000 units to almost a half a
million units in 1993. Production is projected to
reach 1 million units by 2,000. The kingdom is currently
Southeast Asia's largest and most dynamic auto market
and the world's second largest pickup market.
Thailand is well positioned to
join the small global group of automotive "tigers,"
whose performance places them a notch below the
automotive giants (Japan, North America and Europe),
but well ahead of other developing countries.
Thailand initiated its diversification
drive in 1991 by allowing competition from imports
for the first time in 20 years. In 1992 alone Thailand
imported 22,000 vehicles or 20 percent of the passenger
car segment. Under pressure from imports, domestic
producers cut prices by up to 25 percent, with the
result being more people can afford cars, government
revenues are up and Thailand's industry is now more
productive. Further diversification through import
duty reductions are in the offing.
A second tool fro diversification
in promotion of new vehicle assembly operations.
The Board of Investment has re-opened promotion
privileges to auto-motive assembly projects for
export, aiming to make Thailand a regional automotive
production centre. This is encouraging North American,
Korean, and European firms to enter a market that
has been near-exclusively owned by Japanese manufacturers.
Thailand effectively implemented
local content requirements in the 1980s and 1990s
to achieve basic component assembly and delivery
capabilities. In its quest to enhance its global
competitiveness, Thailand is now making industrial
deepening a priority as it courts new investments
in components and supporting industries. Established
automakers are expanding their investments and setting
up supply lines within the country; this is considered
a strong indication of the profitability of such
Industrial deepening will transform
the automotive assembly industries into pillars
of the economy, which will integrate raw steel into
metal-bending into finished body panels. Ventures
which promise additional value-added work in Thailand
Thailand's auto industry means
to get globally competitive. Look for Thailand to
pursue market diversification Dan industrial deepening
to achieve competitive targets in 2000. Well-managed,
progressive foreign companies should seize ensuing
opportunities and take their share of Asia's fastest
growing automotive market.
Engineering Plastics and Synthetic Fibers
Engineering plastics, with their
superior properties, are finding increasing uses
in applications demanding higher performance than
commodity plastics. Engineering plastics include
polyacetal nylon, polycarbonate, and thermoplastic
polyester molding compounds. Now only nylon is produced
in Thailand mainly for the synthetic fibre industry.
Thailand has been exporting an ever larger part
of its synthetic fibre production.
Engineering plastics have seen
excellent growth over the past few years and the
Board of Investment announced in April 1994 that
it will begin granting special investment incentives
for the production of engineering plastics as part
of its strategy to encourage growth in Thailand's
Investment opportunities for engineering
plastics include polyacetal, nylon, PET, and PBT.
Production of these compounds is promoted by the
BOI. The growing demand for PBT at around 1,500
to 2,000 tons a year is a possible investment opportunity.
The expansion of production facilities
for the three main synthetic fibres (polyester,
nylon and acrylic) for domestic and export markets
is being met by new investments. New investment
opportunities will depend entirely on the export
market and it is expected that foreign investment
will play an important role in this development.