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Industry Facts

Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), slated to become a high-tech manufacturing hub
Somkid Jatusripitak, an economist and Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister, has been busy as of late drumming up new business and investments for the country's brash, new Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) initiative. The EEC is a massive 5,000 square miles stretching along the Gulf of Thailand from the province of Rayong to those of Chonburi, and Chachoengsao. Thailand's intention is for the EEC to become a high-tech manufacturing hub (there's even a smart city in the plans).

Thailand's Manufacturing Would Be Technology Driven
To prime the investment pump, the Thai government has just authorized $45 billion in what the Nikkei Asian Review tabs a do-or-die leap to a technology-driven economy. Over $6 billion is slated for robotics and logistics upgrades.

In addition, the country has bent over backwards with tax breaks and incentives that fit neatly into automation and robotics, like "corporate tax exemptions up to 13 years for businesses using advanced technology and innovation, or conducting R&D activities; and import duty exemption for machines and raw materials."

The EEC's ten targeted industries: Next-gen automotive, intelligent electronics, tourism for high-income tourists and medical tourism, agriculture and biotechnology, food processing, robotics, logistics, and aviation, including biofuels and biochemicals. According to Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana, the EEC project will be particularly kind towards robotics, even going so far as to encourage Thai businesses to adopt robots and robotics technologies into their manufacturing and production processes. Another reason for increased robot automation is people, or lack thereof. "The National Economic and Social Development Board projects that Thailand's workforce, those aged 15-59 years old, is expected to fall by about 6 million to 37 million."

"About 30 percent of manufacturers in Thailand are already using robots, but the government wants that to rise to 50 percent in five years." "The EEC lists a string of projects to be pursued: $1 billion for highways; $2.8 billion to expand ports; $6 billion to upgrade the U-Tapao International Airport; $6.7 billion to build railways, including one for high-speed trains; $12 billion for new cities and hospitals and $15 billion for industry."