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Thailand and Japan Agree to Develop Automation Tech

Thailand and Japan Agree to Develop Automation Tech
Image Credits: Bangkok Post, News Article

The Industry Ministry has begun a mission to bolster ties with Japanese businesses given the uncertainties surrounding Thai politics.

Japan is among the key nations the ministry aims to cement ties with. It was noted that R&D experience from Japan can help the government meet its goal of directing the country toward the fourth industrial revolution.

The recent meeting in Japan was aimed at assuring Japanese businessmen of the mutual benefits the two countries will enjoy through stronger investment ties.

During the trip, the minister, the chairman of a major car manufacturer signed a memorandum of understanding.

Under the MoU, the two have agreed to further develop automation and robotics in Thailand, two fields that are crucial to the Thailand 4.0 blueprint.

Robotics is one of 10 targeted industries in the government’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project, which is a new high-tech industrial hub covering 30,000 rai of land in thAutomation and Robotics in Thailandree coastal provinces of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao.

The MoU will be a start for setting up a “consortium” to support robotics and automation development.

In addition, Thailand wants to increase the number of system integrators specialising in computing operations.

During the trip, the minister, also led an entourage to meet high-ranking Japanese officials, including those in charge of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), to discuss joint business opportunities.

The METI promised to take Japanese investors to Thailand to see how they can develop their businesses in the EEC. Many EEC projects will be at the heart of industrial development under Thailand 4.0.

The minister also noted that he had strengthened investment links with Japan’s large agencies and corporations.

These corporations include the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation, which is helping Thailand with rubbish recycling technology; a Japanese multinational automotive manufacturer, which is preparing to produce plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in Thailand over the next two years, and another arm of the same automotive manufacturer, which is planning to open a new smart technology business line.

The minister also sought cooperation with small and medium-sized enterprises in Toyama, located northwest of Tokyo, in a move to encourage Japanese SMEs to expand their businesses to Thailand.

They are prospective investors too because almost all large companies in Japan have already invested in Thailand, the minister noted.

Toyama’s businessmen are interested in doing business in Thailand as they have established 65 firms here over the past three years. The Industry Ministry hopes to increase that number to 100 by 2021.

The Thai government will give new investors incentives which will be tailor-made for their businesses. The aim to help Japanese firms feel more comfortable in Thailand in order to support more foreign investment.

Thailand Seen as a Tech Hub

According to another article, the minister’s recent trip to Japan involved meeting regarding business and investment opportunities with existing and future partners, including one automotive company which aims to produce 5.5 million automobiles in Thailand by 2025.

After signing a memorandum of understanding with the Japan-Thailand Economics Corporation Society (JTECS) and Toyota Motors Co Ltd, the minister stated that the agreement to boost the production of automobiles and improve the robotic industry in Thailand.

This MoU will bring the nation closer to the Thailand 4.0 target. Moreover, the government aims to establish 1,400 system integrators within four years to facilitate hardware and software needs of corporate clients.

As a major partner in this MoU, the automotive manufacturer will bring state-of-the-art technology to manufacturing bases in Thailand, which will boost production capacity to over 750,000 units annually.

Within this target, 500,000 will be electric vehicles [EV], while the rest will be plug-in hybrid electric vehicles [PHEV]. An emphasis is being placed on PHEVs since pure EVs still have many limitations, such as higher price batteries and total reliance on charging stations, which are not comprehensive enough in many areas.

Japan is also interested in infrastructure projects such as high-speed train and manufacturing bases for robotics and high-tech industries.

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