Thailand to increase FDI through EV investment

Thailand, known as the “Detroit of Asia” for its production of internal combustion engine vehicles, aims to become a leading electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer as part of its plan to attract one trillion baht (about RM134.12 billion) in foreign investments over the next four years. To achieve this, Thailand has established a “special operation” center dedicated to attracting major players in the EV industry, with Chinese EV manufacturers being a primary focus.

Additionally, the country is targeting investments in other strategic sectors, such as electronics, digital, regional headquarters, and the green economy. While Thailand has already attracted several Chinese automakers, it is eager to capture a larger share of the global EV investment trend, which has seen substantial commitments in countries like the US, Hungary, Mexico, Indonesia, and Germany. Thailand’s Special Operation Centre for Strategic Investment is working diligently to identify high-potential investors and secure investment pledges, with a particular emphasis on securing foreign direct investment in the EV sector.

Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) has set a four-year foreign investment goal in line with the government’s commitment to stimulate economic growth, aiming for annual growth of approximately 5% over the same period. Thailand hopes to attract more investments than it did between 2019 and 2022 when it received 981 billion baht in commitments. The country’s ongoing efforts to attract EV investments and expand the EV supply chain, including battery manufacturing, are expected to bolster its position as a global EV manufacturing hub. Thailand is also focusing on helping Japanese legacy automakers shift to “clean energy” vehicles, encompassing not only fully electric cars but also hydrogen-powered models. The government is preparing new incentive packages, known as “EV 3.5,” to sustain the momentum of EV investments, alleviate concerns raised by investors, and further promote the country’s EV industry.

Narit Therdsteerasukdi, Secretary-General of the Board of Investment, emphasised Thailand’s commitment to the EV sector, asserting, “We’re not taking a single step back with EVs. We’re full speed ahead.” This drive to become a major player in the global EV market aligns with Thailand’s broader goal of attracting substantial foreign investments and spurring economic growth.